The Common Good

Jim Wallis, Frank Wolf Discuss How Politics Can Serve the Common Good

Date: May 24, 2013

Evangelical left leader Jim Wallis and Republican Congressman Frank Wolf (Va.) discussed how politics can serve the common good at a Thursday panel at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. While the panel was called, "Competing Visions of the Common Good: Rethinking Help for the Poor," Wallis and Wolf talked more about where they found common ground than where their visions were in competition.

"Politics is destroying the common good," Wallis said.

Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, wrote a recent book about the common good, called On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good.

Both liberals and conservatives have important contributions to the common good, Wallis argued. "The best conservative idea is personal responsibility," and "the best liberal idea is social responsibility." Wallis believes both of these are critically important to advancing the common good. Yet, he added, those two sides "are at war" and are "lacking civility."