Left-Wing Religion

I’ve been wondering, on and off, why religion is generally associated with the right-wing in politics. AFAIK, every major theistic religion has pronouncements to feed the poor, provide free health services, and generally do all the things one would expect from a “utopian,” commune-style existance. So why then are there so many right-wing religious groups? Why is every move towards a more egalitarian existance considered a threat to religion? Obviously, true egalitarianism by it’s very nature threatens all the “more-equal” animals on the farm, whether their position derives from politics, economics, religion, or whatever, so self-interest explains why the religious leaders are opposed to any move towards equality. But that doesn’t explain why everyday members of the religion follow them.

One of the explanations in fundamentalist Christian theology for why Jesus was crucified (the only one I’ve ever heard) was that the Hebrews thought the Messiah was going to bring political liberation from the Romans (i.e. what was called a “War For Independence” 225 years ago, and what is called a “War of National Liberation,” today), and when Jesus promised moral liberation from sin instead, they didn’t like it. IOW, one of the tenets of Christian fundamentalism is that war and political conflict are not the way to effect change (since Jesus specifically choose other means). Why then do so many fundamentalist Christians support basically any war the government gets itself involved in? Why does anyone believe that Bush is a Christian when he claims it (and why do people believe the media when spews its nonsense about a faith-based presidency)? Why don’t people remember the bit about it being easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich person to behave (and thus get to heaven), and put that together with the fact that Bush (and nearly every single one of his top advisors) are all ultra-rich (and have used that wealth to buy unmatched political clout) and thus are less likely to behave than the aforementioned camel is to get through the needle?

To me, it seems like modern-day religion has spent much of its time supporting war, inequality, and tyranny (in the broad “you must do what I say” sense, not the narrow, totalitarian, “dictatorial-ruler” sense) as “good” and fighting peace, equality, and freedom as “bad.” It’s also pretty ironic that it’s the religious apocalypse fans who are doing it, given the whole “end times means people will say good is bad and bad is good,” but that’s another rant…

Anyhow, why is there little in the way of left-wing religion? Hasn’t anybody within the religion figured out that the religious reason to get rid of slavery altogether was because human beings (particularly human beings of European descent at the point in history where slavery was first getting abolished) simply proved incapable of following the rules when it came to the practice? I’m obviously not advocating legalizing slavery, simply pointing out that human beings can and have made stricter regulations than the religion when it comes to certain issues. Yet these same people who are willing to make more and more bizarre reaches for some restrictions (stem-cells) somehow manage to miss the issues most ripe for abuse: racial/ethnic/gender prejudice and money?

But why hasn’t anyone in religion asked those questions? Why hasn’t anyone in religion noticed that their fellow-travellers on the road are Nazis, Fascists, and sociopaths (think Michael Milken)—some of the worst scum humanity has to offer? More directly, why hasn’t anyone come to the conclusion that human beings (again, particularly human beings of European descent at this point in history) have simply proved themselves incapable of dealing with social inequality and hierarchical power-relations in a moral fashion, and thus those aspects of societal organization need to be disposed of as well?