The Common Good

Ask the Candidates

Sojomail - May 3, 2007


"You can’t take the evil of slavery out of the world and abolish it without making the world more just. You will never prevent people living in bonded labor or from getting caught up in sex trafficking while they are so desperate that they have no other choice but to sell themselves. As long as we in the West crave ever more excess, we conspire in their desperation, exploiting it and make ourselves sick in the process."

- Clare Short, Member of British Parliament and former Secretary of State for International Development. She resigned from the latter post over the U.K.'s involvement in the Iraq War. (Source: Ekklesia)

+ Read the Sojourners interview with Short from January 2004

+ Sign up to receive "Verse and Voice" - our daily quote and Bible verse e-mail


Ask the Candidates

In the 2004 presidential campaign, solutions to the persistent poverty in our country and around the world were almost never discussed. But this year, we have a chance to change that. On Monday, June 4, the leading Democratic presidential contenders – Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama – will join us at Pentecost 2007: Taking the Vision to the Streets for the first-ever presidential candidates forum to focus exclusively on faith, values, and poverty.

I want your input about what questions we should ask the candidates. What concerns do you have about the future of our nation, and the least of these in our midst? How has poverty touched your family or your community? How will your faith impact how you vote in 2008?

This is our opportunity, in front of a national audience in a "live" network televised conversation, to raise these questions in the presidential campaign, first with Democratic candidates and later this year with the Republicans. We will issue a prophetic challenge to put poverty near the top of the political agenda, asking the candidates to present the nation with their plans for dramatic poverty reduction both at home and globally.

Before I decide how to vote in 2008, I want to know what the candidates plan to do for 13 million children living in poverty, 47 million Americans with no health insurance, and 3 billion people around the world who live on under $2 a day. Behind those numbers are human faces and moral tragedies – stories of working families desperately trying to make ends meet, immigrant families being torn apart, and children all over the world going to bed hungry.

I want presidential candidates to hear those stories and commit to making a difference in the lives of poor people in the United States and around the globe. And I want to know how they’re going to pay for it, given a ballooning military budget and a disastrous war in Iraq with no end in sight.

If you have a question you’d like to ask the candidates, please click here to share it with us. We’ll be asking our online supporters to vote for their favorite questions before the forum, and asking the winning questions live at Pentecost 2007.

I’m looking forward to hearing your questions – and their answers.


Presidential candidates and so much more!
Pentecost 2007: Taking the Vision to the Streets

Leading Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards will appear at Pentecost 2007 as part of our presidential candidates forum on Monday, June 4, where they’ll answer questions on faith, moral values, and poverty.

Click here to learn more about Pentecost 2007, June 3 - 6 in Washington, D.C.!

Early Bird deals and conference hotel special rates end tomorrow!

For more than 10 years, Sojourners/Call to Renewal has been convening and mobilizing church leaders, lay leaders, social service providers, and activists young and old from across the ecumenical spectrum to build a movement to overcome poverty through our annual Pentecost mobilization.

Now confirmed for Pentecost 2007:

  • Lynne Hybels
  • Gary Haugen
  • Brian McLaren
  • Shane Claiborne
  • Alexia Salvatierra
  • Barbara Williams-Skinner

... and solo recording artist Derek Webb!

Register to join us and be a part of the movement!


+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Sue Badeau: The Defeat of Victory
In the cacophony of words and voices swirling around the president’s veto of the Iraq bill this week, two words stood out to me – "victory" and "defeat." Opponents of the bill call it a timetable for defeat and urge us to push on for victory. ... I never supported this war, so to me, we hit defeat the moment the first shots rang. The idea of "victory" in a war situation is elusive to me: We are all losers. We are, all of us – Americans and Iraqis alike – worse for the wear. Yet, I keep hearing these terms bandied about, and I would really like to understand – what would victory look like to those who speak of it? I have asked war supporters this question - none can answer. I have listened to the pundits and politicians - none of them offer a vision for victory. They simply reiterate, vociferously, how we must not give in to defeat.

Colin Mathewson: Sojourners Magazine Accepts Top Honors
Sojourners magazine was honored with 17 awards last week in Chicago at the annual convention of the Associated Church Press, North America's oldest interdenominational religious press association. The "best of the Christian press" awards presented to Sojourners included Best in Class (Ecumenical General Interest Magazine) and the top honor in the following categories: Magazine Design, Theme Issue, Theme Section, Biographical Profile article, and Personal Experience article. In addition, was honored as the top Publication Web site.

Alexia Salvatierra: La Alabanza es Medicina para el Alma (Praise is Medicine for the Soul)
My companions in the struggle for economic and social justice are worried about the frequent correlation in the larger American culture between religious faith with these characteristics and a blatant disregard for the human and sacred rights of the poor and oppressed. My Hispanic, non-Christian comrades know the history of colonialism and how often a similar kind of religion has been used to distract and tranquilize the oppressed so that they can be more easily exploited. They have a point. However, they are deaf and blind to the beauty of the movement of the Spirit in the Latino community at this historic, kairos moment, and the hope it could bring to this country. Why do we think that oppressed people will be less able and less likely to fight for justice if they are healed and strengthened by the intimate love of Jesus, the gifts of the Spirit, the care of their community?

