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

Our Crisis of Politics and Faith Holds Possibility for Redemption

by Jim Wallis, by Adam Russell Taylor 05-02-2019

The Summit 2018

The election of 2016 and its aftermath have revealed a crisis of politics and faith that continues to get worse in our nation. But the depth of that crisis, now revealed, holds possibility for redemption in our faith, and reform in our nation, that reaches into our churches and local communities.

Christianity's Future Lies in Africa

by Adam Russell Taylor 04-12-2019

A small Christian church at Rift Valley, Kenya. Fed Photography / Shutterstock.com

According to the Pew Center, “if demography is destiny, then Christianity’s future lies in Africa. By 2060, a plurality of Christians – more than four-in-ten – will call sub-Saharan Africa home, up from 26% in 2015.” In 1910 there were 2 million Christians in Africa. Today there are 650 million, with an estimated 200 million evangelicals. The explosive growth of the church across Africa represents a trend that far too few Christians in the West fully understand and that will likely reshape and over time transform the face of Christianity globally. Experiencing the AEA Plaza grand opening and participating in a range of side meetings and conversations over the past three days with African evangelical leaders has left me with greater hope about the future of the evangelical church and the future of Africa.

The Misplaced Moral Priorities in Trump's 2020 Budget Proposal

by Adam Russell Taylor 03-14-2019

Aides place copies President Donald Trump's budget for Fiscal Year 2020 for the House Budget Committee room on Capitol Hill, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Budgets are moral documents: They signal what and who we prioritize and seek to protect or uplift. As Christians we can disagree on many issues, but it should be hard to argue that there is an overriding call in the Bible to demonstrate a particular concern for the poor and prioritize the welfare of the vulnerable. This is the moral test by which we must evaluate every budget, perhaps most importantly the federal budget. Based on this test, the Trump administration’s proposed budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2020 fails miserably and must be rejected.

And the Whole Truth Will Set You Free

by Adam Russell Taylor 02-21-2019

DiAnna Paulk / Shutterstock.com

I left the memorial and museum wondering what will be next? Will my 6- and 8-year-old son’s generation decide to construct memorials to the black men and women who were slain by racialized policing and police violence during the era in which they came of age?

The Shutdown Is Revealing Our National Character

by Adam Russell Taylor 01-24-2019

Employees receive donations at a food distribution center for federal workers impacted by the government shutdown, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Jan. 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

As the federal government shutdown enters a painful second month, the human consequences and costs continue to grow. President Trump’s sham “compromise” over the weekend failed to break the impasse as Democrats continue to hold firm to the principled demand that negotiations over border security take place only after the government is reopened. Today, the Senate is set to vote on this “compromise” as well as a bill that would simply reopen the government for a few weeks to allow serious negotiations without the operations of the government held hostage. The second bill is the one we should urge senators to vote for, though the president and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell are urging Republican senators to vote against it as Trump feels its passage would weaken his negotiating position.

The Good News on Global Poverty

by Adam Russell Taylor 12-19-2018
More than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme destitution.

THE WORLD RECEIVED some very good news in September. The percentage of the global population living in extreme poverty has dropped from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015, the lowest in recorded history. Over this period more than 1 billion people lifted themselves out of the quicksand of extreme poverty.

The Millennium Development Goals, agreed to through the United Nations in 2000, helped galvanize global leadership to cut extreme poverty in half in 15 years, a goal that was achieved a few years early due to remarkable progress in China and India. About half of the world’s countries have reduced extreme poverty below 3 percent.

In 2016, the MDGs were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs represent a more integrated and comprehensive global agenda centered around 17 goals and 169 targets that now apply to every country in the world, not only to developing countries. They combine a commitment to end extreme poverty by the year 2030—especially in countries across sub-Saharan Africa and fragile conflict-affected states where progress has been uneven—with commitments to protect the environment, address climate change, combat inequality, promote peace, and improve governance.

Toward a More Authentic Evangelicalism

by Jim Wallis, by Adam Russell Taylor 10-03-2018

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

In 1971, the movement that became Sojourners was born at an evangelical seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. In 1973, Sojourners worked with Evangelicals for Social Action in a gathering Ron Sider convened, again in Chicago, which produced a document called the "Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern."

What Does It Profit ...? The Faustian Bargain in Full Display at Trump's Evangelical Dinner

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-29-2018

President Donald Trump speaks at a dinner to honor evangelical leadership in the State Dining Room at the White House. Aug. 27, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

What does it profit to gain the whole world but to lose your own soul? —Matthew 16:26. Is there anything more applicable today than these familiar words of a poor Palestinian Jew who conquered sin, injustice, and death on our behalf? We should take note that our savior had a consistent habit of critiquing and challenging the hypocrisy and corruption that he saw displayed by the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of his time.

