The Common Good

The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times Press Items
I hope that The Times gives equal time to someone like the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, who can articulate another message for Christians who want to address the ills of this country in the next election.
It’s a diverse group. A sampling: Jim Wallis, chief executive of the advocacy group Sojourners.
"Nobody wants to make faith a criteria of who gets services," Wallis said. "But how do you preserve the identity and mission of faith-based organizations and yet practice nondiscrimination? There is a healthy balance in there that we'll find over time."
Three years in the making, the manifesto was signed by many high-profile, mostly centrist evangelicals, including Leith Anderson, president of the National Assn. of Evangelicals; Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners magazine; and Frank Wright, president of National Religious Broadcasters.
The right-wing website World Net Daily reported "Pat Robertson's sell-out," while left-wing evangelical Jim Wallis quipped that "according to Pat Robertson's twisted moral logic, forgiving the social conservative shortcomings of Republicans is a Christian virtue."
Jeff Carr, chief operating officer for Sojourners/Call to Renewal, a liberal evangelical group based in Washington, D.C., will work directly for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as director of gang reduction and youth development programs.
The best-known champion of such causes, the Rev. Jim Wallis, this week challenged conservative crusader James C. Dobson, the chairman of Focus on the Family, to a debate on evangelical priorities. "Are the only really 'great moral issues' those concerning abortion, gay marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence?" Wallis asked in his challenge. "How about the reality of 3 billion of God's children living on less than $2 per day? ... What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS ... [and] disastrous wars like Iraq?"
The voter pamphlets are supposed to be neutral, but often present issues through a distinctly partisan lens. A guide distributed by a conservative group in Minnesota in 2004 laid out the candidates' views on aborting "unborn babies." One produced this year by the liberal evangelical group Sojourners describes immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops as the only way to bring peace to Iraq....For the most part, however, the left is far behind the right: "They've got organization and discipline that we don't really have yet," said Jack Pannell of Sojourners. "It may take us a generation."
Jim Wallis, founder of Washington, D.C.-based Sojourner, a progressive Christian magazine, and a self-described evangelical, was among prominent liberal Christian leaders who spoke at a three-day conference on "Politics and Spirituality" at Pasadena Civic Auditorium, which concludes today. Other speakers included Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M., and Anne Lamott, best-selling author and teacher. The conference included interactive workshops on contemplative prayer, handling the news media and waging campaigns for peace and social justice.
A growing movement sees myriad causes beyond abortion and gay marriage. What about helping the poor and global warming?