Jim Wallis on the Daily Show

Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, a Christian activist organization that is often taking on the Religious Right and advocating for a more politically progressive Christianity focused on issues of poverty and environmental stewardship, was on the Daily Show the other night to promote his new book The Great Awakening. You can watch the interview here. (Sorry, but I can’t get the video to embed properly, just click the link.)

Wallis made several comments during the interview that I think folks here will likely appreciate. For instance:

“The dominance of the Religious Right over our politics is finally finished.”

“The country isn’t hungry for a Religious Left to replace a Religious Right. They don’t want to go Left or Right, they want to go deeper, to a moral center.”

“Religion has no monopoly on morality. All these great movements like Civil Rights, there wasn’t one of them that didn’t have significant involvement by people of faith, but not just them.”

“When people of faith get to the public square they shouldn’t say “My religious view is this.” They should speak in moral language that is inclusive of everybody, because you don’t get to win because you’re religious, you’ve got to win the debate. You’ve got to say what’s best for the common good.”

“[Romney] said you can’t have religion without liberty or liberty without religion. But I disagree with that.”

“I’m one who has defended how Dr. King invoked Jesus and Jeremiah, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way, but I’m one who has defended the use of faith. But I want to say that sometimes it crosses a line. There shouldn’t be a religious litmus test for politics. I care not about someone’s religion, but what their moral compass is.”

  • Arlen

    This was a great interview. I’ve read his God’s Politics book, and very much appreciate his ideas.

  • Joseph R.

    Thanks, Mike, for bringing that to my attention. I missed that particular program. Stewart’s guest, Jim Wallis, has some interesting things to say, however I have to disagree with his statement:

    “The dominance of the Religious Right over our politics is finally finished.”

    I don’t think that the religious right are going to let this election, let alone this decade, be the end of their religiously motivated political movement. I believe their dominance in main stream American political culture will continue.

  • Karen

    I saw it and was really pleased. I thought he did a wonderful job!

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I don’t think that the religious right are going to let this election, let alone this decade, be the end of their religiously motivated political movement. I believe their dominance in main stream American political culture will continue.

    I think Jim was making a sort of prophetic overstatement. What he meant was that the RR is on the decline, and that they aren’t the only game in town anymore. Wallis’ own network of progressive Christians is getting more and more attention from the media, and the 2006 elections (and this primary season so far), I think are showing that the RR doesn’t control the vote as much as they appeared to back in ’04. After all, the only clearly conservative evangelical candidate, Huckabee, is trailing a distant third now and couldn’t even win the Bible Belt state of South Carolina.

    Anyhow, yes the RR is still around, but I think they have sown the seeds of their own decline and ultimate self-destruction. I see it all around me in Christian circles all the time. My generation is increasingly tuning out people like Dobson and increasingly tuning into progressive leaders like Wallis.

  • Joseph R.

    Mike, I hope you are right.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    I saw the interview the other night and thought of you, Mike. :) I was impressed with him and enjoyed the response by the crowd.

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  • http://expatpastor.wordpress.com Dave Shaw

    Thanks for posting this – I’ll be blogging it myself with a link to this site. Not only was it great to see a well balanced Christian political perspective (which is something of a rarity in the US), but it was also great to see Stewart taking the interview seriously and ask some genuinely good questions that weren’t good just for comic relief. All the best

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  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/fole0091/epistaxis/ Epistaxis

    I agreed with him so much that I honestly didn’t realize he was a believer.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    He’s a Reverend actually.

  • Maria

    good interview! I hope he’s right

  • stogoe

    “The country isn’t hungry for a Religious Left to replace a Religious Right. They don’t want to go Left or Right, they want to go deeper, to a moral center.”

    More Golden Mean pandering. Most people agree with liberal/Left/progressive policies. The infectious blathering of hate radio has made the label distasteful to the disinterested middle, but not the underlying concepts. The only way conservatives can stay in power is through emotional terrorism, and when even that doesn’t work, by scaring the brown people from the voting box.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    More Golden Mean pandering.

    LOL, that’s a new one. :)

    I wonder though… why would you pander if you’re not a politician? Wallis isn’t trying to get elected to anything.


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