The Associated Press Press Items
On Wednesday, a National Prayer Service will be held in the National Cathedral to cap the inauguration. Among the participating clergy will be the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell and the Rev. Jim Wallis, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Christian and social activists see opportunity in an unconventional presidential race and a spiraling national economy: pushing poverty as an election issue. "I feel more momentum, energy and focus on poverty than I have in churches in three decades or more," said evangelical Jim Wallis, chief executive officer of Sojourners social justice ministries in Washington, D.C.
Religious leaders and people of faith who've been invited to the table at this week's Democratic National Convention are not sitting quietly with their hands in their laps. "Let's be honest: Religion has been used and abused by politics," said Jim Wallis, an evangelical and editor of Sojourners magazine. "People of faith," he said, "should speak prophetically more than in a partisan way." Wallis is not endorsing a candidate and will also appear on a panel in St. Paul, Minn., next week during the Republican convention.
At the first official event Sunday of the Democratic National Convention, a choir belted out a gospel song and was followed by a rabbi reciting a Torah reading about forgiveness and the future. There will be four "faith caucus" meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups that didn't even exist in 2004.
The mostly evangelical leaders wrote a letter to the governor, House speaker and Senate president asking them to rethink their rhetoric as they search for a viable approach to the illegal immigration problem.
More than a dozen religious leaders on Monday called on Arizona's elected officials and community leaders to turn what they call a fear-based immigration debate into a more compassionate dialogue.
In a 19-page document called "An Evangelical Manifesto," more than 70 theologians, pastors and others said faith and politics have been too closely mixed. They warned against Christians adopting any one political view.
The document is the latest chapter in the debate among conservative Christians about their role in public life. Most veteran leaders believe the focus should remain on abortion and marriage, while other evangelicals—especially in the younger generation—are pushing for a broader agenda.
"In three decades I've never seen this sort of student-youth involvement," said Jim Wallis, author of the best-seller "The Great Awakening." "I do think there's a major shift under way."
"I have been very deeply moved by the history of these great awakenings in our national life, where there was a revival of faith that led to big change in our society," said Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners/Call to Renewal.