The Washington Post Press Items
This is an effort sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table, of which CfCIR is a founding member. Every day for 40 days, we ask that people read one short Scripture passage that relates to God’s heart for immigrants in some way. Some verses deal with having respect for the law; others relate to the way God says immigrants should be incorporated into a society.
A growing number of Republicans and conservative groups have begun pushing for comprehensive immigration changes on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, joining liberal Democrats in hopes of propelling the politically fraught issue forward early in his second term.
The pressure from the right — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Baptist Convention — has given immigration advocates hope that a sweeping overhaul can gain bipartisan support in Congress more easily than other polarizing issues such as gun control, the federal deficit and taxes
Similarly, Sojourners President Jim Wallis cites a document signed by 46 religious leaders that condemns persecution against LGBT people in Uganda but fails to denounce their teachings that fuel this anti-gay violence.
Jim Wallis, founder of the evangelical movement Sojourners, challenged the NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s argument that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
On Tuesday, more than 250 activists plan to come to Washington for a debut of sorts, hosting a news conference and strategy session before heading to Capitol Hill for meetings with key lawmakers. Group leaders say they hope to bring a fresh, outsiders’ perspective to the debate, with testimonials from rural and suburban sheriffs, local preachers, even the director of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association. Rather than dwelling on the politics of the issue, these conservative leaders plan to cast the issue based on how they see it in their communities — in moral and economic terms.
Jim Wallis, the progressive evangelical and founder of Sojourners, was equally emphatic in his response. “How we treat the least of these is the ultimate question. We can’t compromise on protecting the most vulnerable. Certainly all kinds of other things can be compromised. But that’s not where the real money is.” A path to fiscal sustainability is out there, Wallis concedes, and a faith-based notion of the common good might motivate both sides to sit down together, but “compromise sounds weak and cowardly and all that.”
The Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners also spoke after the meeting: “Deficits are indeed moral issues, and how you resolve them is a moral issue too. You can’t resolve a deficit by increasing poverty. So during this holiday season, we faith leaders are going to reach out as we always do to poor people. But we’re also going to say don’t do things fiscally that make the poor poorer and don’t make our job harder.”
This week, I spoke with the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Nick Stuart of Odyssey Networks about what Tuesday’s results mean for religious people and values across the spectrum. Watch the video of our conservation below.
Rabbis for Human Rights, an organization of Jewish rabbis that promote interfaith cooperation, unveiled a poster campaign in the same Manhattan metro stations as the anti-Muslim ads. They read: “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.” The Christian group Sojourners also ran a counter-ad, which read: “Love your Muslim neighbors.” And another Christian group, United Methodist Women, an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, struck back by purchasing poster space in the same metro stations, offering this message: “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”
In 2006, before Obama was president, he gave a major address at the Sojourners convention: “A Call to Renewal on Faith and Politics.”