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Jim Wallis is an evangelical Christian reverend known as a writer and activist. He founded Sojourners Magazine in 1971 and currently serves as its Editor-in-Chief. His most recent book is The[…]

The religious right was not founded by religious leaders, Wallis says.

Jim Wallis: Well the religious right was a movement begun by political operatives, not religious leaders.  Because they had meetings, and there were dates and times and place.  And they said they needed to mobilize a constituency that is alienated, that is worried about the culture’s direction.  They’re not happy, and they can be mobilized in an effective block for the sake of one political party.  That was their intention.  And so there were concerns about the sanctity of life, and the breakdown of family, and the kind of . . . the kind of corrosive culture.  I’m a father with an eight year old and a four year old.  And sometimes as a parent you feel like parenting is a counter-cultural activity in America.  Because things are coming at your kids are a sexualized culture, the greed, the hedonism, the materialism.  And you say, “I don’t want my kids . . .”  So a lot of us say, “Wait a minute.  Something’s happening here.”  So they had legitimate concerns, but it got manipulated, in my view, and politicized by an overtly political strategy.  And now, though, that same constituency is saying, “Wait a minute.  These aren’t the only two issues.”  If you look at the Bible, there are 2,000 verses in the Bible about poor people, about poverty.  Climate change is becoming a religious issue for a new generation of evangelicals.  They call it “creation care”.  HIV/AIDS for a lot of mega church pastors is now a very big concern.  Darfur . . . the genocide in Darfur.  So we’re seeing a widening and deepening beyond those two narrow agendas.  And even there, the sanctity of life applied not just to abortion but to Darfur; to where human rights are . . . and human life and dignity is under assault.  So a consistent ethic of life is now emerging that isn’t so narrowly defined.

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