On November 8th, Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners, offered commentary on the results of the Midterm Elections results from earlier in the week. Wallis said, “As we digest the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections, there are reasons for people of faith committed to social justice and the common good to be grateful and encouraged. There are also reminders of what we are up against and some real post-election dangers.”
Media Advisories and Press Releases
On October 31st a group of interfaith leaders gathered to offer words of consolation, solidarity, hope and issue a call for prayer to guide our nation towards justice, peace and safety for all. At this politically volatile time with a resurgence of hatred and racism, prayer is not perfunctory but rather the most powerful way to apply our spiritual life and resources to a national and political emergency. The leaders are calling for five days of national prayer from November 1st until the election. The upcoming elections are no longer about politics but a referendum on white nationalist ideology in our country.
The Sojourners community reacted Saturday with shock, mourning, and growing fear to the horrific and murderous attack on Jews at the Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Eleven Jews were killed in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States and more wounded while observing the Sabbath. Many of the victims had gathered for a baby-naming ceremony. That this evil act of anti-Semitic terrorism should take place here in the United States is deeply shocking for old and young alike. Yet both U.S. and world history teach us that the poison of anti-Semitism is very real and has deadly consequences. Indeed, the apparent motivations and beliefs of the killer make it clear that the 11 men and women murdered Saturday were targeted precisely because of their Jewish identity. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest and most persistent forms of bigotry alive in the world today, and Christians, along with Jews—who believe all human beings are created in the image of God--have a duty to name anti-Semitism and confront it at every turn, particularly given the shameful complicity of so many who called themselves Christians in the Holocaust and other historical oppression and killing of Jewish people.
Diverse evangelicals, led by people of color and women, want to bring the “good news” back to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in direct contrast to the “bad news” perpetuated by older, white, and partisan evangelical men. Evangelicals are typically identified in the media and by the public as a predominately white, politically right-wing faith group with little to no concern about the poor and oppressed.
Missing from the national conversation is a recognition that evangelicals are an ethnically diverse group. According to the PRRI 2017 American Values Atlas, thirty-five percent of evangelicals are people of color. Although the media focused on the eighty-one percent of “evangelicals” who voted for Donald Trump, it ignored the fact that seventy-two percent of evangelicals of color voted differently. This distortion undermines the Christian witness and negatively impacts American politics. Millions of people have left the faith, especially younger believers, during a time in which evangelicalism has become increasingly partisan and politicized.
The release of the “Chicago Invitation: Diverse Evangelicals Continue the Journey” signals a commitment to transform the current, false narrative around evangelicalism into a liberating one based upon Jesus’ teachings, the authority of scripture, evangelism, and God’s Biblical call to justice.
In response to yesterday’s New York Times article “Evangelical Leaders Are Frustrated at G.O.P Caution on Kavanaugh Allegation”, founder and president of Sojourners released the following statement:
"Journalists Jeremy W. Peters and Elizabeth Dias correctly note that the Kavanaugh nomination is absolutely key to the agenda and the political legacy of the Religious Right of the past 40 years—which is now at its apex. But let’s be perfectly clear: no Christian should favor “pushing through” a lifetime appointment for Judge Kavanaugh without a full and fair examination of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her. To not want to listen to Dr. Ford’s credible accusation of sexual assault, or to not even care whether or not it is true and be determined to confirm Judge Kavanaugh either way—is decidedly un-Christian. And based on the facts that have been made public so far, to listen to Dr. Ford’s story and not believe her story deserves to be told at this point is a choice made based on political allegiance, not one based on a sincere desire to know the truth of what happened.
Following the signing of the Reclaiming Jesus declaration, multiracial elders from across traditions—including evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, and African American churches—launched the “Suffer the Little Children” statement condemning the splitting apart of families at the United States border and the abuse of Scripture to defend a morally indefensible policy. The Trump administration is abusing Scripture to justify abusing children.
On Thursday, May 24th from 7-10pm, a group of multiracial elders from many Christian traditions—including representation from evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, and African American churches—will lead a church service, procession to deliver declaration to the White House, and silent candlelight vigil in response to the moral and political crises at the highest levels of political leadership that are putting both the soul of the nation and the integrity of Christian faith at stake.
