God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Faithful Work Both Sides of the Aisle

posted by God's Politics

On Monday night, we saw the three Democratic front-runners for the presidential nomination deal with questions about faith in a comfortable way. They showed that faith is both personal and real for them.
When John Edwards spoke of how he and his wife Elizabeth were actually “dysfunctional” for a time after the tragic death of their son, and how only “the Lord” got him through that – nobody on either side of the political aisle could have doubted the authenticity. After what many thought was an inappropriate question about Hillary Clinton’s marriage, the Senator responded with a spiritual depth and maturity that deeply impressed everyone who was watching – even her political enemies. The questions about faith, as they often do, ended up revealing more of the honest humanity of these candidates than we often see, and took them off their stump speeches.
But at the same time, and very significantly, these three Senators showed an easy capacity to connect their personal faith with the great moral and public issues of the day – to poverty in particular, to criminal justice, to immigration, health care, energy, and even to the problems of good and evil, and war and peace. John Edwards said his faith compels him to spend the rest of his life seeking to end poverty, Barack Obama insightfully argued how believing God to be on your side is so dangerous in making foreign policy decisions, and Hillary Clinton, in response to a question from a representative from Catholic Charities, showed a deep understanding of the religious notion of “the common good” and applied it to what good political leadership requires.
Several political pundits and media commentators described the forum as “unprecedented” or “groundbreaking.” And I think it might well have been for two big reasons. First, the presidential forum on “faith, values, and poverty” clearly showed that faith is alive and well on both sides of the political aisle, and that God is, indeed, not a Republican or Democrat. It served to help “level the playing field” on faith and politics, where the Republicans have enjoyed a decided advantage for several decades now. Second, it clearly moved the faith and politics debate far beyond the narrow two-issue agenda of abortion and gay marriage, which have for so long been “the religious issues.”
This time the religious issues focused in on the fundamental biblical issues at stake in how we treat the poor. And the traditional hot-button issues were even brought in, with a very thoughtful exchange between evangelical pastor Joel Hunter and Hillary Clinton on how we might actually find some needed common ground on the divisive matter of abortion. But this time religion focused on social justice and that was a welcome relief from the discussion over many years now.
All this holds great promise for the future. And I am convinced that the discussion of faith and politics, religion and public life, will be a very different one – and far better one – in the election cycle of 2008 than it has been for a very long time. That broader conversation, with both sides participating fully, will better for the country, for politics, and for the faith community.
This commentary also appeared as part of the Washington Post/Newsweek On Faith online discussion.



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TLB

posted June 7, 2007 at 7:35 pm


Here’s a question for Wallis or his remaining followers. Won’t the amnesty he supports increase the numbers of people trying to come here illegally, and won’t that increase the numbers of border deaths as many don’t make it? How can Wallis oppose border deaths, yet advocate policies that will increase the numbers of border deaths? Is it that he doesn’t really care, or that he’s simply unqualified to understand everything involved in this issue?>



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Don

posted June 7, 2007 at 8:42 pm


TLB: Amnesty (as you call it) or not, the numbers of people trying to come here will increase. The reason they come is economic desperation, not US politics. Rev. Wallis’ proposal, like all those who support compassionate immigration reform, includes a provision to allow people to enter the US legally as guest workers. Until and unless economic conditions improve in the places where they are from, that’s the best option for taking pressure off the border and limiting the number of border deaths. I think Rev. Wallis understands that quite well. Peace,>



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TLB

posted June 7, 2007 at 10:18 pm


Actually, Don, I don’t know whether Wallis is just ignorant or whether he’s corrupt. I note also that, while billions of people *want* to come here, that doesn’t mean we have to let them and that we shouldn’t try to avoid encouraging them. Wallis’ scheme will encourage even more illegal immigration, resulting in even more of the downsides he pretends to oppose, such as border deaths. If Wallis wanted to actually prevent border deaths, there are only two ways: either completely open the borders and give full citizenship to anyone who comes here, or strictly enforce our immigration laws. The first will never happen, of course. On the other hand, if we strictly enforced our immigration laws, many fewer would try to come here, many of those here now would go home and pressure their governments to reform, and there would be less of an economic impact on our own low-wage workers, many fewer illegal aliens living 30 to an apartment, and many fewer border deaths. Plus, the Mexican government would be forced to reform instead of sending us people in order to profit and in order to avoid reforms. I encourage Wallis’ remaining parishioners to look at the big picture and the bottom line, and then decide for themselves whether Wallis is right or wrong.>



