The Common Good

Economic Justice

For the World's Poor, Violence Is an Everyday Threat

Caleb is a father in Africa. He works hard as a night watchman, and he and his wife save from their small income with the dream of sending their daughter to college. But the family’s dreams are destroyed when the police arrest Caleb on a random sweep for a robbery he had nothing to do with. This is not to say that the evidence against him was flimsy; there is no evidence against him whatsoever. The police needed to show an arrest had been made, and Caleb was an easy target … because he was poor.

Once in police custody, Caleb is viciously beaten. He is shaken down for bribes. And then, he is thrown in jail and charged with a capital offense. He is given no indication of when he might have a chance to prove his innocence – and even if he were, Caleb can’t afford a lawyer to help him. His family struggles to hang on without him.

What is perhaps most stunning about Caleb’s story is not the brutality (though it certainly is brutal), the singular unfairness of it all (though it is dramatically and utterly unjust), the hopelessness (though the story is obviously devastating). No, what is most stunning is just how ordinary Caleb’s story is.

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What's Wrong With Inequality

Source: Townhall.com
Date: January 22, 2014
So what exactly is the problem with income inequality? Some think there is a theological problem. Jim Wallis has claimed—when calling for an increase in the minimum wage—“God hates inequality.”

AUDIO: StandUp w/PeteDominick - Jim Wallis: How To Win The "War On Poverty"

Source: SiriusXM
Date: January 17, 2014
Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners and author of "On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good", joins Pete to discuss what it will take to finally win the "war on poverty".

Conference of Hispanic Christians Endorses Common Core

Common Core, a set of educational standards that has faced criticism from religious groups, has found an ally in the largest organization of Hispanic Christians in the U.S.

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s endorsement of the program Wednesday buoys the Common Core initiative, which has drawn criticism from conservative Christians who say it reflects liberal values.

Some prominent religious leaders, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have expressed support for the program, but the conference’s endorsement marks the first time a large Christian group has embraced the initiative, adopted by all but five states.

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Weekly Roundup: Dear Departed, Poverty Persists, And Surviving The Deep Freeze

Source: US Catholic
Date: January 10, 2014
Over at Sojourners, Anna Hall dispels five common myths about raising minimum wage. And the city of Chicago is apparently listening, as there is reportedly some talk of raising minimum wage in the city to $15, reports Crain's Chicago Business.

AUDIO: The "I Am Not A Bully" Gabfest

Source: Slate
Date: January 10, 2014
Rev. Jim Wallis and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson have endorsed a bipartisan approach to fighting poverty.

Want To Win The War On Poverty? For The Sake Of The Most Vulnerable, Let's Work Together

Date: January 10, 2014
The only way to win the War on Poverty is for liberals and conservatives to make peace -- for the sake of the poor. That would be the best way to mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, declared by President Lyndon Johnson in his January 1964 State of the Union address. Making peace means replacing ideologies with solutions that actually solve the problems of poverty. With both Republicans and Democrats speaking out on poverty this week, and the recession slowly receding this should be an opportunity to find the focus, commitment, and strategies that could effectively reduce and ultimately eliminate the shameful facts of poverty in the world's richest nation.

Social Justice

Date: January 9, 2014
It’s a tired trope that evangelicals only recently began caring about “social justice,” a buzzword that carries connotations of political activism and “the social gospel.” In fact, orthodox Christians have long recognized in Scripture a call to defend and uphold the dignity and well being of all persons, especially the poor and powerless. Take, for example, John Wesley, who led prison reform and abolitionists movements in 18th-century England. More recently, evangelical leaders like Ron Sider and Jim Wallis have promoted Christian engagement in anti-war, environmental, and immigration causes, while facing suspicion of falling prey to partisan politics. At the local church level, sex trafficking, fair trade, and clean water campaigns are trendy ways today for lay Christians to fight social ills, even if that means simply clicking a “Like” button.