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Old 04-29-2005, 10:40 AM   #1
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An attempt to hijack Christianity

This is by Jim Wallis, who writes for Sojourners Magazine and and also is the author of "God's Politics."

I think it's a very important read for Christians and non-Christians. Here it is:

Last week, I wrote about the "Justice Sunday" event held at a Louisville, Kentucky, mega-church. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Prison Fellowship's Chuck Colson, and Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler were joined by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on video in the event titled "Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith." Of course, I have no objection to Christian leaders expressing their faith in the public arena - it's a good thing that I do all the time. The question is not whether to do so, but how. As I heard more and more about "Justice Sunday," it felt to me like it was crossing an important line - saying that a political issue was a test of faith.

So, when I was invited to speak at an interfaith "Freedom and Faith" service at Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville, I agreed. On Sunday morning, I flew to Louisville, and that afternoon addressed more than 1,000 people who attended the rally. I didn't go to say that these leaders shouldn't bring their faith into politics; the issues concerning them - abortion and family values - are also important to me. But the way they were doing it was wrong. The clear implication of their message was that those who opposed them are not people of faith.

We can get some historical perspective by looking at how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did it - and he was the church leader who did it best. Once after he was arrested, he wrote a very famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," addressed to the white clergy who were opposing him on the issues of racial segregation and violence against black people. Never once did he say that they were not people of faith. He appealed to their faith, challenged their faith, asked them to go deeper with their faith, but he never said they were not real Christians. If Dr. King refused to attack the integrity and faith of his opponents over such a clear gospel issue, how can the Religious Right do it over presidential nominees and a Senate procedural issue known as the filibuster?

After the "Justice Sunday" event, and the controversy surrounding it, some of the sponsors are denying they ever claimed that those who oppose them are hostile to people of faith. Yet their words stand for themselves. In the letter announcing the event on the Family Research Council Web site, Tony Perkins wrote: "Many of these nominees to the all-important appellate court level are being blocked...because they are people of faith and moral convictions.... We must stop this unprecedented filibuster of people of faith."

So, I told the Louisville rally that when someone has stolen our faith in the public arena, it is time to take our faith back. "Justice Sunday" was an attempt to hijack Christianity for a partisan and ideological agenda. Those on the Religious Right are declaring a religious war to give their version of faith religious supremacy in America. And some members of the Republican Party seem ready almost to declare a Christian theocracy in America. It is time to take back both our faith and our Constitution.

It is now clear there are some who will fight this religious war by any means necessary. So we will fight, but not the way they do. We must never lie or misrepresent the facts or the truth. We must not demonize or vilify those who are our opponents. We must claim that those who disagree with our judgments are still real people of faith. We must not fight the way they do, but fight we must. A great deal is at stake in this battle for the heart and soul of faith in America and for the nation's future itself. We will not allow faith to be put into the service of one political agenda.

This is a call for the rest of the churches to wake up. This is a call for people of faith everywhere to stand up and let their faith be heard. This is not a call to be just concerned, or just a little worried, or even just alarmed. This is a call for clear speech and courageous action. This is a call to take back our faith, and in the words of the prophet Micah, "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God."

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Old 04-29-2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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the more i hear about Wallis, the more i like.

let's get him on Hannity and Colmes, not James freakin' Dobson.

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Old 04-29-2005, 12:21 PM   #3
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He actually was on the Daily Show a while back. They have a clip on

I'm glad to hear your thoughts on him, Irvine. From what I know of him at least, I think he's really seeking to be a Biblical Christian, not a Right-Wing Christian. He puts God before any political gain and I think God's blessing him for it.
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Old 04-29-2005, 03:17 PM   #4
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Originally posted by Irvine511
the more i hear about Wallis, the more i like.

let's get him on Hannity and Colmes, not James freakin' Dobson.
Exactly. But, as I said before, the way "Christianity" is depicted in the media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, media types are making fun of Christianity by choosing only the most hysterical members. On the other hand, by the media only choosing the most hysterical of members, the general public thinks that these are the only "true Christians," and everyone else doesn't belong.

If anything, this, along with the existence of "FOX News," is reason enough why we need to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine." All it would take is a favorable FCC to reinstate it; no Congressional intervention necessary.

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Old 04-29-2005, 03:48 PM   #5
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I've been a fan of Jim Wallis' for years. I first came across his writings in Tikkun, a Jewish magazine associated with the Jewish Renewal movement (, which is in many ways a Jewish equivalent of the 'Sojourners' movement (if I can call it a movement). Wallis is a close friend of Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner, and they've worked together many times on campaigns. They also collaborate frequently with black Christian progressives like Cornel West, and like-minded Catholics like the Berrigan brothers. So it really is an interfaith, interdenominational movement.

I did read God's Politics and liked much of what Wallis had to say. I don't, however, share his optimism that there's much potential audience for his progressive vision of faith-friendly politics. The occasional token paeans to charity aside, the fact is that Americans generally regard authoritarian social agendas, based on control and punishment, as the defining hallmark of 'faith-based' politics. Justice, compassion, mercy--these are dangerously corruptible virtues, after all, too easily conned and twisted into a ruinous permissiveness and relativism. Or so the Religious Right's implied narrative goes...
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Old 04-29-2005, 04:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for posting this. I really like this guy.
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Old 04-29-2005, 05:34 PM   #7
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As far as people like James Dobson, Tim Lahaye, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson etc. etc. goes they have indeed "hijacked" Christianity. Jesus said "Beware of False Prophets..." but it seems like the majority of so called "Evangelicals" have fallen prey to these crafty leaders. Just read what Tim Lahaye writes in his Left Behind series and that should be enough for you to know that this man is a lunatic and a dangerous one at that. As far as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson go - well, all you have to do is look at what these "Men of God" have had to say all throughout the years and you'll know they are a real danger. For a detailed look at the Religious Right and what they've been up to all these years please visit this website...
they have been investigating these men for decades.
For a much more strange outlook (even if you don't agree with these guys they've certainly done thier homework) check out this group that has fled the United States and moved to the mountains of Canada -
Weird stuff but makes me think.

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