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Mark Gordon

posted June 7, 2007 at 10:48 pm


these three Senators showed an easy capacity to connect their personal faith with the great moral and public issues of the day. But not, of course, to the issue of abortion, which doesn’t merit inclusion in the list of “great moral and public issues of the day.” In that sense, the event was a perfect reflection of its sponsoring organization.>



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JimII

posted June 7, 2007 at 11:05 pm


Mark, What did Jesus say about abortion? What did Jesus say about dealing with the poor? What did Jesus say about gay marriage? What did Jesus say about peace? Shake off the hold the pharisees of our day and read the words of Jesus Christ. Do not let the establishment church deprive you of salvation. Jesus called us to living a life of sacrifice for others. Working to help others. Jesus would have reduced abortion by reducing poverty. How do I know? Because I’ve read the Bible for myself. I challenge you to do the same. Open your heart and look at what the scriptures tell you. I doubt very much you can do that and come to the conclusion that attacking woman making the most excruciating decision of their lives is the conclusion you come to.>



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JimII

posted June 7, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Don, It’s about economics. People will come here as long as employers are allowed to employ them. Is the unemployment rate high? No it isn’t. That is because the people coming here from south of the border are not taking anyone’s job. We have too much work and too few people. Making a class of people illegal is what is causing the deaths in the desert. I read somewhere about how you were supposed to treat the stranger in your land, about how you were supposed to treat the thirsty.>



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Blake

posted June 7, 2007 at 11:17 pm


JimmII, do tell… What did Jesus have to say about politics, parties, and Washington, D.C.? Tell us how Jesus supported political parties and encouraged the state to take care of the widows and orphans.>



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Don

posted June 7, 2007 at 11:24 pm


TLB: Wrong on two counts: “If Wallis wanted to actually prevent border deaths, there are only two ways: either completely open the borders and give full citizenship to anyone who comes here, or strictly enforce our immigration laws.” 1. Giving guest worker status does not require giving “full citizenship.” 2. Strict enforcement is not working and it can’t work. We’ve tried that more than once. Money spent for enforcement has increased astronomically since the late 1980s. Likewise the number of border patrol agents. It hasn’t stopped people from trying to come in. In fact, the numbers have increased. The *only* thing that will slow down the migration is an improvement in the local economies in Mexico, Guatemala, etc. This is something we don’t have a lot of direct control over (though there are a few things we could do to help). JimII: “Making a class of people illegal is what is causing the deaths in the desert.” I completely agree. Peace,>



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Mick Sheldon

posted June 7, 2007 at 11:27 pm


Jim II Jesus talked about murder , in fact he brought the topic in regards to even if you have something against another in your heart you are committing it . Adultry to even if you have Lust . . He also did not advocate stealing , clearly you can understand taking something from another person to give to another could be looked upon that way . You can call it an investment , taxes , or whatever , if it is done discrimately and based on Paris Hilton stereotypes , well it is getting closer to theft . Be careful Jim in the way you look at other views , Shake off the hold the pharisees of our day indeed , the appearance of the left sometimes to me looks like they are using the sin of covetous to attack people for their wealth . Is that the example of Christ from the left ? The example of the left of the wealthy is often Paris Hilton , it is never the guy who worked 60 hours a week , came to this country legally for a new life and opportunity , was supported by his family and ended up hiring people and giving them a way to make a living . Nothing wrong with the government helping , but basing your views on people who are evil because they are wealthy , and using that as an excuse to take from them in a higher percentage , well don’t count Christ in on those politics either . I am not wealthy , and I guess I could have been more so then I am . I never considered my self poor , but according to povertyy levels we were at one time . But I never understood when i got a better income or was living with mour lesser one , of the mentality that blamed people who were better off then I for my lack of resources . There is a disconnet , not a a better Christian then you mentality that you promote . The values you are promoting do not connet with my understanding of what Christ tautht , or the Bible . The whole Bible is important by the way , Jesus told us that too .>



