For the Record: Still Not the Religious Left

By Jim Wallis 5-08-2009

Before our Mobilization to End Poverty, a member of our staff sent an e-mail to some members of the media in which he mistakenly referred to it as "the first big mobilization of the Religious Left in the Obama era." Christianity Today's Politics blog posted quotes from the e-mail and asked rhetorically, "So is [he] off message by using the phrase? Or is Sojourners rebranding itself?"

I can emphatically say that he was "off message." While drawing inspiration from other Christian traditions and convening a broad spectrum of Christians to fight poverty, Sojourners and I have always identified with the evangelical tradition. The founders of Sojourners, including me, came together at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Our Sojourners magazine is a member of the Evangelical Press Association, from which we have won numerous awards.

As the CT blog pointed out, The Seattle Times in 2004 quoted me as saying,

A: And people of faith should not be in any party's pockets, any candidate's pockets. The religious right was a political party, not a religious one. There should not now be a religious left.

Q: But isn't there the perception that you're part of the religious left?

A: The media only sees that. The media thinks everything has only two sides. People are hungry for a moral center.

That is still true. Our Mobilization was a broad coalition of Christians -- some progressive, some moderate, and some conservative. It was not a mobilization of the religious left, but a mobilization of Christians from across the political spectrum who are committed to those whom Jesus called "the least of these who are members of my family."

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