The Common Good


Beliefnet Press Items
Two evangelicals -- Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, and Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in suburban Atlanta -- led prayers for political leaders.
But of course now Brian Mclaren is also now persona non-grata among the Warren evangelical school. I was part of organizing a conference last summer called Envsion which featured leaders in the new Evangelical movement such as Shane Claiborn, Rich Cizik, Jim Wallis and Brian McLaren. Kay Warren was supposed to be our keynote on the first night but backed out because she wouldn't share a state with Brian for fear of being tarnished by association with his theology and practice.
Catholic voters agree. A new 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 72 percent of Catholics say people of faith should "focus on all issues that are central to their faith even if it makes them less effective in politics." Strong majorities of Catholics (71%) and evangelicals (62%) also believe people of faith should advocate for policies that "protect the interests of all and promote the common good."
When I wrote my original Crunchy Cons cover story for National Review, I heard from an Evangelical seminarian who said Jim Wallis had just been to speak to their class, and everyone there had agreed with what Jim had to say about addressing poverty and the environment as part of our Christian commitment -- but they couldn't take that last step Jim asked them to, and embrace a progressive Democratic agenda, because, said this seminarian to me, "We're pro-life conservatives."
The most important speech Barack Obama gave on faith came before he launched his presidential campaign. On June 26, 2006, he spoke at Jim Wallis's Call to Renewal conference, laying out a critique not only of the Religious Right but of the secular left. He argued that while Democrats should support separation of church and state, they needed to be more welcoming of believers and the proper role of faith in the public square.
The ad was endorsed by an all-star cast of pro-life progressives and moderates, including: Rev. Sam Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. Rich Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, Jim Wallis of Sojourners, and Joel Hunter, senior pastor of the 12,00-member Northland Church in Florida.
Excerpts from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Anchor Bob Abernethy interviewing Rev. Jim Wallis from Sojourners and Father Jim Martin from America Magazine about the current crisis and the religious response.
The one thing everyone from Jim Wallis to John McCain seem to agree on is that rampant greed is a main cause of the financial collapse. I don't buy it. I'm not saying greed is good, just that greed is. It's a constant. It's part of human character and I find no evidence that the intensity of this basic human instinct suddenly increased in the last ten years. What's changed is that the checks on greed have dissipated.
Several rock groups are performing in support of Veterans Against the Iraq War. I spoke to one of the frontmen of the groups whose Christian faith is a fundamental part of his radical activism. I asked him whether he received pushback from more conservative Christians on the road and he referenced Sojourners Rev. Jim Wallis and how there was a new awakening among young Christians that to talk about Christ is not necessarily to be conservative.
Having suggested that pro-life progressives didn't really win much in the platform struggles, I'd like to give equal time here to Jim Wallis, who worked hard to get abortion reduction included and argues that the platform was a "step forward."