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ecclectic

posted June 7, 2007 at 11:40 pm


Jim and SJ: If you study the photographs and videos from the forum, it’s obvious that Jim and his party at SJ are in the Obama camp. Jim is highlighted next to Barack and Barack seems to always be the first and most prominent face of the SJ agenda. I’m really not satisfied with what I smell going on at SJ; it seems that you guys are fast becoming nothing more than a christianized political action committee. It would also be nice for Jim to respond to at least some of my concerns, rather than simply ignoring them or being silent. That’s rude.>



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Father Mike Van Cleve

posted June 8, 2007 at 2:41 pm


I found the evening veryproductive. It showed that one party did not have a monopoly on God. It was most heartening.



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Jetteye

posted June 8, 2007 at 3:40 pm


I, too, was very heartened by this program and had a sort of mini-Watch Party with a few friends. Thanks be to God the response has generally been positive in the way Rev. Wallis describes in his article, but for a different take (and a very disappointing one, to me)see: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/orl-thomas0707jun07,0,7850614.story



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Jones from Texas

posted June 8, 2007 at 3:52 pm


While I am a big fan of Sojourners and Rev. Wallis, I am concerned that Sojourners has choosen to largely ignore the second hour of CNN’s “Faith and Politics’ presentation which included Paula Zahn’s interviews of Sen. Biden, Gov. Richardson, Sen. Dodd and Congressman Kucinich about the meaning of faith in their lives. The three candidates Sojourners chose to put on the stage are not the only ones in the race, nor are they the only ones many of us are interested in. If we really want to know how faith impacts these candidates’ lives in our quest to educate ourselves about who these people really are and what makes them tick, then we need to be fair and at least acknowledge that the other candidates are indeed persons of faith who are also unafraid to talk about it.



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Bill Both

posted June 8, 2007 at 3:55 pm


I am glad that this event took place and that I could share it with others at a house party.
I was, however, VERY disappointed that there were NO questions asked about the Millenium Development Goals and the failure of the Developed World to live up to the commitments it made at Monterrey (2002) and Gleneagles (2005).
If even the leaders of this movement do not care enough about attaining the MDGs to make it one of their first questions, especially as the G8 are meeting, why should the politicians care?



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Clark Whitney

posted June 8, 2007 at 4:22 pm


I appreciated the attempt at interviews with the Democratic candidates but was disappointed by the time limitations inherent in the format. Fifteen minutes was NOT long enough to get adequate responses to the important questions, especially when those answering them are politicians. I’d like to see these candidates each respond to appropriate relevant questions for at least two hours. After all, they will be asking for the reigns of our nation for four to eight years. We need to hear more from them.



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paul dribin

posted June 8, 2007 at 4:31 pm


I found the evening very important. However, I do not think it appropriate to question candidates or anyone about how they pray, whether God answers etc. What if they don’t have a personal faith but do outstanding work to end poverty?



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Steve

posted June 8, 2007 at 4:34 pm


Jim Wallis has said that the Republicans have enjoyed an advantage for decades in the faith department. Is it just possible that they have enjoyed that advantage because they actually believed, and did not have to create a faith that did not exist. In watching the Democratic candidates, it seems that they are swimming in uncharted waters when they talk about faith. Their party and its far-left contingent have been so hostile to people of faith, especially Christians, that the candidates have to walk a tightrope to avoid offending the far-left.
I hope the forum you held signals a change in their direction, such that people of faith will not be dismissed a kooks and wackos, as they have been in the past.



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ron

posted June 8, 2007 at 4:36 pm


The title of this commentary is ‘Faithful Work on both sides of the Aisle’. I was expecting to hear from both sides of the aisle, yet, one side of the aisle is represented. Can someone explain the new definition of ‘both sides of the aisle’?