No, We Didn't 'Win' the War on Poverty. But Here's How We Can

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-02-2018

This year’s 50th Anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign provides a critical moment for our nation and people of faith and conscience to pause and conduct a moral scan of our nation’s progress in combatting poverty in America. Despite some progress, poverty in America remains deeply entrenched.

Protecting the Vote in the Name of Faith

by Adam Russell Taylor 07-12-2018
Lawyers and Faith Communities work together to end voter suppression.

The purpose of Lawyers and Collars is to equip and empower pastors and local church leaders to work alongside lawyers to protect vulnerable citizens at voting precincts. Together, we can provide a legal and moral presence against voter suppression, intimidation, and harassment that are expected to rise in the 2018 midterm elections. The campaign welcomes the involvement of imams, rabbis, and other faith leaders.

At What Cost to Our Soul?

by Adam Russell Taylor 06-26-2018

Sojourners is encouraging more communities of faith to hold vigils around the country. We are calling on clergy, faith-based organizations, and Christians everywhere to lift up prayers and candles as a recommitment to the light that can hold back these dark times.

A Sojourners Homecoming

by Adam Russell Taylor 03-29-2018

Image via Sojourners

Here at Sojourners, we are excited to share that Rev. Adam Taylor has returned to the organization to serve as Executive Director. Both Adam and Sojourners Founder Jim Wallis shared some reflections on this transition in a recent columnwelcoming Adam back, and we also wanted Adam to offer a few words with you, our beloved community of supporters.

"Cautious Optimism" in South Africa

by Adam Russell Taylor 03-26-2018
Young Christian activists see promise in the nation's leadership change.

THE LONG-OVERDUE transition of power in South Africa this winter, from President Jacob Zuma to Cyril Ramaphosa, has sparked a resurgence of hope among younger church activists in the country. Zuma’s nine years in office were catastrophic to South Africa’s politics and social fabric through entrenched corruption and state capture. Zuma and his cronies enriched themselves while the economy stumbled, with unemployment now above 27 percent and schools and health care in an increasing state of crisis.

While Ramaphosa’s election by the National Assembly has inspired hope, an awakening less heralded and potentially more significant long term has been taking place across the church in South Africa. The theology of hope and liberation that helped fuel the anti-apartheid struggle played a formative role in shaping the public theology of many in the U.S. and around the world. Now a new generation of South African Christian activists is on the cutting edge of social transformation.

In the aftermath of Zuma’s resignation, a handful of these leaders addressed the catalytic role the church has played in shifting the political winds in South Africa and their hope for the future.

Another Sojourn: The Work Ahead

by Adam Russell Taylor 03-08-2018

Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala. Photo by Wayne Taylor / Flickr

I return to Sojourners — nearly a decade since I served as the Senior Political Director, and after a great deal of prayerful discernment — inspired by the courage and boldness of a new generation of young activists. The protests and activism of the Black Lives Matter movement has forced the issue of racialized policing and police violence onto the public agenda. Student survivors of the horrific massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this past Ash Wednesday continue to speak out with such moral clarity about the need to address the fraudulent and pernicious state of gun violence in our nation. Dreamers are reframing the narrative and debate around immigration with their personal testimonies and bold advocacy to expand opportunity and justice, not simply for themselves but for all immigrants in this nation.

How Would Jesus Respond to Famine?

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-10-2017

A woman holding her young malnourished baby queues for food at the Badbado camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Photo via United Nations Photo / Flickr.com

Buried beneath daily headlines dominated over the past year by the Russia investigation, Brexit, and the impasse over health care lies an escalating humanitarian crisis that should be breaking our hearts and assaulting our consciences: More than 20 million people’s lives hang in the balance due to a mounting famine in Yemen, South Sudan, northern Nigeria, and Somalia.

Making Common Cause with the New Freedom Fighters

by Adam Russell Taylor 12-10-2014
Michele Paccione / Shutterstock.com

Michele Paccione / Shutterstock.com

Our nation stands at a crossroads moment as the simmering crisis around policing and our justice system reaches a boiling point. Recent cases of police violence in Ferguson, Cleveland, and now Staten Island have stirred an awakening around what is increasingly understood as a pervasive and pernicious problem in America in which black lives are too often treated differently when it comes to police accountability and criminal justice.

