Some here seem to think that Socialism has little or nothing to do with a constriction of individual liberty, but that simply is not the case-- no matter what "type" of socialism we are talking about. Socialism, to some degree or another, is fundamentally a circumscription of economic freedom. "Capitalism" is simply a word we use to describe a system in which people are econimically free (or at least relatively so). As Milton Friedman said, economic liberty, while not a sufficient condition for political freedom, is nonetheless a necessary one.
As individuals we are ultimately responsible for our own well-being. Whenever we relinquish a responsibility (e.g. the responsibility for our own medical care, or our own health generally, or for housing), in so doing we also forfeit a corresponding freedom. Those to whom we relinquish the responsibility may not collect on that freedom immediately, but they can and eventually (when times are tough) they will. By way of anology: If, after graduating from University, we find it difficult to obtain a job and suitable housing and we therefore move back in with mom and dad, we are (for the time being) relinquishing the responsibility for our own housing, etc. In so doing, however, there is also the understanding that we are submitting to mom and dad's rules once again; "My house, my rules." Mom and Dad may be the particularly libertine sort with their now-adult child and allow him or her to do what he/she wishes-- but that usually comes to an end if the child is unruly, has loud parties late into the night, or otherwise disturbs what mom and dad are trying to do. Mom and Dad will then put their feet down, insist on some particular rules (i.e. constrictions of freedom), and say "My way or the highway." Of course, when it's mom and dad and their housing, the adult offspring can simply choose to leave. When it's the state, things get a little more difficult.
Now, certainly, the institution of any government must necessarily circumscribe some basic liberties; government always has a monopoly on the use of force, after all, and the institution of civil law and a police force to enforce it generally proscribes vigilantism. The founding principle of the United States, though, was that the purpose of government was to establish a basic framework wherein the individuals most basic, God-given liberties were protected, and little more; it was to protect those natural rights of life, liberty and property. The founders of the United States believed that fundamental liberties, given to each individual by God and therefore predating government, could not be legitimately taken away. Many Americans still agree with this, which is why there is so much distaste for the extent to which we already have a socialist government, and a fear of going any farther in that direction. Yes, Americans value freedom.
Socialism, at its core, is based on the idea that the state is the political manifestation of the people, and that the care of all individuals is therefore the business of the state. It is, inescapably (too often literally so), a statist position. It is true that many Western and Central European countries are socialist, and that citizens therein retain a fair degree of individual autonomy. I don't mean to deny that at all. When things are going well, which they generally have been for the many decades since social democracy has been implimented, this situation can remain and most people go humming along their merry way. So too with mom, dad, and their live-in adult offspring. When things start going poorly, however, that is when you start to understand just how much power the socialist state has, and how little interest bureaucrats have in individual liberty when the fate of the "collective" is at stake.
As far as socialism being consistent with Christian teachings: Christ didn't just say "give stuff to the poor." Christ said the greatest commandments were to love God, and to love others as yourself-- that all other commandments would flow naturally from those two. The government CANNOT love you. It can't. Being forced to give money to the government that might be used in part to help others is not a fulfullment of God's commandments; it is not love. Voting to confiscate the wealth of somebody else in order to give it to a third person is also neither charity nor love. There is a reason Furstentum Liechtenstein noticed such a generous spirit among Americans: its culture was based upon a Judeo-Christian ethic, and its charitable ideals haven't been sapped by a century of cradle-to-grave socialism. When it comes to helping the poor, I think, Americans are less likely than others to say that it's the governments job.