The Common Good

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The event – which seeks to call for an end to occupation in Iraq, an end to torture, and to provide support for U.S. veteran and troops among other goals – boasts to be the single largest anti-war civil disobedience to take place at the White House since the war started four years ago. It is also the largest Christian demonstration against the war. "These are pastors and lay people, Christian people, who want to express their faith," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners - a progressive social justice ministry and one of the event’s organizers – to The Washington Post.
Jim Wallis, a prominent progressive evangelical activist, was quick to point out that war, poverty, and environmental issues are also important moral concerns. For those who are global warming political advocates, such as Cizik and Wallis, this moral imperative means acknowledging the commitment of their opponents to “care” of the creation, even amidst the sometimes pointed disagreements over the means and institutions responsible for that care. With this shared commitment perhaps the dialogue on climate change might advance beyond vilification and demagoguery.
Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief and CEO of Sojourners magazine, called for more dialogue not only on the climate change debate but also on what qualifies as the “great moral issues” for evangelicals of our time. He encourages a Christian university to invite both sides to discuss current opinions on topics such as Darfur, poverty, and HIV/AIDS to find where evangelicals as a whole stand on these subjects. “So instead of calling for Cizik’s resignation for saying global warming should be a moral issue for evangelical Christians,” wrote Wallis in his blog, “why don’t Dobson and his friends accept a real debate on whether climate change is, indeed, one of the great moral issues of our time.” “Let’s have that debate … and see what America’s evangelicals think the great moral issues of our time really are.”
Paraphrasing Franklin's call to renewal, Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, said, "We won't get to social justice in this country without spiritual renewal ... until people have a change in their hearts." Wallis believes that Crisis in the Village could help "change the conversation in America" as it speaks about culture today and presents real solutions.
WEA has partnered with Walden Media, the film’s production company, to provide the Amazing Grace Resource Website, which contains guides, sermons, video clips and other tools to equip churches to face today’s global challenges. There are 74 groups endorsing the film including the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Sojourners, the Salvation Army and Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking.
Members from the Roman Catholic, evangelical/Pentecostal, Protestant, Orthodox and historic racial/ethnic groups formally established the national body on Wednesday at Pasadena Presbyterian Church during a conference which ends Friday. Among the 36 member organizations of CCT were also such religious groups as World Vision, Bread for the World, Sojourners, Evangelicals for Social Action and the Salvation Army.
“In the face of this [AIDS] crisis, it boggles our minds and offends our God-given sense of justice that these groups would choose to attack Senator Obama and Reverend Warren – Christians both – for working together to stamp out AIDS,” said a letter addressed to pastors across the country. Signatories of the letter included Dr. Ron Sider and the Rev. Jim Wallis among others. Richard Land, head of SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told Time, "Rick is having a summit on AIDS, and Barack Obama has said some compelling things about the issue. I work all the time in coalition with people to the right and left of me, when we're in agreement on a specific issue. One of the markers of Evangelicals is the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time."
Opposition to abortion and gay marriage always galvanizes many, but this time not enough. Referendums on such issues offered mixed news. Green noted that if those two issues were not still prominent, ever more Catholics and Evangelicals would fold into the Democratic Party. "Catholics care more about right and wrong than right and left," said Alexia Kelly of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Jeff Carr of the evangelical Sojourners group said that the "big losers" were "the secular left and the religious right."
Evangelical and Catholic leaders have discussed how Evangelicals and Catholics this week voted based on their faith and values rather than on a political party in the 2006 election. According to Jeff Carr, the chief operating officer of Sojourners Magazine, the “losers” in the 2006 election were the secular left and the religious right. He said Wednesday that Americans were “hungry” for new things such as a national conversation between Congress and President Bush on Iraq. Carr said that the election statistics indicated that Evangelical and Catholic voters were looking for a moral center.
Evangelicals are now at the forefront of many social justice initiatives and human rights campaigns. With the launch of a major evangelical Darfur campaign on Wednesday, prominent U.S. evangelical leaders explained why the White House, congressmen, and world leaders will listen to the evangelical voice. Giving examples, Jim Wallis, the head of the nation’s largest progressive Christian network, Sojourners/Call to Renewal, highlighted past successful evangelical-supported movements including slavery, woman suffrage, and child labor law reforms. “Darfur can be one of those issues for us now again,” said Wallis.