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David Giesen

posted June 8, 2007 at 6:39 pm


It’s not for me to question the very personal succor faith has played in the lives of the candidates, but where public policy and faith intersect, theological scrutiny and critical reflection and analysis must be relentlessly brought to bear lest priestly rhetoric perpetuate mistruths.
That the material universe is not man-made is a truth. That the material universe does not specially exist for some is a truth.
I’m impatiently waiting for the communities of faith to challenge all candidates for office to explain why they do not endorse treating the economic value of the material universe, including urban and industrial land sites) as public revenue? Where is the hard questioning around property rights? Who owns one’s labor? Who owns the product of one’s labor? Who owns the earth and its value?
David Giesen http://www.commonwealth1234.org



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kevin s.

posted June 8, 2007 at 7:08 pm


“Can someone explain the new definition of ‘both sides of the aisle’?”
The monologue is over. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson no longer speak for Christians. Jesus talked about the least of these.



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Reese Danley-Kilgo

posted June 8, 2007 at 8:39 pm


A longtime supporter of Sojourners, I could not believe it when I learned that Jim Wallis was inviting only the three “top contenders” (read that “the richest”)and ignoring the others, especial Kucinich and Gravel, the two most strongly for helping the poor, for social justice, for peace!
Joan Chittister, in her article below, expresses my opinion exactly of the TV program itself.
“The questions not only completely missed the mark, they trivialized the very subject they purported to talk about.
“How do you pray?” they asked Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards on national TV. “What’s the biggest sin you’ve ever committed?” the interviewer wanted to know. “Do you believe in evolution?” she asked, “And if so are the churches that believe in it wrong?” she prodded. “What got you through marital infidelity?” she went on. “Is this a Christian nation?” she asked while millions of people listened for right answers with bated breath.
“It was not a local faith sharing group we were watching. It was part of the televised process of electing a president in the United States of America.
“So where were the rest of the questions? Like: Do you sleep at night knowing that the longer you do nothing about ending the war in Iraq that more people will die? Or, does it bother your conscience that the more money we spend on war, the more children in this country will go without food or education or medicine? Or, do you ever pray that we’ll start spending money on child care so women won’t feel a need to have an abortion? Or, do you ever ask God to forgive you for supporting torture in the name of security?”
These are the important questions that all of the candidates should answer. THEN we might know more about their true religious values.



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Rev. Ian Alterman

posted June 8, 2007 at 8:43 pm


Although Steve suggests that the Democratic candidates are “swimming in uncharted waters when they talk about faith,” at least John Edwards had no problem in this regard. In fact, am I the only one who noticed that he was the only candidate, in either hour, to actually refer – completely comfortably – to “Jesus,” “Christ” and “Lord?”
I am not suggesting that this should be some sort of “litmus test” for one’s faith; some are more comfortable “witnessing” and discussing their faith than others. However, it is at least mildly troubling to me that none of the other candidates could bring themselves to be as honest and forthright about their faith as Mr. Edwards was.
Blessings and Peace.



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richard masur

posted June 8, 2007 at 8:54 pm


A commenter observed that Republicans “…actually believed and didn’t have to create a faith that didn’t exist.” [Citing the Democrats.] This exempifies the problem perfectly. The presumption that one can “judge” the sufficiency of somebody else’s faith is bound to create friction and confusion. Better to observe the activities of a person in regard to social justice as a measurement of their faith.



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JH

posted June 8, 2007 at 9:27 pm


We are so grateful that Sojoourners opened the topic of faith in our political discussions. Thank you! (Note, we said “faith” and not just “religion.”) More of the questioning, however, needed to focus on not only their personal faith, but how that faith influences their approach to politics and the common good. And we were disappointed that we did not get to hear ALL the Democratic candidates who also have a right to be heard. Our biggest disappointment, however, was with Paula Zahn’s segment that was a regurgitation of the same old questions that we heard last round – abortion, homosexuality, etc. Let’s move on! There are other moral issues like war, poverty, global warming, genocide, immigration, etc.
A good start, Sojourners! Let’s hear more!
Jeanie Hagedorn, CHM, Des Moines, IA



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kevin s.

posted June 8, 2007 at 9:55 pm


“A longtime supporter of Sojourners, I could not believe it when I learned that Jim Wallis was inviting only the three “top contenders” (read that “the richest”)and ignoring the others, especial Kucinich and Gravel, the two most strongly for helping the poor, for social justice, for peace!”
This is more than just riches. Kucinich is an arrogant, weird man. He isn’t presidential material because he would be terrible at the job. If I run a company, and I am choosing a CEO, I want the guy who will succeed in implementing initiatives that will benefit my company, not the guy who believes the right things about business.
I think Sojo invited the right folks to the stage for the time being. Some have argued that Richardson should have been up there, but there are a lot of internal problems with his candidacy.



