“I wanted for us to do in the political realm, in the political advocacy realm, what we do in the church. … We pay attention to poor people, we pay attention to injustice, we pay attention to those who are sick, we pay attention to the environment, because it’s God’s gift of creation and so on and so forth. So I wanted to expand the issue base … because Christ was not just about morality, Christ was about compassion.”
“Frankly, one of the ways that you provoke the most response from people is through anger and through fear. It raises a bunch of money. It raises the level of exposure. And so there are practical reasons for just focusing on a few issues because that’s how you get the largest constituency active.”
And if that weren’t enough, The Washington Post reports that he’s “in favor of tackling global warming, increasing the minimum wage and opposing the death penalty.” Kind of makes you wonder how the Christian Coalition ever nominated this guy in the first place.
I agree with Becky Garrison’s recent post that despite the conservative outcry that forced his resignation, Rev. Hunter’s candidacy alone is a ray of hope in Christian political engagement–especially his assessment that there is a growing consitutuency with his broader justice perspective–a consitutuency whose existence the Right and even many journalists constantly question. Figures like Rev. Hunter proove: We’re here. We’re sincere. Get used to it.
But it’s those same tired critics on the Right that are taking Rick Warren to task for–gasp–inviting Democratic Senator Barack Obama to speak at an AIDS conference. Somehow their concern for the “sanctity of life” does not include those suffering and dying from AIDS, making Obama’s position on the legality of abortion the only “life” issue that matters. The ABC report quotes a Warren e-mail to supporters in which he says, “Jesus loved and accepted others without approving of everything they did. That’s our position too, but it upsets a lot of people … “
Well, I hope that folks like Rev. Hunter and Rick Warren continue to upset people by being boldly compassionate, and engaging the political process to make a positive difference.
Ryan Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.