The Common Good

Action Institute

Action Institute Press Items
The February issue of Sojourners magazine presents various perspectives on the surge in evangelicalism’s interest in exploring new national and international peace initiatives. For example, The World Evangelical Alliance’s Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Initiative acknowledges “that in our zeal for evangelism, we have often overlooked the biblical mandate to pursue peace. We commit ourselves anew to this mandate within our homes, churches, communities, and among the nations.” Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) promotes itself as an evangelical organization that “consistently campaigns at the grassroots and policy level for a world that is pro-life and pro-poor, pro-family and pro-racial justice, pro-sexual integrity and pro-creation care.” “We want Christians to look deeply, act justly, and love radically,” says ESA.
In just ten short years SCHIP has gone from being a program for struggling families to a permanent middle class entitlement. The alternative -- a reform of private insurance to expand coverage for all Americans -- has gained little attention during the debate...Jim Wallis of Sojourners, who gained fame by linking the Gospel to big government supports the idea, claiming, "Those who oppose covering the kids now have literally no alternative plan in mind."
A fight is brewing in California over a proposed $2.60-per-pack tax hike on cigarettes on the November ballot. In addition to various health organizations and non-profits that have come out in support of Proposition 86, a number of religious leaders have added their voices to those politicking for the highest single cigarette tax increase in history. One of those supporting the tax is the progressive evangelical celebrity Jim Wallis, author of the best-selling book, God’s Politics. In a speech supporting the passage of Prop. 86, Wallis called the tax “a moral and religious imperative,” and said that voting for the measure is “the right thing, the moral thing, to do.”
Where Democrats differ from the religious vote they are courting is their view of the extent to which government can sign itself up as a key agent in building God’s kingdom. This is primarily seen with respect to responses to social issues such as poverty. Undoubtedly, Democratic candidates will follow the lead of religious left leader Jim Wallis in not-so-subtly reminding voters of the Bible’s many verses (more than a thousand) concerning the poor. Acting as though the regular church attendee vote somehow missed those Sunday School lessons about compassion, Democrats will proudly package their newly-discovered Scripture passages with proposals to legislate Christian compassion.
So from issues like immigration to global warming, the press is eager to find the fault lines of evangelical politics. And moving beyond the typical Jim Wallis-Jerry Falwell dichotomy, there are real and honest disagreements among evangelicals on any number of political issues.