Religion News Service Press Items
WASHINGTON (RNS) Many economists warn that the government’s huge national debt is a looming threat to long-term prosperity. But is it also immoral?
(RNS) A coalition of more than 50 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders sent an open letter to Congress urging a "time of soul searching" and national dialogue about "violent and vitriolic political rhetoric."
But the Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical who is close to Democratic leaders, said Tuesday’s election pointed to the party’s lack of vision, not networks.
As Democratic lawmakers reel from violent attacks and threats, religious leaders have issued a “covenant for civility” pledging that they will pray for politicians and model respectful behavior.
“The church in the United States can offer a message of hope and reconciliation to a nation that is deeply divided by political and cultural differences,” reads the statement, signed by more than 100 Christian leaders.
The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of the anti-poverty group Sojourners, said the faith community is ready to help Obama mobilize the grass roots.
"There has never been more unity on this issue in the faith community," said Wallis, describing the commitment from the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, Catholic and Jewish leaders who participated in Monday's meeting.
Still, Obama continues to champion the role of faith in public life, frequently summoning the spirits of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and even St. Thomas Aquinas to frame his policies in moral terms.
Like previous presidents, he regularly seeks the counsel of longtime Washington insiders, including Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, Reform Rabbi David Saperstein and retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to shape decisions about the Iraq war, health care reform and the economy.
“We know that something has gone wrong when Donald Trump, the TV reality show `The Apprentice,’ is offered as a cultural role model for a new generation of business leaders,” Wallis writes.
Wallis criticizes outrageous executive bonuses and calls for more regulation of the banking industry, but he includes “20 moral exercises” that individuals can take to reset their personal compasses.
Members of President Obama’s domestic team addressed more than 1,000 Christian progressives at an anti-poverty meeting Monday (April 27), asking for their help to accomplish the president’s agenda.
The group, The Mobilization to End Poverty, plans to bring thousands of religious and community activists to Washington later this month to urge President Obama to make the poor a priority and continue his goal of reducing domestic poverty by half in 10 years.
The effort, co-chaired by evangelical activist Jim Wallis and Michael Gerson, who was a speechwriter for former President George W.
Bush, is led by what Gerson called an "orgy of strange bedfellows" who want to make sure the poor are not overlooked in the economic downturn.