Associated Baptist Press Press Items
A coalition of religious leaders are asking politicians in this election year to address what they say is a moral scandal: Three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, much of the region is still far from recovery. Christian leaders who have endorsed the recovery campaign include Rich Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Richard Stearns, president of World Vision; Michael Kinnamon, president of the National Council of Churches; David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; and Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners.
In his recent book, The Great Awakening, Jim Wallis suggests that it is time to move beyond the conservative vs. liberal paradigm to a framework he calls conservative radicalism. This is true in American culture, in evangelicalism and certainly in Baptist life.
Prominent faith leaders are calling on the United States’ two major political parties to use their upcoming presidential-nominating conventions as platforms for showcasing how they would deal with poverty.
That attack is utterly off-base, said one Christian leader whose organization sponsored the conference at which Obama delivered the speech in question. “There’s certainly a misunderstanding, a misreading of what Barack said,” said Jim Wallis, head of the Call to Renewal/Sojourners organization. “If anything, he was defending the right of people of faith to bring their religious understandings into the public square; the question was, ‘how we do that?’”
“I am not one of those who say the Religious Right is dead or gone,” [Jim] Wallis, head of the Sojourners/Call to Renewal anti-poverty movement, said during the discussion. “What I have said is what has felt like a monologue is over, and a dialogue has begun.”
Jim Wallis, author of The Great Awakening and president of the Christian anti-poverty group Sojourners, said evidence pointing to a significant change in white evangelical voting patterns has remained the same throughout primary contests nationwide.
"Evangelicals are leaving the Religious Right in droves!" added Christian activist Jim Wallis, for three decades the social conscience of the evangelical left. "This evangelical center is getting so big."
I argue that besides the widely recognized evangelical right, symbolized by figures such as James Dobson and the late Jerry Falwell, and the evangelical left, symbolized by activists such as Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo, today there is emerging a visible and increasingly powerful evangelical center, whose most influential figures are probably the megachurch pastor Rick Warren and the lobbyist Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals.
“The media is operating with an outdated script, and the experience I’m having on the road confirms the data,” said Jim Wallis, founder of the Sojourners/Call to Renewal movement. The Christian group fights poverty and war. He said that in recent speaking engagements at evangelical college and seminary campuses around the country he has seen far more enthusiasm for Democratic candidates than he has in years.
"For a lot of the young people I meet, the Religious Right has been replaced by Jesus," said Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, an evangelical social-justice group. "Politics is stuck in its polarities - every issue has only two sides, and both sides do it."