On Thursday, May 24th from 7-10pm, a group of multiracial elders from many Christian traditions—including representation from evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, and African American churches—will lead a church service, procession to the White House, and silent candlelight vigil in response to the moral and political crises at the highest levels of political leadership.
Sojourners denounces decision to send the National Guard to U.S.-Mexico Border
(WASHINGTON, D.C)— The Trump Administration recently announced plans to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid Border Patrol agents. Sojourners stands against this decision, as it is anti-Christian and a false solution to political problems that demand deeper answers.
Today a multiracial group of church leaders with representation from evangelical, mainline Protestant, African-American, and Catholic churches, released a declaration to remind Christians—including the ninety-one percent of members of Congress who self-identify as Christian—that when politics undermines theology, we must examine that politics. The declaration is the first time since the 2016 election that a broad and diverse group of church elders have come together to speak in a unified voice to the current moral and political crisis. These elders are breaking the silence from within the evangelical community and the rest of the Church in rejecting the Christian faith being co-opted by partisan politics.
This declaration is more than another statement, but signals the beginning of a process commended by these church elders to the churches for prayer, study, reflection, and action. It is the duty of elders, they believe, to speak the truth in love to churches by calling out racial and cultural captivities and warning against temptations, false doctrines, and political ideologies.
Today is the deadline President Trump originally set to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program exposing possible deportations for nearly 800,000 DACA recipients. The issue has been stalemated in Congress and the stage is set for a long fight for immigration rights in the U.S.
“Our Christian call is to be relentless in our actions and witness during this time through love, prayer, and protection of our affected brothers and sisters,” Jessica Cobian, Immigration Campaign Coordinator at Christian advocacy organization Sojourners, said. “In faith, we will persevere until justice prevails.”
Sojourners values Dreamers as essential members of American communities. In Matthew 25, the biblical command to protect immigrants is clear and informs Christians to welcome the stranger.
Sojourners is a partner of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a faith-based group dedicated to advocating for immigration rights. Activists and faith-based supporters alike are determined to continue pressing Congress for new immigration legislation including a Clean Dream Act, continued temporary protected status and family reunification efforts.
On behalf of Sojourners and my family, I want to express our condolences to the Graham family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Billy Graham has been an important figure in my life and vocation. Ever since meeting him in the early days of Sojourners’ ministry, I found him to be not only gracious and warm, but also a bridge-builder and encourager. I am exceedingly grateful for Billy Graham’s outreach to me as young evangelical starting a faith- inspired social justice movement and his steady support of Sojourners’ work for peace and justice throughout the years.
Billy Graham once told me that he believed his mission for preaching the gospel of salvation and Sojourners mission of teaching the social implications of that personal salvation were “complementary.”
His integrity, consistency, willingness to learn, change, admit mistakes and go forward, and his willingness to take stands on public issues like racially integrating his crusades in the South, and speaking out against nuclear weapons, is an example for all faith leaders to follow. May Billy rest in peace as we all continue to reach out to the world and humanity for which he cared so deeply.
Thoughts and prayers are absolutely needed in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting with 17 students and teachers dead, 14 others wounded, and countless numbers of people again traumatized. These horrific murders are just latest in a long string of mass shootings that have happened over the past couple of years. 5 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern American history have happened in the last 26 months. But praying is not enough; and its way past time to turn prayers into action. Action means to take responsibility. And responsibility must be called out. I believe the National Rifle Association and their gun running sponsors are responsible for the death of the Florida children and teachers. I believe all those elected officials who refuse to support the common-sense gun safety laws that the vast majority of the American people support are responsible for the death of those killed on Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday. I believe that elected officials who are too cowardly to ban the assault weapons that are used only to kill mass numbers of people and not to protect or hunt--a ban which a majority of Americans also support—are also responsible for this week’s brutal killings. And I believe that we should call our ourselves and our churches to uphold life by holding their elected officials responsible and accountable for this extreme and senseless gun violence that no other country in the developed world has. This is not a political issue, but a moral crisis that must call out the nation literally to repentance—which means to turn around. So help us God.
