The Common Good

Vote Out Poverty

Sojomail - May 31, 2007


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I am the man with the toughest job in the world."

- John Ukec Lueth Ukec, Sudan's ambassador to Washington, at a recent press conference in which he attempted to convince reporters that his government is not responsible for the genocide in Darfur. (Source: The Washington Post)

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HEARTS & MINDS BY JIM WALLIS

Vote Out Poverty

We’re in the homestretch for Pentecost 2007: Taking the Vision to the Streets. It promises to be an informative and inspiring event: a Sunday evening justice revival; a presidential candidates forum focusing on faith, values, and poverty; an organizing institute; and discussion on how to put poverty on the agenda of your local church. We will sing, pray, learn, and strategize together.


This conference is the next step in a vital campaign aimed at the critical presidential election year of 2008. Our plan is nothing less than to put poverty on the national agenda, and to compel candidates from both parties to present the nation with their plans for dramatic poverty reduction both at home and globally. I believe we can vote out poverty, but only if we are all in it together.

As we make the final preparations for the candidates forum, we’re excited to have our constituents playing a critical role in this history-making event – suggesting questions, voting on questions, and hosting watch parties on Monday evening. After the forum, participants in the watch parties will dial in to an exclusive conference call with Mike McCurry and Brian McLaren to react to the forum and kick off our "Vote Out Poverty" campaign to put overcoming poverty on the national agenda.

There are now more than 150 watch parties scheduled in 40 states. If you have not yet signed up to attend, click here to find one in your area. Watch the forum with other people of faith – then discuss what was said.

If there’s not one scheduled in your area, there is still time to host a gathering. We’ll give you a guide with everything you need to make your event a success. Click here to sign up. And, if you haven’t yet, you can still vote for your favorite question to be asked on Monday.

I’m looking forward to discussing putting our faith into action, building a new commitment to a society where all have genuine access to the resources needed to live a decent life. I know our time together in Washington will be filled with hope, inspiration, and ideas. And I hope you believe, as I do, that in our unity we can further the biblical imperative to overcome poverty.

+ Read and respond to comments on this article on the God's Politics blog

THIS WEEK IN GOD'S POLITICS

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Adam Taylor: Making Good on Our Promises to Africa
On Wednesday President Bush made a second major speech on the crisis of HIV/AIDS announcing a major commitment to double U.S. funding for global prevention and treatment programs around the world to reach a level of $30 billion over another five years. We should applaud this increased funding and the way in which President Bush has made fighting AIDS in Africa arguably the most positive part of his legacy. Even as we celebrate, though, we must also bear in mind that even this bold step will fall short of stemming this epidemic.

Jim Rice: Evangelicals and Creation Care
David Gushee thinks he understands why some conservative evangelicals have opposed "creation care" (i.e., taking care of the environment). He writes: "... it seems to me that those who resist creation care sometimes are motivated by a misreading of scripture. I have been in conversations where people suggest that stewardship primarily means mastery of earth to use it as we please or need; or that human beings do not have the power to do real harm to creation; or that God has promised ever since Noah never to allow humans to do serious harm to creation; or that the earth will be destroyed by fire anyway, and soon, so what we do now to the earth isn’t really all that significant."

Diana Butler Bass: A Post-Colonial Pageant
I have a confession to make: I watched the Miss Universe pageant Monday night. I could make some lame excuse like "nothing else was on television." But the truth of the matter is that when choosing between elevating my mind with Al Gore’s new book and sinking into the comfy armchair in front of the flat-screen, I chose Miss Universe – live from Mexico City. Miss Universe is a particularly embarrassing show to admit watching. Unlike Miss America, a pageant with a modicum of socially redeeming value (scholarships!), Miss Universe is an out-and-out ball gown and bathing suit spectacular. For decades, it was dominated by the blond-haired, blue-eyed likes of Miss Sweden, Miss France, and Miss USA. But this year was a different story.

Brian McLaren: Fact and Friction
I confess to being a fan of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I also confess that when I’m watching "normal" news shows, especially "fair and balanced" cable news, I frequently experience moments of disorientation, during which I can’t tell if I’m witnessing an intentional parody of honest reporting or an unintentional one. The old friction between reality and faux reality has been greased, so one keeps sliding into the other when you aren’t looking.

Bob Francis: A Reluctant Patriot
Memorial Day has always been one of the most important holidays for my family. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am from what can safely be called a military family, with my father, one grandfather, and five uncles all serving in our armed forces, representing all four major branches among them. It is on this day each year that we pause to give special thanks to those who have served in our country’s military, according the highest respect to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their very lives to secure and protect our freedoms. Given my military family heritage, it is not surprising that I was socialized from the earliest age into an unquestioned, devout patriotism, which was never on display so proudly and publicly as on Memorial Day.

Katie Van Loo: Food for Thought
Around the lunch table the other day, a few coworkers and I discussed food, healthy eating, and body image (brought on by an amateur analysis of trans- and partially-hydrogenated fats and their banning in NYC). Yesterday while scanning my iGoogle (I love that thing), I ran across this AlterNet article on a similar topic. The article spends a decent amount of time talking about deceptive lures and health risks of diet pills (has anyone seen Requiem for a Dream?) as well as some interesting points regarding the myth of obesity, a section about other countries’ diets, and the "set point weight" of our bodies.

Rose Marie Berger: James Loney’s Living Forgiveness
"Norman, Harmeet and I have forgiven our captors," says Jim Loney in yesterday’s op-ed to The Toronto Star. "Our reason is very simple. We've had enough with bombs and guns and gallows." Sojourners and I spent many an anxious moment while our compatriots in Christ with the Christian Peacemaker Teams were held captive in Baghdad between November 2005 and March 2006 (see Sojourners December 2006). In the end, this saga of modern martyrdom ended in the tragic death of Tom Fox and the ultimate release of Jim Loney, 42, Harmeet Singh Sooden, 34, and Norman Kember, 75, by British and American soldiers.

Gabriel Salguero: Where Do We Go From Here?
The famous query of Martin Luther King Jr., "Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?" is still a very pertinent question for today. In light of the noticeable disagreement around policies that seek to address economic, educational, and immigration reform, my queries to the presidential candidates would focus on that directional and strategic question, "Where do we go from here?" These queries underline and imply an initial stock-taking of where the candidates see the nation now and what they see as the necessary future trajectory we need to take as a nation.

Elizabeth Palmberg: There They Go Again (And Again...)
Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams has allegedly "blessed" an undercover CIA attempt to destabilize the government of Iran. Abrams was, of course, involved in an earlier covert attempt to undermine a foreign government (of Nicaragua), which involved illegally selling arms to Iran. This November will be the 16th anniversary of Abrams’ conviction of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair. We suggest that he celebrate with cake, ice cream, and maybe taking some time to talk with other administration officials about blowback.

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

Christian Leaders, CNN to Question Clinton, Obama and Edwards
The Christian Post

Pastors, Flocks at Odds Over Issue
Religion News Service

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Leaders Call for Balanced Religious Debate
Common Dreams Progressive NewsWire

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


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