President
 
Rev. Adam Russell Taylor is president of Sojourners and author of Mobilizing Hope: Faith-Inspired Activism for a Post Civil Rights Generation. Follow him on Twitter @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 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.

Posts By This Author

It’s Time to Be the Conscience of American Politics

President Joe Biden addresses the nation after his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Pool/File Photo

I believe fervently in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that “the church is not called to be the master or servant of the state, but to be the conscience of the state.” In that vein, we will be neither chaplain nor sycophant to our new political leaders. Instead, we seek to be a faithful conscience, serving as a bridge-builder and offering prophetic critique (and pressure) when necessary.

Accountability Is a Prerequisite for Healing

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-14-2021

The U.S. Capitol stands as Democratic lawmakers draw up an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Jan. 11, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

I have been filled with a divine rage since armed insurrectionists, instigated by the president, violently sieged our Capitol last week. There must be accountability. In one move toward that, 10 Republicans joined all 222 House Democrats in voting that President Donald Trump incited an insurrection. He is now the only U.S. president to be impeached twice. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and the nine other Republicans who joined her described their vote to impeach as a vote of “conscience.” Invoking that word made me thing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s wisdom—

The President Must Be Removed

by Adam Russell Taylor, by Jim Wallis 01-07-2021

President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign rally in Valdosta, Ga., Dec. 5, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

As faith leaders, we must call for the immediate removal of Donald Trump from office. There is great danger in the hands of a morally deranged president: the threat of martial law, his ongoing efforts to overturn a free and fair election, the potential of politically conceived war, and the unique danger of his destructive hands on the nuclear codes.

The Deadly Consequences of a Toxic Presidency

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-06-2021

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump protest in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Today we witnessed with shock and moral outrage that our democracy is fragile and in peril. Today we saw an assault on our democracy. We saw a violent insurrection turn what is normally a quiet but sacred procedure to certify electoral votes and ensure a peaceful transfer of power into a dangerous spectacle of sedition and political malfeasance.

Bridging the Political Gap In A Divided Nation

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-04-2021
How we get from polarization to the common good.
Illustration of two people building a bridge from both sides of a canyon.

Illustration by Jackson Joyce

IN HIS FIRST speech as president-elect, Joe Biden outlined four priorities his incoming administration plans to address: systemic racism, the COVID-19 crisis, climate change, and economic hardship and recovery. I am encouraged not just by the breadth of policy detail and ambition in his Build Back Better platform but also by the radically different narrative for the nation and its future. These four pillars should resonate for people across the diversity of the church, and they will require that we generate significant political will, urgency, and accountability within the new administration and Congress to achieve progress on these priorities and more. Along with policy reforms, we also face an imperative to renew our broken and toxic political culture.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus proclaims, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). This profound truth is relevant for the church and for the nation.

Affirmations for the Year to Come

by Adam Russell Taylor 12-29-2020

A few years ago I stopped making New Year’s resolutions and replaced them with what I call New Year’s affirmations. Resolutions can often feel like weights that cause you to sink under pressure and expectation rather than as flotation devises to lift you up in attaining your hopes and aspirations. Building on what has worked for me personally, I want to share some affirmations for our nation and world as well as for Sojourners work and mission in 2021.

How To Save 100,000 Lives

by Adam Russell Taylor 12-03-2020

A pedestrian passes a notice for the Revival International Center (Centro Internacional de Avivamiento) food pantry, in Chelsea, Mass. July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The U.S. set two disturbing records on Wednesday with more than 200,000 new coronavirus infections reported nationwide and 100,000 patients hospitalized in just one day. This brings the nation’s total to 14 million coronavirus cases and 272,000 fatalities since February. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said yesterday that the next three months are “going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”

The Next Part of the Race

by Jim Wallis, by Adam Russell Taylor 11-18-2020
Adam Russell Taylor succeeds Jim Wallis as Sojourners enters 50th year

Jim Wallis, left, and Adam Russell Taylor

For Adam, for coming home to Sojourners, for giving us the right person at the right time for this great transition, I am grateful. And I look forward to the road ahead for all of us.

For This Vulnerable Nation, Lord, Hear Our Prayer

by Jim Wallis, by Adam Russell Taylor 11-12-2020

Yesterday our nation saw 144,000 new COVID-19 cases, a staggering and heart- wrenching number, particularly as our nation tries to turn a corner after such a bruising election. While we both felt an overwhelming sense of relief and hope when news broke Saturday that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared winners of the election, events of the past few days show that this continues to be a season for fervent prayer, vigilance, and, if necessary, faithful action.

Reading Isaiah as the Nation Waits

by Adam Russell Taylor 11-04-2020

Poll workers process absentee ballots the night of Election Day at Milwaukee Central Count in Milwaukee, Nov. 3, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan

It was a fitful night of what I can only generously describe as sleep. Maybe you can relate. I drifted off to sleep early, only to be awakened at midnight by my wife, who had received the latest election alert on her phone. My 7- and 9-year-old sons were also one edge almost all Election Day, worried about my day trip to Philadelphia and showing an uncanny degree of interest in the constant news coverage.

Be Calm. Be Vigilant.

by Adam Russell Taylor, by Jim Wallis 11-03-2020

Voters line up outside a polling location at the Church of Saint Luke & The Epiphany on Election Day in Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 2020. Photo by Ben Von Klemperer / Shutterstock

Nearly 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots. It’s a staggering and hopeful number that makes this Election Day unlike any other. Today, the nation decides whether it will follow the path to a more inclusive, multiracial democracy — or spiral further into the violent abyss of white supremacy. Today we decide what kind of nation we want to become.

