The Common Good

Jim Wallis Outlines His “Personal Faith Priorities” For the 2008 Election Vote & Encourages Other Christians to Make Their Own List

Source: Sojourners
Date: October 28, 2008

October 28, 2008

Contact: Jason Gedeik, Sojourners, (202) 745-4633, jgedeik@sojo.net

Jim Wallis Outlines His "Personal Faith Priorities" For the 2008 Election Vote & Encourages Other Christians to Make Their Own List

Faith Priorities Offered As Alternative To Conservative "Non-Negotiables"

WASHINGTON, DC - October 17, 2008 - Evangelical leader Jim Wallis, author of The Great Awakening and President of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States, today outlined the "faith priorities" that will dictate his vote in the 2008 presidential election. This is in direct response to the list of "non-negotiables" issued in previous elections by conservative Catholic Bishops and megachurch pastors like Rick Warren. These non-negotiables were intended as a voter guide for their followers yet read like the official Republican Party Web sites focusing on wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage. The political connections and commitments of the religious non-negotiable writers were quite clear and failed to address biblical imperatives like poverty.

"Our choices should reflect the things we believe God cares about if we are people of faith, and our moral sensibilities if we are not people of faith," said Jim Wallis. "All of us should be 'values voters,' but vote all our values, not just a few that can be easily manipulated for the benefit of one party or another."

Jim Wallis' Faith Priorities:

  1. With more than two-thousand verses in the Bible about how we treat the poor, I will examine the record, plans, and promises made by candidates on what they will do to overcome the scandal of extreme global poverty and the shame of domestic poverty in the richest nation in the world. Any solution to the economic crisis that simply bails out the rich, and even the middle class, but ignores those at the bottom should be unacceptable to people of faith.
  2. From the biblical prophets to Jesus, there is, at least, a biblical presumption against war. So I will choose candidates who will be least likely to lead us into disastrous wars and find better ways to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world. I will choose candidates who seem to best understand that our security depends upon other people's security (everyone having "their own vine and fig tree, so no one can make them afraid," as the prophets say), more than upon how high we can build walls or a stockpile of weapons.
  3. "Choosing life" is a constant biblical theme, so I will choose candidates who have the most consistent ethic of life, addressing all the threats to human life and dignity that we face. Thirty-thousand children dying globally each day of preventable hunger and disease is a life issue. The genocide in Darfur is a life issue. War is a life issue. The death penalty is a life issue. And on abortion, I will choose candidates who will pursue practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and "pro-choice" and "pro-life" mantras from either side.
  4. God's fragile creation is under assault and I will choose candidates who will likely be most faithful in our care of the environment. I will choose candidates who will most clearly take on the growing threat of climate change, and who have the strongest commitment to the conversion of our economy and way of life to a cleaner, safer, and more renewable energy future. And that choice could accomplish other key moral priorities like the redemption of a dangerous foreign policy built on Middle East oil dependence, and the prospects of job creation and economic renewal from a new "green" economy built on more spiritual values of stewardship, sustainability, responsibility, and even humility.
  5. Every human being is made in the image of God, so I will choose candidates who are most likely to protect human rights and dignity. Sexual and economic slavery is on the rise around the world, and an end to human trafficking must become a top priority. Torture is morally unacceptable under any circumstances, and I will choose candidates who are most committed to reversing American policy on the treatment of prisoners. And I will choose candidates who understand that our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform, but must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to "welcome the stranger."
  6. Healthy families are the foundation of our community life - nothing is more important than how we are raising up the next generation. As the father of two young boys, I am deeply concerned about the values our leaders model in the midst of the cultural degeneracy assaulting our children. Which candidates will best exemplify and articulate strong family values, using the White House and other offices as bully pulpits to speak of sexual restraint and integrity, marital fidelity, strong parenting, and putting family values over economic values? And I will choose candidates who promise to deal with the enormous economic and cultural pressures that have made parenting a "countercultural activity" in America today, rather than those who merely scapegoat gay people for the serious problems of heterosexual family breakdown.

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Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international commentator on religion and public life, faith and politics. His recent book, "The Great Awakening, Reviving Faith and Politics In a Post-Religious Right America," debuted at number 10 on the New York Times bestseller list. Jim's previous book, "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It" was on the list for 4 months. He is President of Sojourners; where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, whose combined print and electronic media have a readership of more than 250,000 people.

Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net, and www.GodsPolitics.com.