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Mick Sheldon

posted June 8, 2007 at 10:24 pm


This is enlightening . Faith means why we allow babies to be killed because its only a choice , but when we talk about the least of these it means people who vote . We speak about what is good for all of us , but we believe only secular views are part of the government’s role , unless it has to do with the least of these , which of course are voters only or illegal immigrints who will be voters . But marriage , sexual education for kids , and issues that promote the belief that we are god and its up to us to make the decision , then its oK to be tolerant . Sounds like socialism to me , masked with a god lite .
I am sure this makes sense to democrats and republicans . But it really leaves Jesus Christ out of the equation .



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moderatelad

posted June 8, 2007 at 10:45 pm


I like how they talked about faith being a ‘private’ thing. I have looked all through my Bible and have never read in scripture where we are asked to go and share the Gospel to all living creatures, but do it privately so you don’t offend anyone. Go ahead and worship in your church but keep your mouth shut when you leave.
interesting to say the least…
.



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Rev. Harry J Bury

posted June 8, 2007 at 11:11 pm


Dear Jim,
I am grateful that you managed to have this dialogue on the relationship of one’s faith and how they as a politician would attempt to govern.
I hope you would continue the process by inviting the other Democratic candidates and also the Republicans. Small groups seems to work best as it gives candidates more time to explain themselves.
I would like you to especially highlight the candidates who have raised the least amount campaign money. Could it be because they have suggested that they cannot be bought by the corporste elite who offer support to both sides of the aisle so they can influence whoever wins?
Would we have a truer democracy if all candidates could only use government designated money for campaigning so that each would have an equal chance based on their ideas, values and faith?
Keep up the good work, Jim
Warm Regards,
Fr Harry J Bury



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canucklehead

posted June 8, 2007 at 11:16 pm


In his response to Jim’s first question (the first one on the Sojo video clip, that is), John Edwards said something to the effect that he had a plan to do away with poverty altogether in 30 years. Two thots:
1) what are the implications of Christ’s words that the poor will always be with us for Edwards’ words?
2) aren’t such sentiments the very kind of political rhetoric that contributes to the rampant cynicism toward the political process that exists today?



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canucklehead

posted June 8, 2007 at 11:19 pm


whoa, baby! sorry…



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ron Friesen

posted June 8, 2007 at 11:56 pm


Kevin S.
No argument from me that Jesus talked about the least of these. But were these three even asked about the ‘least of the these’. Another thing – these three don’t represent the least of these – I mean – we are talking about the three richest ones in the D race for the White House.
One of the problems with a race for the White House starting 24 months out is that most of us are already tired of the whole thing. I am going to wait until next Jan and see who is still standing and then decide if I am going to decide for any of them or the old ‘none of the above’.
I am weary already



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Ben

posted June 9, 2007 at 6:20 am


I am new to SoJo. I was under the impression that this was a non-partisan group. It baffles me as I try to determine why this “Faith Forum” was exclusive to democrats. The purpose, it seems, was to improve the perception among evangelicals (primarily) that the Republicans do not hold the keys to religion. Granted, and Jim Wallis has done a phenomenal job of getting this message out. But why is Sojo ‘helping’ the Democrats with this issue? It appears that Sojo is more partisan than it admits. Unfortunately, that is a credibility issue. How will you win back my trust?



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Mark Dunham

posted June 9, 2007 at 8:03 am


Many of the Blog commentators are disappointed in the quality of questions posed, or the structure of the Faith Forum. It is good to be idealistic, but it is better to keep reality in mind at all times when dealing with historic change. Now that this first event achieved the goal of changing the debate and gaining national coverage, the opportunity waits to move in all the directions you desire. However without a precisely focused news-worthy program, we would never reach this point. That is why only the 3 most visible and least faithful by public expectation candidates, had to be the subject of the first forum. Congratulations to the entire Sojourners staff for using my donations well, to achieve precisely the national corner turn on faith that we desire.
Now it is up to all of us to use this opportunity in delving deeper and more widely, just as you desire.



