The Common Good

Jim Wallis Blog Entries

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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A Step Forward on Abortion

Abortion is a moral issue, felt deeply on all sides of the debate. That debate has also been deeply divisive, becoming a "third rail" of American politics. It often influences outcomes of elections, and therefore the direction of the country in other important policy areas. Consistent polling shows that most are between the polarized extremes, simplistically named "pro-life" and "pro-choice." A majority is both concerned, even alarmed, about the abortion rate in America, yet is hesitant to [...]

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Edwards: 'I Sin Every Day'

In the Sojourners/CNN candidate forum in June of 2007, John Edwards said, "I sin every day," in response to a question on sin and forgiveness. Some journalists thought that was a throwaway line from a politician. But as the nation shockingly heard one week ago, Edwards was speaking honestly and even confessionally. Here was a man in a good and strong marriage, known to be a wonderful father, and yet last Friday he painfully and publicly confessed to the terrible mistake of an affair with [...]

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Another Religious Swing Vote

One of the stories I first heard on my recent visit to Australia was about what helped swing the vote last November to Kevin Rudd, the new Labor prime minister. I read some new political data by veteran pollster and researcher John Black, who is respected across Australia's political spectrum. Black reported that the pivotal swing vote to Labor this time was among evangelicals and Pentecostals, especially in [...]

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A Prime Minister's Preferential Option for the Poor, and the Planet

Last weekend in Australia, I had the opportunity to have a four-hour dinner conversation with Kevin Rudd, the new prime minister. I have written about Kevin as a new-style Labor political leader who talks openly about his faith in a secular country.

I asked him about the "apology" he made to the [...]

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A Prime Minister's Preferential Option for the Poor, and the Planet

Last weekend in Australia, I had the opportunity to have a four-hour dinner conversation with Kevin Rudd, the new prime minister. I have written about Kevin as a new-style Labor political leader who talks openly about his faith in a secular country.

I asked him about the "apology" he made to the [...]

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Slavery Apology--One Step Forward

I'm still "down under" -- wrapping up my book tour in Australia. The news from the U.S. reminds me of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s first act on the day after his swearing in as prime minister. In a moving speech, he delivered a speech of apology to the aboriginal people.

Tuesday, for the first [...]

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New Hope Down Under

Though it is winter in Australia, the sun was shining on Sydney Harbor, one of the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world. With the dramatic architectural lines of the famous Sydney Opera House outlined against the sky-blue horizon and reflecting on the glistening sea, I couldn't wait to hop the ferry to Manley and from there walk to the crashing ocean to watch the surfers climb the waves. I love this place, and though I was suffering a bit of jet lag from the 18-hour trip from [...]

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Obama's Faith-Based Plan

In 2000 I was part of a small group of religious leaders invited to Austin, Texas, to discuss a new White House faith-based initiative with George W. Bush before he came to Washington, D.C., as president. I was an early supporter of the initiative because I believed that partnerships between the faith community and government in alleviating poverty were both necessary and appropriate within the framework of the Constitution. For two years I was in regular conversation with the White House [...]

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Obama's Faith-Based Plan

In 2000 I was part of a small group of religious leaders invited to Austin, Texas, to discuss a new White House faith-based initiative with George W. Bush before he came to Washington, D.C., as president. I was an early supporter of the initiative because I believed that partnerships between the faith community and government in alleviating poverty were both necessary and appropriate within the framework of the Constitution. For two years I was in regular conversation with the White House [...]

+Continue Reading

Obama's Faith-Based Plan

In 2000 I was part of a small group of religious leaders invited to Austin, Texas, to discuss a new White House faith-based initiative with George W. Bush before he came to Washington, D.C., as president. I was an early supporter of the initiative because I believed that partnerships between the faith community and government in alleviating poverty were both necessary and appropriate within the framework of the Constitution. For two years I was in regular conversation with the White House [...]

+Continue Reading