We awoke with a deep sense of sadness, mourning, and grief at the news of the horrific shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters as they mourn the loss of so many beloved family and community members. We pray for all of the victims, their families, and their communities.
Media Advisories and Press Releases
Jim Wallis, the President of Sojourners, is mourning the decision by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in St. Louis to adopt the Traditional Plan, which reinforced the United Methodist Church’s prohibitions on LGBTQ clergy and marriages. Wallis says, “there was much harm done by the vote at the Methodist conference in St. Louis. Tears, hurt, and pain permeated the gathering — not just from LGBTQ clergy, seminarians, and lay leaders who were in attendance, but from many other Methodist delegates who know and love them.”
The declaration of a state of emergency by the president is an alarming abuse of executive power.
On Ash Wednesday, 2018, a group of elders met for a retreat together because of a national political crisis which was also revealing a crisis of faith. Later that year, the elders issued a declaration called Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis, to which more than 5 million responded. However, the moral and political crisis the Reclaiming Jesus declaration responded to has become even deeper and more dangerous. So now we look toward Ash Wednesday, 2019.
In commenting on the President’s State of the Union Address, Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners, turned his attention to the recent controversy surrounding Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Wallis criticized Northam’s recently uncovered medical school photograph and the governor’s response to the revelations, calling the whole affair “shameful.”
President Trump delivered an address to the nation on Tuesday from the Oval Office. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, has issued the following statement in response:
“During Tuesday night’s Oval Office address, we saw racism on display. Racism is always based on lies; it always has been and always will be. Tuesday’s address was more of the same lies Trump has used since he announced his presidential candidacy in 2015. He used his lies last night to try to justify his border wall, the signature issue of his political campaign and administration, which people on both sides of the aisle have said has nothing to do with border security and everything to do with Donald Trump’s central message: You should fear people who aren’t white. The wall would be Donald Trump’s 2,200-mile monument to white supremacy.
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.”
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.
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