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Mark Klempner

posted June 9, 2007 at 8:22 am


Sister Joan Chittister has some powerfully insightful–and critical–words regarding the forum. Go to http://ncrcafe.org/node/1158



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jerry

posted June 9, 2007 at 11:40 am


right on rev. bury, cnucklhead, kevin, and others. maybe wallis should look at the financial backers of these three candidates and all politicians and start an election reform renewal. using christian principals of course.



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miloc

posted June 9, 2007 at 11:48 am


It is a sad commnetary on our species that any of us would have to invoke some kind of diety to motivate us to do the right thing. I am not interested in rewards in the afterlife because frankly there isn’t one. And to have politicains play this game to prove to the electorate that they are religious is stupid. Did nay of them defend the notion of the separation of church and state? This fundamental principle of our constitution is either ignored or criticized by the left and right nowadays. Forums like this where politicains have to placate religion in order to get votes makes me want to throw up. If primitive religion was still in vogue, I can just imagine our would be politicains performing whatever sacrificial ritual needed so they can say, “see, see, I beleive in god.” Hitchens is right, ‘religion poisons everything.’



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jeff

posted June 9, 2007 at 12:34 pm


Jim,
Great job on that show. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the candidates speak on a more personal level… especially the Dems.
Keep up the good work.
http://www.demerging.net



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Yepiz

posted June 9, 2007 at 8:27 pm


I find it interesting that on the issue of abortion, you “non- partial” guys did not ask about what type of judges they would apoint. Would they appoiont judges that propone or limit abortions. I too think that this “partial” site is just as much a tool for the democrats, as other so called “right-wing” christian org’s.
Hypocrasy is always around us Jim.



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Mick Sheldon

posted June 9, 2007 at 9:56 pm


But why is Sojo ‘helping’ the Democrats with this issue? It appears that Sojo is more partisan than it admits. Unfortunately, that is a credibility issue. How will you win back my trust?
Posted by: Ben
Ben they will not . The longer you stay , you will see .
Already been refered to being a racist because I am a conservative . I expressed a view that taking from someone without their permission was not charity . Called Intolerant , and if your African American who agrees with me , was expressed they do not have the dignity of having an opinion based on intellectual honesty , has to be race based or they are a sell out . . Also I see debating from people using Reagan as the accepted demon , and back and forth bickering of who did the most deceptive thingin politics .
: Hoping more for two sincere views and exchanginf ideas and perspectives based on the Love of Christ .. NOT HERE and not promoted by their leadership . Very sad , I too was glad when I stumbled upon this . I love the idea of Evangelicals getting into the democratic party ,
only to find out thery are doing what they accuse the right of doing . . The sterotypical view of being decieved or self righteous all fall on those with different political views . Sort of how the world does it , your a crook therefore your view on this subject should not be considered . The crook part is promoted , the debate becomes your idea against the crook .
. I have one great conversation with a very left leaning person who loves the Lord , but appears to be shell shocked him self by the name calling and goes on the attack also . The name calling here goes both ways . This Jim Wallis appears to be just the religious left wanna be spokesperson but without the numbers that James Dobson has .
Very little difference of the this group then the other side so far I have seen, on this side you are a Christian if you promote taking from others to give to the poor , big deal over here of promoting socialism , on the other side your a Christian if you believe in less government , promoting life and traditional values . Different agendas , same tactics . Just on the left they have secular socialist, homosexual activists , race as politics , over on the right corporate welfare , and 2nd Amendment promoters ,
Christ seems to get limited to just a place at the table . One day they will figure out the whole thing is The Lord’s Table . They appear to be compromising our Lord , the religious left and right from my viewpoint .



