The Common Good

The Washington Post

The Washington Post Press Items
In announcing the poll's results this week, the Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical, said pollsters and media groups were operating with an "outdated script."
[Jim] Wallis tops his friend Campolo: He's got a blurb from Bono, not to mention a foreword by Jimmy Carter. The 2005 bestseller God's Politics made Wallis the best known "progressive" evangelical in the country; in that book, he argued that the left had foolishly tried to keep faith out of politics and that the right had foolishly discredited the role of religion in public life. In this book, he declares victory: "The era of the Religious Right is now past."
"What Would Jesus Buy?" includes interviews with shoppers obsessed with PlayStations and Xboxes. And there are the requisite talking heads (environmental writer Bill McKibben, theologian and social activist Jim Wallis) who elaborate on the matrix of marketing, easy credit, corporate capitalism and spiritual poverty that has trapped so many Americans into thinking that getting more stuff equals being more happy.
Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann wrote in this month's Sojourners magazine: "Rev. Billy is a faithful prophetic figure who stands in direct continuity with ancient prophets in Israel and in continuity with the great prophetic figures of U.S. history who have incessantly called our society back to its core human passions of justice and compassion."
[Meaghan] Burdick's first appeal through the mail was shipped out to a list of 800,000 people she had cobbled together using addresses collected during Obama's earlier campaigns and ones rented from unusual sources, including Sojourners magazine and the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Atlanta. The three-page letter evoked themes of "hope" and "change" and closed with a quote from King: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
Participating in one-day fasts related to the Jubilee Act or endorsing the effort are the Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical and head of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, evangelical author Tony Campolo, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, and the Rev. John Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ.
Tonkowich said high-profile liberal Christians such as author Jim Wallis "may be having their day in the sun" with greater media visibility. But, he said, declining denominations and an embrace of such "deal-buster" issues as gay marriage and abortion make the stands of liberal churches barely discernible from those of liberal politics.
This is not Michael Dukakis's Democratic Party. Instead, as was shown by Monday night's forum on faith, sponsored by CNN and the liberal evangelical group Sojourners, it is a party on a mission: to make inroads into Republicans' ability to attract and, more important, turn out religious voters.
Yes, there was a vigorous discussion Sunday on the merits of competing health-care plans -- yet another sign that this campaign may finally put universal coverage on the road to enactment. And yesterday's Clinton-Obama-Edwards discussion, sponsored by the progressive Christian magazine Sojourners, was organized in large part around the theme of social justice.
The candidate forum was part of an annual Sojourners conference called Pentecost, where leaders on the religious left gather. Obama spoke at the event last year.