Religion in a Modern World

Jim Wallis: Well first of all when I’m out speaking, I always really enjoy when somebody raises their hand and says, “I’m a secularist.  I’m not a religious person.  I’m an atheist, but I didn’t feel kicked to the curb tonight.  I felt welcomed into a conversation – a moral discourse on politics.”  This isn’t a religious litmus test, but we have to have a moral discourse on politics.  We find common ground by moving to higher ground.  That’s the way you always do it.  I think Washington, D.C. where I live takes an issue and does two things.  Firstly they blame it on the other side and make you afraid of it – politics of blame, politics of fear.  They never get back to solving the problem.  I think America is hungry for a politics of solutions and a politics of hope.  There are liberal ideas.  There are conservative ideas.  And there are ideas that we haven’t thought of yet that are going to be necessary to find solutions.  So I want to really find the cross-cutting issues.  I love to work with people on the other side of political spectrum on something like Darfur, or comprehensive immigration reform, or climate change, or global poverty.  That’s when you really feel like you’re transcending left and right and going to a whole different place.  The country doesn’t want to go left or right.  They want to go deeper, you know?  Is there a moral center?  Not a mushy political middle just cutting the difference in half; but what are the moral choices and challenges that lie right beneath our political debate?  Whoever can articulate those questions I think will get a great resonance among the American people.

The importance of balancing reflection and activism.

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