The Common Good

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal Press Items
Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His response was to expel international aid agencies that provide a lifeline to Darfurians, and with that, "never again" is being made into "once again" through a continuation of genocide by other means. But Mr. Bashir's deadly gambit provides an opportunity.
The coalition includes forceful figures on the religious right, such as Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council, and equally outspoken leaders on the religious left, such as the Rev. Jim Wallis, who leads the ministry Sojourners.
Jim Wallis, a several-time Davos attendee who runs Sojourners USA, a Christian social-justice network, says that instead of being relegated to panels that dealt solely on religion or social issues, he has been invited to speak on big-ticket panels -- including one on the values of capitalism with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo Inc.
At an opening interfaith prayer ceremony at the Democratic convention Sunday, an evangelical minister spoke about saving unborn children. During another official convention event, a "faith caucus" on Tuesday, a former congressman urged the elimination of 95% of all abortions in the next decade. The Rev. Jim Wallis, an evangelical minister from Washington, D.C., who advocates greater support for the poor, and who is at the convention conducting faith meetings, said the party cannot ignore the number of voters for whom abortion is a nonnegotiable issue.
In the summer of 1992, elders in the Democratic Party denied Mr. Casey's pro-life father a speaking slot at the convention. This year, we are told, it is different. There have been summits. There has been outreach. And there has been inclusion. One result is tonight's speaking slot for Mr. Casey. Another is the party platform. Its drafting involved people as diverse as Doug Kmiec, a former official in the Reagan Justice Department; the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners; and the Rev. Joel Hunter, who describes himself as "not only a pro-life Evangelical, but also a registered Republican."
"What has been sorely needed is new common ground that focuses on reducing the need for abortions," says the Rev. Jim Wallis, an evangelical leader and liberal political activist who pushed for the new platform to include alternatives to abortion.
Jim Wallis likewise lauds Rauschenbusch's "Christian social ethic" as an "eloquent and necessary corrective" to privatized faith.
One would be hard pressed to call Solzhenitsyn and Niebuhr moral equivocators or utopians, but it is their humility before God that was our model.
Finally, there is the document from the liberal magazine Sojourners called "Confessing Christ in a World of Violence," signed by scores of theology professors, ethicists and church leaders. It rejects the "crude distinctions" being made between Islamic radicalism and Western democracy. "The distinction between good and evil does not run between one nation and another, or one group and another," the petition reads. "It runs straight through every human heart."
Few are as blatant as Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners magazine and a darling of Democratic leaders. In his best-selling book "God's Politics," Mr. Wallis discerns from a short passage in Isaiah a blueprint for government welfare spending. "The starting point to check how our society measures up to Isaiah's platform," Mr. Wallis writes, "is by examining our federal budget."