American socialists, like all Christian socialists, had to cope with the fact that socialist rhetoric about abolishing capitalism evoked fears of class war and proletarian smashing. Christian socialism, wherever it took root, sought to mitigate this threat. Marxists, radical democrats, anarchists, and trade unionists charged that churches obviously sided with the capitalist class and did not care about the poor and afflicted. The founding Christian socialists countered that a different kind of Christianity was possible and that antireligious socialism is not saving. Socialism had to be Christianized before destructive forms of it shredded the churches, universities, and government, and it had to be disciplined by liberal democratic values. Otherwise it betrayed its defining radical democratic impulse–that socialism is democracy applied to the economic realm.
Garry Dorrien, American Democratic Socialism: History, Politics, Religion, and Theory, 24.