The Common Good

The New York Times

The New York Times Press Items
“Politics is failing to solve all the big issues,” said Jim Wallis, who wrote “God’s Politics” and runs Sojourners, which pushes social justice issues. “So when that happens, social movements rise up.”
Initiatives by liberals have been percolating locally and nationally, from state interfaith alliances in Ohio to counter a powerful conservative Christian movement there to national campaigns to reduce poverty led by liberal evangelicals like the Rev. Jim Wallis.
TODAY, on Easter, evangelical Christians can celebrate knowing that they are part of a movement that has never been so powerful or so large. But like any dominating force, evangelicalism is not monolithic, and it seems that now, at a time of heightened power, old fissures are widening, and new theological and political splits are developing.
Shane Claiborne says that: "When you ask people what they think about church, it's sad. But Jesus doesn't have the bad reputation that Christianity has. "What we do looks extreme because it's an indictment of the idea of Christianity that so many of us have settled for. When we look at the early church, it was very revolutionary. Jesus sat down to rethink revolution. He was able to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free."
For starters, we'll see more attempts to draw a direct line from the Bible to a political agenda. The Rev. Jim Wallis, a popular adviser to leading Democrats and an organizer of the Berkeley meeting, routinely engages in this kind of Bible-thumping. In his book "God's Politics," Mr. Wallis insists that his faith-based platform transcends partisan categories.
The United States and other countries have forcibly sent dozens of terror suspects to Egypt, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The rights group and the State Department have both said Egypt regularly uses extreme interrogation methods on detainees.
Precisely when and how many American forces withdraw from Iraq hinges on several factors, including the security situation, the size and competence of newly trained Iraqi forces, and the wishes of the new Iraqi government.
"We don't need just a few Bible verses or some cheap God talk," said Mr. Wallis, who is the founder and editor of the Christian magazine Sojourners and the author of a new book, "God's Politics." He added: "This is more than a language issue. It's a content issue. So I said to the Democrats: 'This isn't going to be a sprint. It's going to be a marathon.'"
Our henchmen in places like Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Jordan are torturing terror suspects at the behest of a nation - the United States - that just went through a national election in which the issue of moral values was supposed to have been decisive.
A core group of influential evangelical leaders has put its considerable political power behind a cause that has barely registered on the evangelical agenda, fighting global warming.