The Common Good

A Million Christians for Social Justice

Sojomail - March 25, 2010


As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week absorbing the full wrath of the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Israel's defense establishment were in the process of sealing a large arms deal.

- Amos Harel, writing in a news article for the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. According to the deal, Israel will purchase three new military aircraft manufactured specifically for Israeli needs. America and Israel are still in the process of an agreement regarding the purchase of another war plane, the F-35, in a deal estimated to be worth more than $3 billion. The deal will be covered by American foreign assistance funds. (Source: Haaretz)

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

A Million Christians for Social Justice

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Sometimes, the timing of events seems almost providential.

For more than a year, Sojourners has been discussing and planning to launch a campaign called A Million Christians for Social Justice.

We have talked, dreamed, and prayed about the possibility and power of bringing together, from across the life of the churches, the many voices that are calling for social justice. It’s many of us now: Evangelicals and mainline Protestants, Catholics and Pentecostals, Black, Hispanic, and Asian-American churches -- focusing our personal faith on the most urgent public issues our world is now facing. From human trafficking to HIV/AIDS, from inner-city education to global poverty, from racial justice to nuclear weapons, from immigrant families to access to health care, from the status of women and girls to conflict resolution in the Middle East, from creation care to homelessness -- Christian voices are being heard and people of faith are mobilizing.

We are all being called to a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ and to living out his kingdom of love and justice. A stronger and authentic voice with moral authority beyond mere partisan politics needs to be heard on social justice. That voice can both speak truth to power and bring people together across cultural and political lines to act for justice.

Glenn Beck’s attacks on deeply held Christian principles of social justice have ironically brought newfound attention, focus, and discussion about what it truly means to be a “social justice Christian.” As wrong and often vitriolic his caricatures, insults, and attacks on such core gospel teachings and biblical tenets have been, they have provided what is often called a “teachable moment” and perhaps, a mobilizing moment as well. The Beck attack on Christian social justice has given us an opportunity to teach what true gospel principles are and offers us an opportunity to reach out to even more people who are being attracted by the biblical call to social justice -- which is the mission statement of Sojourners.

So we are now discerning whether this is the right time to move beyond the discussions, and as Congressman John Lewis says, to "put some feet on our prayers" and launch “A Million Christians for Social Justice.”

Sure, we'd be responding to Glenn Beck. But we believe we'd really be responding to our own calling to stand up for the poor and vulnerable and to stand against the conditions, institutions, and polices that further poverty. It could be a moment to speak out and to serve. The attacks of poverty on vulnerable families and children, the attacks of hunger on entire communities, the attacks of economic inequities on hardworking people, the attacks of war on civilians who get caught in the cross-fire, are all much harsher attacks than anything Beck can hurl at us. These are the attacks we must address. These are the attacks we are called to fight.

A Million Christians for Social Justice will bring us together to fight injustice and inequality, to fight hunger and hopelessness, and ultimately, to love and nourish all the souls that are a part of God's creation -- and to do so in the name of Jesus.

By adding your voice as one of a million, you will allow us to work toward building a large and active network to help people find each other, as well as to find kindred spirits and churches in their own communities; you’ll help connect people and churches who want to work on the same issues, and share both vital resources and stories for deepening our understanding and commitment to faith-based social justice; and when needed, your voice will help focus our attention, energy, and a united prophetic voice on urgent matters of common concern. That will require an investment in new technology and expert staff, something hard to do in the current economic climate without the assurance that there's a movement behind us to help make it happen.

Your honest feedback is important. Join us in making this decision. Join us in prayer and join us with your comments, responses, and finally, your commitment. Do you like the vision of A Million Christians for Social Justice? Has the time for such a movement finally come?

So we want to try this out with you. Would you join such a network and movement of faith and action? Would you be one of a million voices connecting, speaking, and acting in a common witness? We can create change in our society, and indeed are called to. To make this a reality, we need a strong indication from our constituents that this campaign is the way to go: Click here to leave a comment on our blog and tell us your ideas.

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While we often hear only about violence, many Afghans make daily sacrifices to make life better for their families and country. In this audio slideshow, photographer Heather Wilson talks about the beauty of the people, culture, and land of Afghanistan that she experienced while living there.


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From All of Us at Sojourners, Thank You

This week we bore witness to the most comprehensive reform of the health-care system in decades. While the legislation which President Obama signed into law on Tuesday is imperfect, it was nevertheless a significant step toward fixing a broken system. It provides health coverage for 32 million more Americans and is predicted to reduce the deficit by more than $140 billion over the next ten years. In the president’s address at the signing of the bill, he acknowledged all who had advocated and campaigned tirelessly for accessible and affordable health care for all:

It is because of you that we did not quit. It’s because of you that Congress did not quit. It’s because of you that I did not quit. It’s because of you.

All of us at Sojourners also want to thank you for standing with us in pushing for comprehensive health reform. To read Jim Wallis’s response to the passage of this legislation, click here.


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Top Stories:

Immigration: The Next Hot Topic in Washington?
Christian Broadcasting Network
"We say the time is now. The time to fix this broken system is now," Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners, said. But some say President Obama and Congress may be too bloodied from the health care battle to take on another controversial issue now. +Click to continue

Clergy, White House Strategize on Immigration Reform
Religion News Service
The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of the anti-poverty group Sojourners, said the faith community is ready to help Obama mobilize the grass roots. "There has never been more unity on this issue in the faith community," said Wallis, describing the commitment from the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, Catholic and Jewish leaders who participated in Monday's meeting. +Click to continue

Immigration Reform: “My Faith, My Vote”
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

Rallying for Immigration Reform
Christianity Today blog

The fierce urgency of now: justice
The Miami Herald

Glenn Beck, FRC Shift Aim From 'Social Justice' to Jim Wallis
Christianity Today blog

Fox’s Beck should quit preaching
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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General Secretary: the World Association for Christian Communication Board seeks a new chief executive (based in Toronto, Canada). Information about WACC, the hiring process, and the job description are available on the WACC Web site.

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