President

Rev. Adam Russell Taylor is president of Sojourners and author of A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community. Follow him on X @revadamtaylor.

Taylor previously led the Faith Initiative at the World Bank Group and served as the vice president in charge of Advocacy at World Vision U.S. and the senior political director at Sojourners. He has also served as the executive director of Global Justice, an organization that educates and mobilizes students around global human rights and economic justice. He was selected for the 2009/2010 class of White House Fellows and served in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and Public Engagement. Taylor is a graduate of Emory University, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. Taylor also serves on the Independent Sector Board, the Global Advisory Board of Tearfund UK, and is a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellowship. Taylor is ordained in the American Baptist Church and the Progressive National Baptist Convention and serves in ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. 

Adam Russell Taylor is available to speak at your next event. Please review our speaker instructions and guidelines or check out our full list of Sojourners speakers.

Speaking Topics

  • Human rights and global poverty
  • Racial justice
  • Voting rights
  • Climate justice
  • Economic justice
  • Immigration
  • Peace and nonviolence
  • His most recent book, A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community

Speaking Format

  • Virtual and in-person events, also available for preaching

Languages

  • Fluent in English

Past Notable Events

  • Tufts University’s Russell Lecture
  • United Church of Christ General Synod Gathering Keynote
  • Children’s Defense Fund Staff Retreat Keynote
  • Parliament of the World Religions
  • Christian Community Development Association Keynote Panel

Posts By This Author

How My Faith Radically Changed What I Eat

by Adam Russell Taylor 02-15-2024

An In-N-Out burger, with a juicy beef patty, melted cheese, fresh lettuce, and tomato all stacked between two soft buns. Photo: Chin Hei Leung / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

“Eating is an inherently good activity,” writes Elizabeth Palmberg in the 2009 issue of Sojourners, “a channel of God’s goodness.” Eating is also an essential way for us to experience fellowship, build relationships, and share love. Yet eating can also be, as the Apostle Paul writes, an extension of our faithfulness: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). And when I think about my diet, it’s hard to imagine how the overconsumption of meat — which so often exacerbates health problems and disproportionately contributes to climate change — can be to the “glory of God.”

Teaching My Black Sons They Are Beloved

by Adam Russell Taylor 02-08-2024

Derrick Harris carries his son, Daniel, 5, Historically Black Colleges and Universities' March to The Well event in Greenville, SC, in honor of MLK Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

Every morning, I drive my two sons, ages 11 and 13, to school. Normally these rides are mostly quiet as I listen to podcasts, and they watch something on their iPads. But this February, I told my sons we were starting a new tradition: Taking turns naming a figure of Black history and sharing why we believe that person was significant. To my surprise, my sons’ initial reticence quickly turned to enthusiasm. So far, we’ve talked about Louis Armstrong, Jesse Owens, Sojourner Truth, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Carter G. Woodson — the leader of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History who established the second week of February to be “Negro History Week” to counterbalance the ongoing erasure of Black contributions in the U.S.

Something Progressive and Conservative Christians Agree On

by Adam Russell Taylor 02-01-2024

A family waits in line to receive groceries during a food distribution event organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor on May 9, 2020. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

This week the House voted with a resounding margin of 357 to 70 to pass a bill that includes support for low-income families with multiple children. If passed in the Senate, the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act” will enhance the Child Tax Credit by expanding eligibility and adjusting payments for inflation, provisions that would benefit about 16 million children in families with low income, lifting 400,000 children above the poverty line.

The Bitter Irony of MLK Day

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-11-2024

A photograph of the Rev. Martin Luther King hangs in a window in downtown Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 2008 in advancce of the 40th anniversary of King's assassination. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES)

No Christian leader has influenced my faith and activism as much as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — but the day we devote to his legacy often leaves me frustrated. There’s a bitter irony in a nation that takes a day off to celebrate King’s life and work while that same nation is experiencing a deep backlash against racial justice.

A Gathering of the Global Church

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-09-2024
As Christianity's center of gravity continues to shift away from the West, it is increasingly important to strengthen relationships with younger Christian leaders from the majority world. 
The illustration shows two people reaching forward to shake hands. Behind both people are the silhouettes of other people, filled in with maps of the world. One person has the Americas, and the other has Asia and Africa.

