The Common Good Press Items
In recent years the Red Letter Christian who gets the most ink, and the most praise from Jim Wallis and other leftish evangelical confreres, has been Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action.
Jim Wallis: A tireless advocate of social and economic justice causes, few people have done more to advance progressive evangelical Christianity than Jim Wallis and the group he founded, Sojourners. Whether fighting Glenn Beck or Paul Ryan, Wallis has a knack for attracting attention in the big political fights of the day. Asked about what he wants to see in an inauguration chaplin, Wallis told the Washington Post this week: “When people ask my advice, I always say: ‘Use the occasion to remind our political leaders of their responsibility to the common good.’”
The mainline Protestants -- Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, et al. -- had a role in promoting moral values through lobbying for social justice, but they had no stomach for becoming campaign workers in Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania and other battleground states. That slack was taken up by outliers in the world of religion: evangelicals who had broken ranks with the far right on poverty, the environment and war, but not on women, sex and reproduction. Led by Jim Wallis, this crowd started advising candidates on how to talk a language that would convince Christians that the Democrats believed in God.
There were interesting splits having nothing to do with Clinton or Obama; a "hope gap," if you will. Sojourners' Jim Wallis is bullish on a new generation of 20-something evangelicals he compares to the abolitionists of the 19th century; for them, "poverty is the new slavery." The plight of the poor tops the agenda of most religious groups in a whole new way, he said, noting that "the 30,000 children who died today globally [from poverty-related causes] would concern the heart of Jesus more than gay marriage amendments."
At this afternoon's panel discussion, Wallis, an evangelical Christian who founded the religious social justice group Sojourners, said the media has done "a lot of stereotyping" and has exhibited a "lack of awareness" of the evangelical community.
Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners, tells Democrats how they can attract moderate religious voters: Be authentic and don't be afraid to use the G-word.
Ask average Americans which group they associate more with politics - the Christian Coalition on the right or Sojourners on the left - and their answer is likely to be: "What is Sojourners?"
Sir, we're here to download your email, change the battery on your phone tap, and perform a full body cavity search.