Maybe you've heard the buzz...
On Sunday, Sojourners' CEO Jim Wallis appeared on WABC-TV's Up Close news program in New York City to debate Pamela Geller of the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, who put up ads in NYC subway stations that read, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
Like many other folks of good faith, we at Sojourners were horrified by the blatantly hate-filled ads. We decided to do something to counter hate and fear with love and affirmation for our Muslim brothers and sisters. Last week, we began raising funds to purchase our own ad campaign in NYC subways with a simple message: "Love your Muslim neighbors."
Everyone – regardless of race, religion, or creed — deserves to feel welcomed and safe when riding public transit in America. Sojourners hopes this simple message will stand in stark contrast to the anti-Muslim ads that are drawing so much attention and provide a more hopeful, peaceful, and faithful witness in New York City.
Apparently, Geller does not concur.
"I appeared on Up Close with Diana Williams, WABC-TV's public affairs show [and] I debatied Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, who is launching his own ad campaign on the subways, 'hitting back' at ours," Geller said in a short description accompanying video footage of the appearance she posted on YouTube. "It's a pity that Rev. Jim Wallis didn't get his group together to stand up when Christians, Hindus, and so many others were facing vicious persecution in Muslim countries. Where is Sojourners when Christians are victimized by jihad? Wallis is standing up for those who oppress and kill Christians."
The conversation on Up Close got lively. Geller came out swinging, accusing her critics — Sojourners included — of infringing on her right to free speech.
Jim held his ground and pushed back. (He's good like that. Attaboy, boss!)
See for yourself in the video below.