The American Spectator Press Items
I cringed as the pastor revealed his nominee for modern prophet: Jim Wallis, long-time Religious Left activist and author of the 2004 book, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It.
Few in the congregation seemed to recognize Wallis's name. Wallis is a hero to many liberal clergy and religious activists, especially of the 1960s generation. These followers, including no doubt the gray-haired pastor in Charlottesville, helped to make Wallis's book a bestseller.
In July, several dozen prominent evangelicals urged President Bush to strike a more even-handed posture between Israel and the Palestinians. The letter's signers included Evangelical Left fixtures such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Glenn Stassen, Ron Sider, along with some less predictable evangelicals.
Writing for the religious left website Sojourners, author Diana Butler Bass declared Kennedy to be an icon of the old Religious Right, which strove unsuccessfully for a restoration of ostensibly Christian America. "Kennedy believed in Christendom, an American Christian nation divinely designed as the leader of a global spiritual empire, and in creating a Christian politics toward that end," Butler wrote. She compared him unfavorably with supposedly ascendant new Christian voices who celebrate the end of Christendom in favor a new counter-cultural Christianity.
Sarcastically, Balmer wrote about the controversy at Colorado Christian University: "I guess we suspected it all along, but now we have proof: Jim Wallis is a left-wing, anti-capitalist." Of Armstrong's behavior, Balmer opined: "Capitalism, in fact, appears to be Jesus' preferred economic system."
Jim Wallis of Sojourners, perhaps the most prominent evangelical left spokesman, likes to define his evangelical faith by politics rather than his theology. "I'm a 19th century evangelical," he likes to say, referring to abolitionists and crusaders against child labor, etc. Predictably, Wallis is claiming Wilberforce as an evangelical left paragon. In fact, Wilberforce, like Methodist founder John Wesley and other 18th century evangelical revivalists, belonged to the ruling Tory Party and was both conservative and reforming, not revolutionary, in his causes.
Keenly aware that evangelicals are now a key voting bloc, conservative and liberal religionists are trying to capture their attention on Global Warming.
Earlier this year, the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) enlisted about 85 prominent evangelicals, most of them academics, to embrace worst case scenarios about climate change, along with the requisite increased government regulation that the environmental left craves. The more prominent signers to ECI included mega-church pastor Rick Warren, Sojourners' activist Jim Wallis, "emerging church" leader Brian McLaren, World Vision President Richard Stearns and Pentecostal leader Jack Hayford.
WASHINGTON -- Religious left activist Jim Wallis (author of the best-selling Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It) threw a party in Washington, D.C. and many liberal politicians came. Hillary Clinton was there, as were Howard Dean and Barack Obama. Marian Wright Edelman waxed poetic about "the children."
Lesbian folk singer Emily Saliers, one half of the "Indigo Girls" duo, joined with her Methodist theologian father, Don Saliers, to write a book published last year called A Song to Sing: A Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice. The book strives to meld her "secular" lounge music with the ethos of her father's sacred hymnody.
"Is there just a plain and simple message of love and caring for each other and the world?" Saliers asked, in a recent interview with Jim Wallis' Sojourners magazine about her book. "There are some so-called secular texts that speak to that with more passion and power than some of the most well-known sacred texts."
WASHINGTON -- "Impeach President Bush!" urged Jim Winkler, head of the Capitol Hill-based United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Winkler was speaking earlier this spring here in town to an "Ecumenical Advocacy Days" rally for liberal religious activists, organized by the National Council of Churches, mainline denominations, several left-wing Catholic orders, and Jim Wallis's Sojourners group.
In December 2002, the National Council of Churches helped to organize a full-page ad in the New York Times. "Jesus Changed Your Heart," its headline blazed. "Now Let Him Change Your Mind." A large picture of Bush in prayer was featured in the center. The ad was signed by United Methodist and other mainline Protestant officials, officers of liberal Catholic orders, some Jewish clergy, and Sojourners leader Jim Wallis.