Illustration by Poan Pan 

INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY FOR peace and justice has long been central to our work at Sojourners. We participated in the nuclear freeze movement, the anti-apartheid struggle, the sanctuary movement, and more recent efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, combat climate change, and end the wars in Ukraine and Israel-Palestine.

In April, I will travel to Accra, Ghana, for an important gathering of emerging Christian leaders from around the globe. Sojourners is one of several Christian organizations and church bodies that are collaborating under the auspices of a key ecumenical partner, the Global Christian Forum (GCF), to bring together a new generation of Christian leaders. We’re thrilled for the opportunity these leaders will have to share their faith stories and discuss the connections between Jesus and justice in their local, national, and international contexts.

Is a ‘Revisionist History’ of Jan. 6 Alive in Your Church?

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-05-2024

Then-President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Muskegon County Airport in Muskegon, Michigan on Oct. 17, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

According to recent polling from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, Republicans are now “more sympathetic to those who stormed the U.S. Capitol and more likely to absolve Donald Trump of responsibility for the attack than they were in 2021.” The same polling found that Americans were now slightly less likely to believe that President Joe Biden’s win was legitimate and more likely to believe there was “solid evidence” of voter fraud.

Christians, We Need To Believe Trump

by Adam Russell Taylor 12-07-2023

Former President Donald Trump exits the stage following a campaign rally in Houston on Nov. 2, 2023. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

In a televised interview this week with Sean Hannity of Fox News, former President Donald Trump initially refused to answer the question of whether, if elected in 2024, he would be a dictator or use his power to seek retribution for his political opponents. After Hannity pressed further, Trump said he would only be a dictator on “day one” of a new presidency; he did rule out political retribution. This should be shocking, but are any of us surprised? Trump is known for his lying and exaggeration. Nevertheless, we make a grave mistake if we don’t take Trump’s words seriously.

I’m Tired of So-Called ‘Christian’ Family Values

by Adam Russell Taylor 11-28-2023
If we followed gospel teaching, “pro-family” wouldn’t be short for anti-women and anti-LGBTQ policies.
The image shows an abstraction of two adult shapes holding a smaller child shape, overlayed on an open book.

biblebox / Vectorstock 

I'M TIRED OF hearing politicians use “family values” as shorthand for a narrow and often misguided agenda. It is time to broaden and reclaim a truly pro-family agenda to protect and strengthen all families. Since at least the 1990s, the political and Religious Right have often claimed a monopoly on “family values.” Many Democrats have only exacerbated this trend with their reticence to frame their policies as pro-family. As a result, whenever we hear a politician talking about “family values” or “pro-family policies,” it’s shorthand for policies that restrict women’s autonomy or threaten LGBTQ+ rights.

Of course, outside of the world of politics, it’s obvious that people with widely divergent perspectives view the welfare of their family — whether biological, blended, or chosen — as the center of their lives. Protecting families should be a nonpartisan issue with bipartisan support, not another casualty of partisan extremism.

What would a holistic pro-family policy agenda require? As Christians, we have a responsibility for both the pastoral and political welfare of families. It is these intimate, human, familial relationships that generate our common good. True family values in politics should mean programs and policies that protect human dignity, help families thrive, and promote space for kids to grow and learn. As Christians, we stand for this kind of “family values” not to force our theological beliefs on others, but to stay faithful to scripture’s commands to love God and generously provide for our neighbors’ flourishing, protecting the most vulnerable regardless of whether they share our beliefs (see Matthew 22:36-40).

Dear Christians, Cease-Fire Is Not Surrender

by Adam Russell Taylor 11-02-2023

Demonstrators call for an immediate cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war at New York's Grand Central Station on Oct. 27, 2023. Photo: Kyodo via Reuters Connect

Wars, by their very nature, often force people to choose sides and dehumanize the other side to justify violence. We’ve seen the dangers of this binary here in the U.S. as some student groups in support of Palestinian liberation have wrongfully praised or failed to condemn Hamas’ attacks, while some pro-Israeli groups (including many U.S. Christians) have failed to acknowledge the injustice of the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the severe death toll Israel’s response has inflicted on Gazan civilians. Yet while the powers of the world want us to take a side and declare ourselves fully (and exclusively) pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian, Christian compassion must be freed from favoritism. As peacemakers, we must honor the image of God in every Israeli and every Palestinian.

