The Common Good

Violence in Word Leads to Violence in Deed

Date: October 27, 2010


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CONTACT: Evan Trowbridge at / 202-745-4625 or

Tim King at / 202-745-4636


Violence in Word Leads to Violence in Deed

Wallis tells candidates to take down the attacks and help the poor


Two weeks ago during the Sojourners Truth and Civility Election Watch, Rev. Jim Wallis warned about the connection between "violence of tongue, fist and heart.” This connection was made after a Move On staff person was dragged to the ground and stomped in the head by a Rand Paul campaign coordinator.

Rev. Wallis said that campaigns had taken a dangerous shift when it was not enough to "disagree with one's opponents but to demonize them; not to treat them as adversaries but as enemies.”

"While it is unfair to blame a public figure for everything their followers might do, it isn't unfair to ask that they make the connection that Martin Luther King did between the violence of the tongue and that of the fist and to take responsibility for how they speak about those with whom they disagree,” Wallis said.

Wallis' most recent suggestion for candidates and their financial backers:

"What if you took down all your negative ads, stopped the angry mailings and cut it out with all of the robocalls - and then took all the money you saved and gave it to the poor?”

"All of you keep making arguments about why we should never trust the other side with our tax dollars. How about you show us that you can be responsible with your own money now?” Wallis asks the politicians, organizations and committees who succumb to the lowest common denominator.

"There are a lot of families hurting out there right now. If you want us to believe that you'll help them after you get elected, how about you start now?" Wallis said. "I know they're not going to take their ads down, so take my request/plea/demand to do so as a protest vote against the whole system that now distorts our very democracy. Many of us are just sick of it.”

Religious leaders and grassroots activists are sick of the dirty campaigns. More than 100 religious leaders from Rev. Wallis to Chuck Colson signed a "Civility Covenant” earlier this year. Thousands of Social Justice Christians have signed a "Civility Pledge” and promised to lead by example. Thousands more have called on the media and political leadership to change the tone of campaigns.

Sojourners' Truth and Civility Campaign Watch has been drawing attention across the nation, including a feature in Monday's USA Today.

Click here to read the entirety of Rev. Wallis' letter to the candidates, party organizations and PACs.


Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.

Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit, and