The Common Good


Reuters Press Items
Biden told gun-control advocates this month that expanding the background-check system to cover private sales and gun shows would be the single most effective way to reduce gun violence, said Vincent DeMarco, national coordinator of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.
But frustration over race coupled with a desire to correct injustice fuels sermons in many black churches, said progressive evangelical leader Jim Wallis, who is white, in an interview.
An exit poll commisioned after Ohio’s Tuesday primary by Faith in Public Life, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Sojourners asked both Republicans and Democrats if they were evangelical or born-again Christian. Almost all other polls have only asked this of Republican primary voters as this group is widely regarded as a key base for the GOP.
The Rev. Jeff Carr, a minister in the Church of the Nazarene, will oversee a $168 million effort to create youth programs and other initiatives to counter a dramatic rise in murders and drive-by shootings among an estimated 720 street gangs.
Highlighting the diversity, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Christian conservative, and prominent liberal preacher Jim Wallis have both raised the banner for "The Amazing Change" campaign.
What makes it still harder is that the religious right has hijacked the agenda for Christian voters promoting opposition to abortion and gay marriage but pushing poverty off the agenda, said Jim Wallis, leader of Sojourners, a Christian ministry that promotes spiritual renewal and social justice. Wallis cited recent research by the Center for American Values in Public Life which indicated that 85 percent of Americans say poverty and affordable health care are more important issues than abortion and same sex marriage. "The conventional wisdom is that poverty isn't sexy and that nobody wants to talk about poverty ... You need political leaders with the courage to test the proposition," he said.
Democrats must shed their reluctance to talk about faith and reach out to evangelical Christians and other churchgoing Americans, a leading new voice in the party said on Wednesday. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said Democrats need to respond to the religious right, which has increased its clout in recent years and twice helped elect President George W. Bush.
More than 100 religious activists protesting proposed cuts to health care and other social welfare programs were arrested on Wednesday after they staged a peaceful sit-in at a government building near the U.S. Capitol.
"There is much more activity from the White House and the Republican Party to capture, control and manipulate religious issues and to orchestrate partisan activity in churches," said Jim Wallis, executive director of Sojourners, a Christian ministry that advocates spiritual renewal and social justice.