Religion News Service Press Items
President-elect Barack Obama drew heavy criticism from gay rights groups when he tapped California megachurch pastor Rick Warren to pray at his upcoming Jan. 20 inauguration after Warren campaigned for a state constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage.
Religion News Service asked several religious leaders what they would have prayed for if they had been asked, including the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners.
Jim Wallis, editor of the progressive evangelical Sojourners magazine, sees a coalition forming based on the whole of Catholic social teaching, whether the person is Catholic or not. When these people see bishops speak out on just one or two issues, such as abortion and gay marriage or stem-cell research, he says the motive is obvious.
“It appears transparently partisan,” Wallis said. “It’s hard to respect somebody’s consistent ethic of life when they only talk about abortion and not the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, poverty, genocide.”
Democratic Party leaders are making an aggressive push for Catholic and evangelical voters, splashing attention on faith-focused ideas and gurus here at the Democratic National Convention. On Tuesday, the convention hosted two faith caucus panel discussions, with the Rev. Jim Wallis, the best-selling author and evangelical leader of Washington-based Sojourners/Call to Renewal, prominent at both.
Progressive evangelical and Catholic leaders voiced their support for the Democratic Party's platform on abortion, citing new provisions that emphasize measures intended to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. such as women's health care, adoption services and income support programs. In a conference call sponsored by his progressive evangelical group Sojourners, the Rev. Jim Wallis called the platform a "historic step forward" in reconciling the party's support of abortion rights with the concerns of Christians who oppose the practice.
Nine faith leaders have banded together to urge Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to present a 10-year plan to combat poverty when speaking at their national nominating conventions.
Organized by the group Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, the bishops condemned the government's handling of a recent raid at a kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, which resulted in the arrest of nearly 400 undocumented workers.
Jim Wallis, the progressive evangelical activist who was host to Obama in 2006 for a prominent speech on religion and politics, said it was because Obama demonstrated more than a nominal interest in personal faith.
Bono, who has described himself as a "not-practicing-enough Christian," has forged alliances with politicians, celebrities and religious leaders of all faiths, from "Purpose-Driven Life" pastor Rick Warren to progressive Christian activist Jim Wallis to the Dalai Lama.
Others among the 75 initial signatories are Nueva Esperanza USA President Luis Cortes; Wheaton College President Duane Litfin; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine; and Frank Wright, president of the National Religious Broadcasters.
The Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical leader, praised Obama's handling of his former pastor's controversial statements in his March 18 speech on race, and called on the senator to "do the equivalent" on relations with Islam.