Today Sojourners Executive Director, Adam Taylor and Immigration Campaign Coordinator Jessica Cobian and stood with faith leaders outside of Senator McConnell’s office this morning to perform an Ash Wednesday ceremony in solidarity with Dreamers pressing members of Congress for a Clean Dream Act.
More than 80 diverse faith leaders today released a declaration calling on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection between racism and poverty.
The Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty, which was sent to members of Congress before last night’s State of the Union address, appeals to all people, especially Christians, to actively work against racism and poverty. It notes that the “body of Christ is perhaps the most diverse racial community in the world.” The leaders call on political leaders from both parties to develop legislative agendas that will reduce racism and poverty. They assert that “[r]acism is systematic and structural in America and harms people of color in very specific, measurable, and tangible ways.”
Sojourners strongly denounces the hateful words spoken by Donald Trump during a closed-door immigration-related meeting this week. According to news outlets and confirmed to the media by at least one senator present at the meeting, President Trump asked, “Why do we have all these people from shit-hole nations come here” when referring to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and other African countries. It has been reported the President went on to say he would like more people from “places like Norway.” The message was clear --about the color of the skin of the people Trump wants and does not want in America.
The words uttered by Trump may be among the ugliest and most harmful words to ever come from the White House of the United States of America. Media debates around what the words mean dominate the current news cycle. Debates over language are not the issue but rather the worldview that white European immigrants are preferable to black and brown immigrants. As an organization committed and driven by faith in action for racial justice and healing, Sojourners urges a unified response against this Administration’s divisive, dangerous, and racist agendas against people of color, immigrants, refugees, and Muslims; again revealed by the brutal expletives from the President of the United States.
“The deepest question we must ask is about white American Christians. What will they/we say and do? Will we speak against the racism which is a sin against God and against our brothers and sisters of color who are all made in the image of God? Silence is not morally or biblically allowed; and silence is complicity according the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose birthday we remember on Monday. My recommendation is that every MLK event in America this Monday make the move from commemoration to commitment. It is time for Christians, especially white American Christians, to speak out and step up as Christians to the kind of racial talk and actions that are now becoming normalized in the United States of America and that we heard again on Thursday from the Oval Office. God help us,” said Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners.
Christian leaders from all the families of U.S. Christianity expressed concern that Congress’ passage of the tax bill will be followed by efforts to cut programs and support for people living in poverty. Below are statements from leaders of the Circle of Protection. The statements follow a letter the Circle of Protection sent to members of Congress recently, which reads in part:
“We oppose cutting low-income programs to pay for tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Tax reform must be undertaken in such a way as to strengthen and empower low and moderate-income families and small businesses.”
As Christian leaders, our concern is always about how legislation impacts the poor and most vulnerable. We will continue to pray, mobilize, and advocate on behalf of our neighbors in poverty."
Dreamers and immigration advocates gathered at the Capitol this morning for the Dreamer Prayer Rally, kicking off a week of planned civil disobedience actions as part of the Camino de Sueños/ Path of Dreams virtual pilgrimage coordinated by Christian Community Development Association. Faith leaders urged Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act and provide a permanent legislative fix to protect DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients from deportation and provide a path to citizenship.
National faith leaders were arrested by Capitol Police during a nonviolent, faith-based civil disobedience action in response to the proposed tax bill. Faith leaders publicly read the Bible and prayed for the nation in the Hart Senate Office Building Atrium. The treatment of poor and vulnerable people is lifted up in the Bible more than 2,000 times. According to Pew Research, 91% of the members of Congress profess to be Christian. Today’s action served to remind senators of their biblical responsibility to the poor and to raise the nation’s moral conscience to stop the attack on society’s most vulnerable people.
Christian leaders from all the families of U.S. Christianity are concerned that the tax bill being considered in Congress will cause harm to people in poverty. Below are statements from leaders of the Circle of Protection. The statements follow a letter the Circle of Protection sent to members of Congress recently. It reads in part:
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