Jesus Had Adverse Childhood Experiences, Too

by Adam Russell Taylor 10-26-2023
“It is profoundly significant that Jesus was born not in a secure, two-income household but to an unwed teenage mother.”
The illustration shows a semi-transparent person holding a newborn infant on a red, tendril-esque background.

Illustration by Cate Andrews 

I’ll never forget the day my first son was born. Joshua was more than a week late, so my wife’s doctor wanted to induce labor. After a long day of waiting, the nurses convinced me to get a bite to eat because it was likely to be an even longer night. Minutes later, I got a frantic call that my wife, Sharee, was undergoing an emergency cesarean section because Joshua’s heart rate had suddenly plummeted, and his umbilical cord was wrapped around his throat. That day marked the beginning of my journey as a father, the most rewarding and demanding experience of my life. Joshua immediately became the center of our world, as though a huge part of my own heart were living and breathing outside of myself.

The love I feel for my sons is the closest I have felt to God’s unconditional love for everyone. I knew instinctively from the moment I first held my son in my arms that I would do everything possible to ensure that this tiny, fragile person, who was completely dependent on our care, was protected, loved, and able to thrive.

Christians, Don’t Let Abortion Politics Derail Lifesaving AIDS Work

by Adam Russell Taylor 10-19-2023

Young girls with U.S. and Kenya flags wait to greet U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec as he visits a PEPGAR  project for girls' empowerment in Nairobi, Kenya on March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

As is still the case today, bipartisan programs take effort — and bringing PEPFAR to life was no small feat. It required navigating a host of controversial issues such as the use of condoms and perceptions of the disease. It required enlisting the support of social conservatives. It required making an economic, a national security, and a humanitarian argument. It required raising awareness and galvanizing political will.

This Is What a Faith-Based, Pro-Family Agenda Really Looks Like

by Adam Russell Taylor 09-21-2023

Photo by Kadyn Pierce on Unsplash

I’m tired of hearing politicians using “family values” as shorthand for a narrow and often misguided agenda. It is time to broaden and reclaim a truly pro-family agenda to protect and strengthen all families.

6 Warning Signs of Christian Nationalism in US Politics

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-24-2023

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hold their hands over their hearts for the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance at the start of at the first Republican candidates' debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign on August 23, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

While there are some extreme politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) who proudly claim the label, it’s unlikely the top Republican presidential candidates will explicitly embrace Christian nationalism by that name. Instead, voters in the 2024 election will need to be on the lookout for how candidates’ behavior and rhetoric aligns with Christian nationalist ideals and anti-democratic beliefs. Or as Jesus put it: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

Have Christians Stopped Caring About Trump's Indictments?

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-17-2023

A Fulton County Sheriff K-9 officer secures the area outside of the Lewis R. Slaton Courthouse after a Grand Jury brought back indictments against former president Donald Trump and 18 of his allies in their attempt to overturn the state's 2020 election results. REUTERS/Cheney Orr

There’s plenty that concerns me about this latest indictment, including 161 specific acts prosecutors say were intended to obstruct the election, ranging from harassment of election officials to the infamous recorded phone call where Trump tells Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” missing votes. But what’s most bothering me aren’t the details of the indictment; I’m worried that most folks in the U.S., including Christians, are barely paying attention. Meanwhile, Trump remains the front-runner in the the Republican primary, despite the indictments.

Invest in the Earth, Not Fossil Fuels

by Adam Russell Taylor 07-26-2023
The church should play a leading role in supporting eco-friendly investing.
An illustration of a woman with red hair in a blue and white-striped shirt, kneeling down to plant a small tree. Its shadow spreads out into a large, fully-grown tree. Looming power plant silos and oil rig towers cast their shadows behind the girl.

Illustration by Guang Lim

A RELATIVELY NEW front in the culture wars is emanating from the realm of finance: the push to increase financial investments that take into account “environmental, social, and governance” considerations. What is known in the finance industry as ESG has grown considerably over the past decade. According to the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Commitments Database, the amount of wealth divested from fossil fuels worldwide has grown from $52 billion in 2014 to more than $40 trillion last year. But the increased visibility and prominence of ESG investing has triggered a backlash, with at least seven GOP-controlled states enacting anti-ESG policies and 15 others introducing bills to disallow the application of ESG principles in state investments such as pensions.