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emma laughton

posted June 11, 2007 at 9:37 am


perhaps some progress is being achieved at last



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Sarasotakid

posted June 11, 2007 at 10:10 am


I like how they talked about faith being a ‘private’ thing. I have looked all through my Bible and have never read in scripture where we are asked to go and share the Gospel to all living creatures, but do it privately so you don’t offend anyone. Go ahead and worship in your church but keep your mouth shut when you leave.
interesting to say the least…Posted by: moderatelad
So what are you trying to imply? That they are un-biblical or lesser Christians because they spoke about faith being a private thing? Hilary also spoke about be suspicious of people who wore their faith on their sleeve. I think she had a valid point. Our present administration certainly touted its faith and look where it has gotten us.



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Peter

posted June 11, 2007 at 11:51 am


I appreciate Sojourners sponsoring this forum, but I have to agree with those who were disappointed that only the “big three” were chosen to participate. The same mainstream media that has given disproportionate coverage to shrill conservatives in their representation of religious voices has also “annointed” three from each party based on the money they’ve raised. Sojourners was in a position to challenge this and could have picked the top six, or all. Let’s not challenge the mainstream media on one hand and play it’s skewed game on the other.



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S.Riggs

posted June 11, 2007 at 12:02 pm


Moderatelad, you may be missing the point about faith being a private thing and worrying about offending others with your faith. How successful can you be about persuading someone to accept your faith if you first and continuosly offend them? The fundamentalist screaming at passersby on the street corner is not very persuasive or kind and I think turns off far more than he convinces to take a closer look at God.
Faith being a private thing is related to not using God to get more business for profit sake, gain votes for winning power sake, or taking advantage of people by wearing it on your sleeve. I see ads for “Christian” businesses in megachurch newspapers for car repair or HVAC sales but they still use methods to bilk people out of their money. The customer thinks they are so honest. Using God to take advantage of people is offensive.



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Eric

posted June 11, 2007 at 1:16 pm


S Riggs – You and moderatelad are creating a false choice. One doesn’t have to choose between being a “fundamentalist screaming on the street” or being someone who thinks faith is a “private thing” not to be discussed outside church. Frankly, I don’t know what Clinton meant when she used that term. The Bible certainly never talks about keeping one’s faith private, but I don’t find it unBiblical for someone running for President to feel hesitant about mixing religion and politics too often.
Also, you write about ads at megachurches advertising businesses owned by Christians bilking people out of money. It’s not just megachurches that use Christian business directories, my small church does it too. I’m not sure what you mean about them bilking people out of money though. I don’t see them doing this. Maybe you’re just talking about your megachurch and a specific business advertising there.



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Hali

posted June 11, 2007 at 6:50 pm


“moderatelad” wrote:
“I like how they talked about faith being a ‘private’ thing.”
Did you really like it? :)
“I have looked all through my Bible and have never read in scripture where we are asked to go and share the Gospel to all living creatures, but do it privately so you don’t offend anyone. Go ahead and worship in your church but keep your mouth shut when you leave.”
No, that’s not what it means. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to make a big show of our religion – not to hide our faith, but rather to avoid trying to impress people with our piety. In the Christian community I grew up in (and we were pretty mainstream Baptists), that meant proselytizing with our actions instead of our words. I’m still a strong believer in that.
Peace,
Hali



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moderaltelad

posted June 12, 2007 at 11:14 am


My idea is to to give a sermon to my friends and relatives that do not know Christ in a personal way and yes – if I have to – use words. The best sermon I have wittnessed in my life was the way my father lived his life. Doing more than saying, assisting more than giving instructions.
I am not wanting people to have a ‘show’ about their faith. But why is it that Hillary can go to a church and talk to the congregation about issues and in so doing, promote herself. BUT – if MaCain goes to an organization with a religious affilation the media and liberals are screaming seperation of church and state?
People on this site – both posters and authors blast conservative organizations about their fundraising and how wrong it is and then bemoan that Wallis and others are financially strapped. Well – change you retoric, paint a picture that people can see and say ‘I like that’ and see how things could change. I am not asking them to change their vision or ministry – just word it so that people see what can happen. Wallis bemoans poverty – but then paints a picture that it is my fault because I am a conservative. Sorry – I have done a lot in my community it if please. Tell me how you are going to use my $5.00 to make like better for a family – and don’t say you are going to use it to get liberals elected because that is what I have read between the lines on this site. This is why I say that Wallis and Robertson are polar oppsites sides of the teeter totter of life so that we are in balance.
Have a great life –
.



