Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Jim Wallis on Jon Stewart
I had the good fortune to hear Jim Wallis (of Sojourners and Call to Renewal) speak at Wheaton College yesterday. (I even convinced one of my teens to skip school, with parental permission of course, to hear him with me.) He was really great. Hearing his vision for Christian involvement politics in America gives me such hope.

One interesting thing he mentioned was the response he had gotten to the spot he did on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He said that his little 7-minute book promo there actually helped revive the faith of literally dozens of viewers who had emailed him afterwards thanking him for showing that Christians can be pro-peace and anti-poverty and still be good Christians. The emails revealed (and I have found this to be true in my own experience too) just how many people have walked away from the Christian faith not because they've rejected Christ, but because they've rejected the Right-wing agenda that sometimes seems to be synonymous with Christian faith here in America. For Wallis to then demonstrate that one can be a Christian without falling into the predictable categories of Left or Right is really a beacon of new faith for many.

You can see the Daily Show segment with Wallis here.

BTW, I was also really floored by something else Wallis said yesterday. He told us about how just a few months ago he was part of a roundtable discussion at Harvard that also included a Republican campaign strategist. This strategist unabashedly said, "Our strategy for winning this election was by getting the working class to vote against their own economic best interests by emphasizing 'moral values' to them instead. And of course the rich people were always with us. That's how we won."

Wallis, like myself, was rather surprised that they would be so bluntly honest about working against the economic interests of the working class. So Wallis asked him a follow-up question. He said, "What if there was a candidate who was strong on moral values, emphasized building strong families, and solving the problems of family breakdown (without necessarily scapegoating homosexuals). A candidate who was pro-life in a way that wanted to reduce the demand for abortions by helping impoverished women (who get the vast majority of abortions). A candidate who demonstrated a consistent ethic of life by also opposing pre-emptive, unilateral, unjust wars. And what if that candidate was also supported economic policies that served the poor and the working class in America. How would you respond to such a candidate?"

The Republican strategist was silent for a while before responding, "We would be very scared, because that candidate would win in America today."

When Wallis told that story you could tell that everyone in the room was having the same thought, "Why doesn't that candidate exist right now? Why wasn't that candidate running in this last election. I would have voted for that candidate."
posted by Mike Clawson at 10:57 AM | Permalink |


At 2/09/2005 01:18:00 PM, Blogger Dave

Welcome to the world of blogging, fun isn't it. You have no clue who I am but that doesn't really matter. I got your link off the ooze and saw your on Jim Wallis. It was a great interview with the Daily show. I was really inspired by it myself especially when he said that there are more moral issues than just gay marriages and abortion. I have been recieving news letters from for months and just love them, maybe one day I will break down and get the magazine. It certaintly has a more balanced, progressive voice towards politics.

Sad to hear your depature from your pastorate, but maybe that's a good thing. My wife and I just resigned on Sunday after 7 years of this stuff. We are not entering back in any time soon. We know what transition is a means and we are with you and your wife on this.

Take care and peace


At 2/09/2005 02:40:00 PM, Blogger AutobodyCAD

Here's my opinion on why that candidate doesn't exist:

Those positions take guts, the kind of guts that prompt one to do the right thing, even if it means forfeiting any hope of a re-election. To afford those changes in a federal budget requires vetoing Congress' pet spending bills, eliminating bereaucracies, etc. Slash & burn, that's the only way the monstrous deficit can be pruned, to free up money for more important things.

Plus, I believe that the type of person who has those guts tends to be either a Libertarian or a Constitutionalist, both of which would oppose some of the welfare-type programs as being unconstitutional. Not to mention the power it takes to overcome the RepubliCrats.


At 2/11/2005 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Hi Dave,

I just wanted to say welcome to my blog, and thanks for posting. I checked out your profile and it sounds like we have a lot of similar interests. I've bookmarked your blog too, so now you'll know that at least one person is reading occasionally. :)



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