The anti-ESG push is coming from the usual suspects. Texas is heavily involved, due to the prominence of the fossil fuel industry in the state’s economy. Right-wing groups such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council have also been big promoters of model anti-ESG legislation. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has formed a coalition with more than 20 of his counterparts to challenge the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ability to implement a climate disclosure rule, a case that could end up at the Supreme Court and hobble the executive branch’s ability to interpret and act on congressional statutes. Apparently, many conservative activists and politicians are only champions of the “free market” when it advances their ideological agendas.

When Should Christians Break the Law? Ask Jesus, Not Trump

by Adam Russell Taylor 06-29-2023
A closeup of two men yelling at each other. One is wearing a red hat, the other is in a black and white striped prison suit.

A supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump and an anti-Trump demonstrator argue outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump appeared for his arraignment on June 13, 2023. REUTERS/Marco Bello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

But while we disobey unjust laws to obey the moral laws we have been given by God, there’s a flip side: When human laws do serve the common good or restrain evil, we should obey them.

The Moral and Religious Argument for Affirmative Action

by Adam Russell Taylor 06-22-2023

Harvard Law School graduates react after receiving their degrees during Harvard University’s 372nd Commencement Exercises in Cambridge, Mass. on May 25, 2023. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

I’m proud to say that I benefitted from affirmative action. These policies, sometimes called “race conscious admission policies,” allow colleges and universities to address unequal access to educational opportunities by taking different aspects of a student’s background, including race, into account among other admission factors. But even with affirmative action in place, in 1994 I joined fewer than 25 other Black men in a freshman class of over 1,000 students at Emory University.

Christians Should Denounce Anti-Trans Laws, Not Write Them

by Adam Russell Taylor 06-01-2023
Demonstrators attend a rally for queer and transgender youth rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators attend a rally for queer and transgender youth rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2023, calling for autonomy following recent legislation and threats of violence directed towards transgender people. (Photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto)

I know some Christians do not fully share my theological convictions about gender and sexuality, but on issues of human dignity and civil rights, the church should be firmly united: Transgender and nonbinary siblings are God’s children made in God’s very image and likeness. Prohibiting lifesaving medical care, tolerating discrimination, or denying someone the ability to use their name is wrong; you cannot deny people those rights because you disagree with their beliefs about gender or sexuality. Christians should be standing in the breach in defense of the full humanity, dignity, and rights of their trans siblings.

The Biden Administration Must Do More for Immigrants

by Adam Russell Taylor 05-30-2023
When will the government treat this with the urgency it demands?
An illustration of the Statue of Liberty's torch, completely colored in red. The torch is ripping through a tear in the background, which depicts an aerial view of land plots in a dark blue tint.

Illustration by Candice Evers

WHEN WE LOOK at the record numbers of migrants who are seeking refuge and asylum in the U.S. and the deplorable ways they have often been treated, it’s easy to lose faith. The U.S. immigration system seems so hopelessly broken, and hateful rhetoric and bad faith are so abundant among our politicians, that it can often feel as if there’s nothing we can do to fix it. Yet, if we take seriously both the Hebrew scripture command to welcome the stranger and Jesus’ call to treat migrant people as we would treat him (Matthew 25), then we cannot let ourselves succumb to despair or resignation. People who have been forced to leave dangerous conditions in their home countries to seek asylum are depending on us to not give up fighting for a fairer and more humane immigration and asylum system. Sadly, Congress has lacked sufficient political will to pass the sweeping overhaul of our immigration laws that is so sorely needed.

Jesus Wants Dignity for Migrants. U.S. Policy? Not So Much.

by Adam Russell Taylor 05-18-2023
Shadows fall over migrants who are crossing a river. Their reflections appear in the surface.

Migrants seeking asylum cross the Rio Bravo river to return to Mexico from the U.S. after members of the U.S. Texas National Guard extended razor wire to inhibit migrant crossing on May 13. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Let’s be clear: Neither Title 42 nor Biden’s new policies meet the biblical standard of “welcoming the stranger,” which for us includes thousands of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking refuge from violence and extreme poverty.