The Common Good

The Washington Post

The Washington Post Press Items
Through the Saguaro Seminar, Obama befriended the president of the Christian Coalition and Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Dallas area Methodist minister who became President Bush's closest spiritual adviser. Obama grew particularly close to Jim Wallis, an evangelical political activist from Washington who founded Sojourners magazine.
Progressive evangelical leader Jim Wallis wrote in 1997 that the Church of the Saviour "has had more influence around the country than any other church I know about."
Frustrated by the failure to overturn Roe v. Wade, a growing number of antiabortion pastors, conservative academics and activists are setting aside efforts to outlaw abortion and instead are focusing on building social programs and developing other assistance for pregnant women to reduce the number of abortions. "There are certain things that we probably all can support, and then there are other things that we're going to disagree about, and you find common ground on what you can, and then you have a political battle on your other issues," said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners.
Obama has been explicit about the need to broker political peace between Democrats and believers. "If we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, then the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyeses will continue to hold sway," he said in an important speech at a 2006 meeting organized by the progressive evangelical Jim Wallis.
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 Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical, said pollsters and media groups were operating with an "outdated script."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.