Future of Evangelicalism
The Legacy of an Activist Career An Interview with Jim Wallis
Now, I am one of the first people to criticize government when it's wrong. But my gosh, libertarians believe in the sinless market, which is theologically untenable. I have no faith in corporations to do the right thing. I think the only protection we have against corporations is powerful accountability. Christians historically, like William Jennings Bryan and Charles Finney and many others, have been very clearly anti-big-banks -- and I am too. I stand proudly in their tradition.
I believe in movements, not government. What changes society are movements. Look at Wilberforce with the abolition of slavery, and King with the Civil Rights movement. I don't have a liberal Democratic faith in governments. Governments have their role to play, but all sectors have to be held accountable. I spoke at the Wharton Business School last week about the responsibility of business leaders.
But if you ask me about the silly stuff Glenn Beck says -- that somehow those of us who are not radical libertarians like he and Marvin Olasky are must believe that we will be saved by government -- well, that's just silly. Government should protect the public from the excesses of corporations, but governments have never made social changes without movements pressing from the outside.
Is it for those reasons that you would not call yourself a person of the Left? Is that why you position yourself as non-partisan?
Yes, and my lack of confidence in what happens every day in Washington. I differ strongly with the Left on issues like abortion, family, and parenting. I'm pretty conservative on parenting issues and all that stuff.
Now, I give Obama credit for talking about family and kids and fathering. I said this to him at the outset. To have a Democrat talk about fatherhood the way he has is a great thing. The conservatives should be applauding him for that. My son and I went to his fatherhood speech and it moved me to tears. I don't agree with him on Afghanistan, and I've said that. But I like his fatherhood position.
And I don't have a trust in government solving all our problems. I don't believe in that at all. My heroes on my wall, where I write everyday in my office, are people like King and Gandhi and Bonhoeffer and Malcolm X and Dorothy Day. There's no former head of the FCC on my wall, or Vice President or even President of the United States. They are not on my walls. They are people who fought for change, led movements, and were often put in jail by the government.
The second part of Olasky's critique was his suggestion that Sojourners receives funding from people like George Soros. The implication is that Sojourners received money from a Leftist atheist to deliver the vote for the Democrats. Is Sojourners open about its books? Is there anything wrong with making common cause with the George Soroses of the world?
It's not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I'm sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don't receive money from Soros. Given the financial crisis of nonprofits, maybe Marvin should call Soros and ask him to send us money.
So, no, we don't receive money from George Soros. Our books are totally open, always have been. Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners. That's where it comes from. In fact, we've had funding blocked, this year and last, by liberal foundations who didn't like our stance on abortion. Other liberal groups were happy to point out to them that our stance wasn't kosher on abortion, so our funding was blocked.
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.