Last week, I had the privilege of participating in a retreat with other faith leaders convened by Sojourners to learn about and make common cause with the ongoing efforts to seek justice in the tragic death of Michael Brown Jr. We spent a day talking to local faith leaders and young activists. We visited the memorial site in Ferguson where Brown was tragically killed and the streets where 120-plus days of protest have ensued. While it was heart-wrenching to stand and pray at the site where Brown was killed, I left the two days filled with a resilient sense of hope based on our conversations and interactions with a cross section of young people, most in their early to mid-20s, who embody modern-day freedom fighters. I hope we as a nation can listen to their voices and come to know their stories as we seek answers around what our response should be.

Young activists at the center of the protest movement in Ferguson are refusing to accept cosmetic change or symbolic commitments; instead they are fighting to transform their community and our nation so that neither punishment nor privilege will be systemically or viciously tied to the color of our skin. In the process, these young activists are picking up the broken pieces of the civil rights struggle. Their courage, willingness to sacrifice, and bold vision gave me a great deal of hope for what America can be.

Why I Will Be Marching on Washington and Why You Should Too

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-23-2013
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

March on Washington, 1963, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

I will march on Saturday because I refuse to allow my two sons to be treated as statistics or a stereotypes rather than as children of God. I will march because overly aggressive policing tactics that overly rely upon racial profiling make a mockery of Dr. King’s dream that every child will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.   

I will march because the recent repeal of section four of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court jeopardizes the voting rights of millions of Americans across the country, particularly in southern states where new barriers to this sacred right are already being erected. 

I will march because based on national statistics, my two black boys face a one in three chance of spending some time of their lives behind bars, a disturbing and destructive reality that has been made possible in part by mandatory drug sentencing laws that must be reevaluated and changed.  

Balancing our Budget through Humility, Shared Sacrifice, and Hope

by Adam Russell Taylor 03-28-2013
Dome inside the U.S. Capitol Building, gary718 / Shutterstock.com

Dome inside the U.S. Capitol Building, gary718 / Shutterstock.com

This week a large number of Americans are celebrating Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday. Churches will be packed with both the regulars as well as the once- or twice-a-year worshippers for the "Super Bowl of Sundays" to celebrate Christ’s victory over death and sin and his glorious resurrection.    

In the midst of an exasperating and polarized political debate around the U.S. budget, our national and political leaders can learn valuable lessons from Holy Week. Whatever your faith background may be, we could all benefit from a greater commitment to the humility, shared sacrifice, and hope that Holy Week embodies. An extra dose of humility, sacrifice, and, ultimately, hope represent the balm that could bridge many of our ideological differences and resolve the current political impasse around the budget that has paralyzed our political system and divided the nation.

Achieving an AIDS-free Generation by Healing the International Village

by Adam Russell Taylor 08-03-2012
HIV / AIDS icon illustration, Cienpies Design / Shutterstock.com

HIV / AIDS icon illustration, Cienpies Design / Shutterstock.com

I wonder what would happen if the daily barrage of negative, misleading political campaign ads were replaced just for a day by a one-minute clip from the opening ceremony of the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., last week.  

This replacement ad would feature a beautiful, regal woman from Nigeria sharing a heartfelt and poignant ‘thank you’ to the American people for literally saving her life by providing access to antiretroviral drugs — medicine that creates a modern-day “Lazarus effect” in people whose immune systems have been ravaged by AIDS — and also ensures that her daughter was born HIV-free. I wish every member of Congress could have heard these words, a ‘thank you’ that echoes what many nations in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing as they work to turn the tide of this deadly disease.  

This one mother and child from Nigeria are only a snapshot of the millions of lives that have been transformed by American generosity and leadership through life-saving investments in the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria — which have increased the number of Africans on treatment from a shameful 50,000 in 2002 to more than 4 million today. 

Post G20, Let's Not Forget the "Other" 99 Percent in the Developing World

by Adam Russell Taylor 11-09-2011
Children in the Kenyan village of Asembo Bay are the 99 percent!

Children in the Kenyan village of Asembo Bay are the 99 percent!

Right now, in cities around the world, there is a growing protest movement putting the issue of economic inequality squarely on the public agenda. Regardless how you feel about this movement, I believe there is another "99 percent" we need the G20 – and urgently Congressional leaders – to remember and prioritize.

Nearly 8 million children under the age of five die every year due to preventable malnutrition and disease. But they are not dying in the United States, Germany or here in France.  

According to research by World Vision’s Child Health Now campaign, 99 percent of those entirely preventable deaths take place in developing countries. The 99 percent of the children that die under the age of 5 are too often invisible and don't have a voice at major global summits such as the G20 or in the corridors of Congress. These children constitute the real and too often forgotten 99 percent.