Democracy Is on the Ballot

by Adam Russell Taylor 10-29-2020

A person casts his ballot for the upcoming presidential election during early voting in Sumter, S.C., Oct. 9, 2020. REUTERS/Micah Green/File Photo

Racism is on the ballot next week. Democracy is on the ballot next week. These two things two are inextricably linked because racism has disfigured American democracy from the founding of our nation. The road to a more perfect union has been long and uneven. And this road requires that we continually become a more perfect democracy and more just nation. And while our democracy will never be perfect, we must continually defend the rights, institutions, and laws that help safeguard our freedoms and advance the common good. Increasingly this election represents a test of whether we embrace and will work to realize a truly inclusive, multiracial democracy with liberty and justice for all.

Can We Find Emmanuel During a Pandemic?

by Adam Russell Taylor 10-21-2020
Silver linings worth fighting for.
Illustration by Jackson Joyce

Illustration by Jackson Joyce

In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he writes, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). This passage can easily be misconstrued to mean that adversity and hardship are ordained by God. A more faithful interpretation is that God can generate good out of even terrible circumstances. In light of this eternal truth, throughout this troubling year I have found hope and resilience by discovering silver linings in the midst of uncertainty and anguish.

One of the most important blessings has been extra, uninterrupted time with my family. A frenetic travel schedule in the spring came to a screeching halt in March, and I haven’t been on a plane since. My daily two-hour commute to my kids’ school and to work also vanished. I have tried to pour much of this precious gift into my family, particularly as my two young sons adjusted to the new COVID reality, including virtual classes that tested all our sanity. Our family spent the early months of the pandemic playing many games together and watching every Marvel movie made and our favorite kid-appropriate sports movies, from Remember the Titans to Miracle to 42.

When One Part Suffers, the U.S. Looks Away

by Adam Russell Taylor 10-08-2020

Workers wearing protective suits bury a coffin at the Muslim burial area provided by the government for victims COVID-19 at Pondok Ranggon cemetery complex in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

Pope Francis has a penchant for impeccable, maybe even providential timing. His encyclical Laudato Si’ came out just months before the 2015 Paris climate summit and played a key role in influencing public opinion and galvanizing political will behind bolder climate action to protect “our common home.” Now, less than a month before the most consequential U.S. election in generations, the pope’s new encyclical provides a powerful rebuke to a politics of division, fear, and hate while also casting a vision for the human family that is deeply relevant to applying our faith to U.S. leadership in the world.

In the Event of a Tainted Election, the Faith Community Must Rise Up

Faithful citizenship sometimes requires that we withdraw our consent and cooperation.

Illustration by Tyler Comrie

THE RIGHT TO VOTE, a foundation of our democracy and a fundamental attribute of citizenship, is under serious threat. In recent years, attacks on the integrity of the electoral system—the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, disinformation campaigns, foreign interference, and more—have weakened its overall infrastructure and cast doubt upon its results. Now we’re seeing repeated attempts, through propaganda and other means, to further undermine the system and discredit in advance the results of the 2020 election.

The president has attempted to co-opt real concerns about the upcoming election, claiming without evidence that it might be “stolen” as a result of fraud tied to vote-by-mail. His efforts deflect attention away from the ways that voter suppression efforts already underway pose a real danger, both to people seeking to exercise their hard-won right to vote and to the integrity of the electoral system itself.

As many have pointed out, there are numerous ways internal or external forces could call the results of the election into question: declaring a state of emergency that disrupts voting, delaying Election Day, interference by hostile foreign powers, tampering with voting machines or databases, and more. All of these represent legitimate threats, but perhaps the most likely scenario is that rampant voter suppression tactics impede enough voters in key battleground states to alter the presidential election outcome and which party controls Congress.

No Justice for Breonna Taylor: The Indictment Didn't Even #SayHerName

by Adam Russell Taylor 09-24-2020

A memorial for Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. Picture taken September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Breonna Taylor’s name didn’t even appear in Wednesday’s indictment against Hankison, which raises alarming questions about what case the attorney general made to defend the value of her life. The decision exposes the value gap in our justice system that so often dismisses and degrades the value of Black life and treats police recklessness and misconduct with impunity. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron failed to explain why Hankison felt it was necessary to shoot wildly and blindly into the apartment from the parking lot or the details around how this seemingly faulty no-knock warrant was obtained and executed in the first place.

In Our Flawed Democracy, Voting Is a Renewable Resource

by Adam Russell Taylor 09-17-2020

A pedestrian in Milwaukee, Wisconsin passes a sign urging people to vote. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

When we say the upcoming election is the most consequential election in our lifetime, it is not hyperbole or political spin, but a reflection of  just how stark the choices have become and the perilous nature of the crises that our communities, our nation, and our world faces.

Finding Our Spiritual Vibranium

by Adam Russell Taylor 09-03-2020
A Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

This season of inescapable Black death has been on a traumatizing repeat cycle — from the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on our community to the senseless and brutal deaths at the hands of police violence — so in that moment my mind and spirit couldn’t process or take another loss, particularly of a Black man who embodied such regal strength and aspirational hope.

This Gets Worse: What Happens If Congress Fails to Act on Pandemic Relief

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-06-2020

The U.S. Capitol is seen behind a fence in Washington, July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott

We must continue to demand that our elected officials secure a deal that adequately helps all who need it, especially as current reporting suggests that the two sides are still far apart on what should be in the final bill.

Trump's Dangerous Election Rhetoric

President Donald Trump speaks to the news media at the White House, July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

This morning President Trump posted the following unconscionable tweet regarding our upcoming election that dishonors Congressman Lewis’ legacy and poses a direct threat to our democracy:

With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???