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Anonymous

posted June 12, 2007 at 11:34 am


In order for America to maintain its political,military and economic priviledge,no successful presidential candidate can escape the reality that funding supportive dictators, social repression and disorder, snubbing UN and World Court rulings, and persistent military action are required. Differences between Democrats and Republicans are minimal on this basic reality.
I do not support our rogue nation empire building tactics, and choose to live below the minimum tax income of $8600 per year to avoid all financial support until America allows a just placement in the world community.



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moderatelad

posted June 12, 2007 at 2:07 pm


Posted by: | June 12, 2007 11:34 AM
I do not support our rogue nation empire building tactics, and choose to live below the minimum tax income of $8600 per year to avoid all financial support until America allows a just placement in the world community.
But I bet the rest of us are supporting you with food stamps, and other aid that you would qualify for at this time. So money that could go into my pocket to assist me in educating my children, feed them etc. is going to you. Don’t feel to honorable because of your decision. You may not have a taxable income but you are still in the system.
Blessings to you and all –
.



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Anonymous

posted June 13, 2007 at 1:44 pm


Eric, I’m not trying to have people make any choices between the two actions. I am expanding on the meaning of someone who believes faith is a private thing. In my case it is private in the sense faith should not be misused for gaining power or profit like it so often is. I believe people should talk about their faith outside church in a productive manner.
You’re comments about ads are correct. It’s not just megachurches that seek advertising in their publications. I didn’t have space or time to list all examples. I wonder if Christians or churches are withdrawing so much from society by having our own yellow pages, retail advertising, doing business with one another exclusively, private schools, etc that we can not be a “light unto to world” if the “world” never gets a chance to see us?



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brd

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:09 pm


Was this forum podcast anywhere?



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 12:15 pm


Having seen these blong, I am very disturbed…I really don’t see much developed thinking here. I am in South Africa and am disppointed when I hear the criticisms of Americans being myopic and not thoughful-narrow in their view of the Christian faith and not always so generous but as I read these emails I don’t see much Christian discourse at all. If nothing else, please at least think before you make these postings and make an effort to add something of depth to the discussion. Thus far little of the former is here.
How about some solutions or suggestions on how to have a more expansive faith and politics discussion in the future? maybe some suggestions about getting it onto the networks next time at Prime Time? Think solutions guys- the Israelites were excellent at complaining and it got them no where.



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eeayoh

posted June 20, 2007 at 2:19 pm


I don’t believe we can put too much credence in the brief comments that were made at this debate. We should put more credence in the many, many other comments and votes and actions of these candidates over the years. They may talk of faith, but faith “in what?” is the real question. And the answer is pretty vague.



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Luke Kastenhuber

posted June 25, 2007 at 9:46 pm


Ronald Reagan: “Free enterprise has done more to reduce poverty than all the government programs dreamed up by Democrats.” Of course, the validity of this statement means nothing to liberal socialists around this country because “it’s the thought that matters.” Well, you feel-good socialists don’t help poor people at all by subsidizing their poverty. Benjamin Franklin, who was raised in modest financial circumstances, once stated, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” Of course, what do Ronald Reagan and Ben Franklin know about anything?



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Kelly Monroe Kullberg

posted April 17, 2008 at 10:06 pm


Hi and I’d like to ask Jim or someone else at Sojo when you have a chance:
How does it help our witness to speak negatively of brothers in Christ such as those in Expelled (who’ve been unfairly attacked and marginalized) and those in the White House? Well, those you disagree with?
Don’t we have more in common with believers because of the cross of Christ, than you have in common with those who align with your politics? Then why attack so many people? Especially when so many of them are people of good will, and care about people in real ways.
Also, is it true that Sojourners “rented its mailing list” to the Obama fundraising campaign a few years ago? Isn’t that what Jim accused others of doing, with the Republicans? (I’m referring to the Washington Post article on this).
I’ve written Jim twice about this but haven’t heard back so I’m now asking someone else at Sojourners.
Thanks and please consider stopping the attacks on fellow believers. We all need each other. They’ll know we are Jesus people by our love for one another.
Also, please be forthcoming if Jim is in fact campaigning for Sen. Obama.



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