Janna Hunter-Bowman: 'None of Us Knows Enough to Be Cynical'
Dany is a 28-year-old husband, father, and banana vendor from San Onofre, a poor, rural municipality along the Caribbean coast. In the past seven years more than 3,000 people have been killed there. Many of them were buried in the 300-plus mass graves identified in the municipal limits. Leftist guerillas are responsible for much political violence and heartache, but right-wing paramilitaries are responsible for filling these graves. In 2000, the guerrillas and the paramilitaries began their territorial dispute. Unarmed civilians dared to live where armies fought for power and control, and paid the costs. Mass displacements punctuated 2001-2003; at the end of 2003 the "paras" won and established control of this strategic corridor for drug trafficking. Dany lived through it all.

Linda Martindale: The Trouble with Quiet Diplomacy
Having spent the first ten years of my life in Zimbabwe and still feeling a somewhat deep sense of loyalty to the country of my birth, my ears prick up when the news turns to our troubled closest neighbor. Understanding the broader issues around what has gone down in Zimbabwe during the past 25 years is crucial and helpful in trying to get into the previously brilliant mind of the current dictator. That Britain has played a controlling hand regarding land issues, patronizing the first democratic government and isolating President Robert Mugabe in the process, cannot be ignored. That there was no significant process of truth and reconciliation, as happened in South Africa, to draw a line in the political sand; that nothing significant in the way of restitution on a national level took place – these issues cannot be seen in isolation to the current mess. That being said, what is happening just north of our borders is unjustifiable on any grounds and affecting the lives of thousands of Zimbabweans in unimaginable ways.

Soong-Chan Rah: Shame and Anger
I must admit that as a Korean-American I have tried to stay under the radar on the recent events at Virginia Tech. I’m almost glad that the slaughter is no longer a lead story. There was too much shame, there was too much pain. When it was first announced that the shooter was a Korean-American, there was a visceral reaction on my part. This is an individual with a "funny sounding" name, just like mine. This is an individual who grew up in an immigrant home in the Washington, D.C., area, just like me. This could have been someone who once sat in the back of my youth group, deliberately lowering his eyes and avoiding all human contact.

Rev. Gabriel Salguero: My Living Paradox
Often when speaking to a new group of people, many assumptions are made depending on how I am introduced. If they lead with "Pentecostal," or "Nazarene," I’m pegged as a conservative Republican who has made up his mind about most things. If they lead with "Latino" and "Union Ph.D. student," the assumption is that I am a theological social liberal who has made up his mind about most things. Now I know I'm not the only one who, in searching to be a faithful disciple of Christ, eschews facile definitions too often used to divide and alienate. There are an increasing number of Latino/a, black, white, and Asian evangelicals (just to name a few groups) who in their search to be faithful to the gospel draw from a plethora of sources. Perhaps we are labeled as post-modern believers or anti-traditionalists. The truth is we are part of a long history of Christians struggling to be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ.


+ Sign up to receive our "Daily Digest" e-mail - the latest headlines on critical issues

Top Stories:

Ending Poverty in America; Making Poverty History
The Washington Post
American Idol isn't alone. In the last two years, there has been a surge of interest in ending poverty in America. In the faith community, Sojourners and Call to Renewal announced a Covenant for a New America and urged others to help them cut child poverty by half in 10 years.

A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith
The New York Times

A Plan to Cut Poverty in Half
The Washington Post

Why does the president ignore deeply felt antiwar protests?
Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Va. Tech: Some Christian leaders offer solace; others blame 'godlessness'
Associated Baptist Press

Fighting poverty a focus at Consultation on Conscience
Washington Jewish Week

Do we spend our taxes to help Earth or destroy it?
Ventura County Star

Veterans don’t deserve shoddy care
Winona Daily News

God Wants Gun Control
Front Page Magazine

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


Making Mothers Day Last Forever.
The Maryknoll Sisters

Bible and the Contemporary World – online, distance-learning graduate degree with the School of Divinity, the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Entry available each January and September exploring how Christianity and our culture relate.

Join women from all around the world in Transformation Garden, where you can read free daily devotionals, join a prayer team and leave prayer requests.
Step into the Garden today --

Creative. Outgoing. Ambitious.
Familiar with progressive faith networks and a passion for social justice. Is this you? Be the next Advertising Associate at Sojourners. Think of advertising as fundraising with a marketing and sales twist. Click here for more information.

GIVE TO SOJOURNERS: Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

GET THE MAGAZINE: Subscribe today

CONTACT US: General inquiries: | Advertising: | About Us

PRIVACY NOTICE: Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.