The Common Good

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Press Items
Also Thursday, a coalition of religious leaders called the Evangelical Immigration Table announced a $250,000 media ad campaign in support of a bipartisan immigration overhaul. One of the radio ads featuring Cynthia Hale, senior pastor at Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, was scheduled to begin airing in Georgia this week.
Glenn Beck, a popular conservative and Fox News television personality, is famous for sounding political alarms and giving teary-eyed chalkboard lessons. Most often, his bizarre lectures are aimed at political liberals. Last week, however, Beck fixed his sights on a new target: socially conscious Christians. On his radio show, the host told his churchgoing followers to comb their church Web sites for the terms “social justice” or “economic justice.”
Today, I will be joining with Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Christian leaders at the National Prayer Service for our new president. Each of us will look different, sound different and hold different beliefs, but each of us will humbly offer words of hope and blessing for our country and its leaders. No matter all of the differences that the religious leaders assembled might have with one another, there is a common ground that has brought us all together. This common ground is the common good — for our country and our world.
The time is ripe to break the abortion stalemate. A post-election poll conducted by Public Religion Research, and sponsored by Faith in Public Life, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Sojourners, found that the vast majority of voters — including 81 percent of Catholics and 83 percent of all voters — want elected officials to reduce abortions by working together to prevent unintended pregnancies, expand adoption opportunities and increase economic support for vulnerable women.
At the same time, broadened concerns among the faithful spurred religious organizations such as Sojourners of Washington, which promoted them and attracted moderates and younger religious voters. The push went beyond opposition to abortion and gay rights, issues that defined the old religious right.
"Half of the evangelical electors are in play," Jim Wallis said in a February visit to Georgia.
People are finally listening to Jim Wallis. His labored in near obscurity on evangelical Christianity's political left for decades when Christian political right spokesmen like the Rev. Jerry Falwell were on TV daily. Today, Wallis is a talking head in demand, appearing on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and TV news shows, political forums and debates.
* Sojourners magazine. January. Feature story reflects on Christians who support the war in Iraq.
* "The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in Post-Religious Right America" by Jim Wallis (HarperOne, $25.95, 352 pages). Wallis, author of "God's Politics," exhorts the faithful to put words into social-justice action.
Baptists have defiantly refused to be influenced in their stands by the direction the cultural or political wind is blowing. Instead, they have sought to be what Christian political activist Jim Wallis says prophetic Christians must be: wind-changers.