The Common Good

Jim Wallis Blog Entries

A 'Micah Challenge' to U.S. Christians

This week, with the news of the U.S. financial crisis dominating the headlines, the United Nations General Assembly opened its annual meeting.
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Fair Questions for Sarah Palin

After Sarah Palin was selected by John McCain as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, reporters asked me whether the pick was desperate, brilliant, or risky.
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Just the Facts

Most of you are too young to remember Joe Friday, the tough inner-city police sergeant on the old television series Dragnet, which I still see sometimes in syndication.
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Ten Reasons Why This Election Should Be About Issues and Not Personalities

The presidential tickets in this election on both sides of the aisle have lots of "personality;" some of the candidates have even been referred to as "rock stars." John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis has said that "this election is not about issues, this election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates." That has been widely interpreted as a prediction that the election will be about personalities more than about issues. That would be a tragedy. [...]

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Reflecting on Our Response to 9/11

Seven years ago this morning, airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. The next day I joined with a few others to draft the following statement. In a few weeks, more than 4,000 of America's religious leaders of all faiths had signed it and it was printed as an ad in The New York Times.

Seven years later, as we remember that day, it is appropriate to reflect on this statement and to wonder how the [...]

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Amy Sullivan: 'Are Evangelicals Really Sold on Palin?'

I saw a column this weekend in Time magazine by Amy Sullivan in which she asks, "Are Evangelicals Really Sold on Palin?" It's well worth reading.

Lost in the stampede of social conservatives to embrace Palin this past week is the fact that she is

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Fact-Checking and Faith First

John McCain's acceptance speech last night sought to present him as a maverick and bipartisan reformer, in contrast to the total partisanship of Sarah Palin the night before. She clearly relishes her own self-description as a pit bull with lipstick who fires up the conservative base, while McCain wants to reach out to the independents he knows he needs to win. He told his story again of how capture and torture took him from a reckless and selfish young man to a deep love for his [...]

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Palin Owes Some Good People An Apology

Wednesday morning I got an e-mail from a former member of our Sojourners community. Perry Perkins is now a community organizer in Louisiana with affiliates of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). "Perk," as we used to call him, reported on the enormous consequences of 2 million people being evacuated because of Hurricane Gustav, much of the state now being without power, how hard cities like Baton Rouge were hit, the tens of thousands of people in shelters and churches, and the [...]

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Beyond Palin's Personality

While many conservatives have known and admired Sarah Palin for some time, most Americans do not know her. So the intense media focus on the new Republican vice-presidential nominee was to be expected. But some of it has been inappropriate, especially when reporters go after the Palin family's choices. The suggestion that running for vice president with a 5-month-old special-needs child and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter should make her suspect as a mother is a blatant double standard that [...]

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Delegate Diversity

Most of the speeches at the Democratic National Convention were politically predictable; the same was true on the first night of the Republican National Convention. Sarah Palin's speech tonight will be worth watching, considering all the attention her nomination has received, and of course John McCain's acceptance speech on Thursday night will be very important, just as Barack Obama's was in Denver.

But one thing looked very different on the first night of the Republican [...]

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Searching for Common Ground on Abortion at the Republican Convention

I'm here at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul, as I was at the Democratic Convention in Denver. We pushed for strong language on poverty and abortion reduction in Denver, and we are pushing for the same things here.

The Republican platform draft sent to delegates last week contained this sentence in [...]

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Obama, Perkins, Palin, and a Plea for Christian Civility

Whew. Take a breath, Christians! I just read all the comments to my post Friday on Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech of a major party's nomination to the highest office in the country -- the first African American to have achieved that American milestone. The post was about the historical significance of that event and speech, especially on the very day of the 45 anniversary of Dr. Martin [...]

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An Historic Speech

Yesterday morning, I started what would become an historic day with my favorite historian. As a young man, Vincent Harding was part of the inner circle of the southern freedom movement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and later became one of the civil rights movement's best chroniclers and interpreters. Vincent has also been a mentor and trusted friend to me and to Sojourners for many years.

Vincent Harding was there at the Democratic Convention in 1964 when the party refused to seat [...]

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Rev. Otis Moss on Prophetic Faith

Somebody came up to me in Denver and said, "At the Democratic Convention of 2008, faith is cool!" That is indeed a big change from recent years. As I have been saying at the many "faith forums" in Denver, faith must have a different and better role than it has had in politics these last few decades.

And I have been encouraged by the more "prophetic" role that faith has played here, deeper than the partisan use of faith in recent memory. At one of those faith panels, Rev. Otis Moss [...]

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'People of Faith Challenge Democrats'

On Monday, I wrote that one of the things I would be looking for at the political conventions was "whether the people of faith who are here are able to offer that prophetic role that faithfulness requires, that would hold politics accountable to real moral values, and would offer the best hope of social change."

I'm happy to report that is indeed the case. The first indication of how prophetic [...]

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Why Faith at the Conventions Matters

I am now in Denver for the Democratic National Convention, and I will be in the Twin Cities next week for the Republican National Convention. I am speaking at both about the moral issues the faith community believes are important -- among them poverty, the environment and climate change, a consistent ethic of life, strong families, pandemic diseases, human trafficking, war, and peace. The Democrats are, for the first time, having "faith forums" to discuss those issues, and I will be moderating [...]

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Changing the Backyard

My two boys have an alley for a backyard. Luke (9) and Jack (5) are thoroughly urban kids, but I watched them, these past two weeks, fall in love with a natural world far different from their own in a magical place called Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island.

I came here a lot as a younger man. It was the home of lawyer-theologian William Stringfellow, one of my theological and political mentors, and it still has a little cottage on the back of the property that is used by [...]

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Response to Readers

I've been reading through the extensive comments on my blog post on abortion reduction and the Democratic Platform. As usual, the comments span the spectrum. But I found it puzzling that those who are so adamantly against the Democrats on abortion (as I have also been) seem so satisfied with the Republicans just repeating that abortion should be illegal, while the abortion rate never [...]

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