The Common Good

The Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel Press Items
Uth, pastor of the 15,000-member First Baptist, is featured in a series of radio ads being broadcast for 92 days in 13 states, including Florida. The ads are sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a group that includes Lynne Hybels, co-founder of the nondenominational megachurch Willow Creek Church in Illinois.
Others taking part in Tuesday's conference call were Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University; Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United; and the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a national Christian group.
A broad coalition of Christian leaders from Central Florida called on state elected officials Tuesday to tone down "hateful immigration rhetoric" and strive for compassionate immigration reform.
Minutemen have been called "vigilantes" by President Bush and bigots by immigration advocates. The Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform consider them extremists who employ the tactics and rhetoric of white-power groups.
The Rev. Jim Wallis, of the liberal Sojourners community, said the pastors are responding to "dramatic changes in the evangelical world, especially in the younger generation."
Despite his protests that he is a centrist, Campolo is often grouped with "left-wing evangelicals" such as author/activist Jim Wallis who founded Sojourners, a Christian political and cultural organization. Although these evangelicals think that, for Christians, poverty is a matter of justice, rather than charity, the label "leftist" makes them uncomfortable. "We don't like that term," Campolo says.So recently, Campolo and the others have said they prefer to be known as "Red Letter Christians," a reference to the way the words of Jesus are identified in many versions of the New Testament."I think Jesus was insulting," Campolo explains to the students. "He ticked off a lot of folks. I try to be faithful to the red letters."
Still, there are faint signs of life - and youth - in the religious left, according to Jim Wallis, of the Washington, D.C.-based Sojourners community. Wallis considers himself a theological conservative, pro-life evangelical - and a radical social activist. Unlike many evangelicals, he believes that religious concern for the poor and the powerless should be motivated by justice, not by charity.
While the Rev. Jim Wallis does not like the term religious left, his national work for the poor and against racism makes him the best candidate for the campaign poster. He has helped organize a Christian coalition of his own, including evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic and African-American churches and religious organizations.