Faithful Politics

Being faithful with our politics, not political with our faith.

Jim Wallis, Sojourners, and the Gravy-Train

I recently heard a radio interview with Jay Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a leading proponent of intelligent design.  But when I heard Richards he wasn’t talking about science, but rather, leftist politics.  Richards has written a fascinating article on Jim Wallis’ organization, Sojourners, and where they get their funding (read the article here).  It turns out, as you might have suspected, that Sojourners receives quite a bit of money from far-left organizations, foundations, and individual donors.  It also turns out that much of their money comes from expressly secular foundations.  We should find this interesting, not because it changes any of the advocacy work that Sojourners participates in, but because it demonstrates what any cautious observer has known all along: Sojourners is not a non-partisan organization.

For years Wallis has been trying to convince Americans that he is not tied to a political party or ideology; that he is simply speaking God’s truth.  But apparently secular foundations, who may or may not care about God’s truth, have figured out that Wallis and Sojourners are very useful pawns for their own ideologies.  Try as he may to convince us otherwise, Wallis remains a stalwart for the far-left, not a non-partisan advocate for “God’s politics.”

Let me end by recognizing that organizations on the religious right probably also receive funding from less than honorable sources.  The point here is not simply to bash on Sojourners.  The real issue is that the American church has fallen prey to the hyper-ideological divisions that exist in our country, and no one, right or left, should use a little God-talk in order to justify their own extreme agenda.

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  1. Should someone turn down money from a secular organization just because that organization isn’t a Christian organization ? If I’m falling off a cliff do I pass up help from an Atheist because he doesn’t know Christ ? Anyone with a mind set on the least of these, and who advocates for the marginalized is ally of social justice. From eradicating child labor laws, the women suffrage movement and the civil rights movement both believer and unbeliever have always joined hands and have been agents of change in this country for generations. In James 1:26, the verse says that real religion is this: reaching out to the loveless and homeless in their plight and guard against corruption from the godless world. Anyone believer or non believer who does this exemplifies Gods grace and glory, even if that is not their intention.

    • Pierre,

      Thanks for your comment! And I certainly agree with the sentiment behind your thought. As Christians seeking to bring justice to our broken world we need to appreciate the fact that if they are not against us they are for us (to paraphrase). I do think we need to be more cautious when it comes to funding, however. The power of money, especially for non-profits who are in constant search of more funds, can lead organizations to drift from their original commitments. Ultimately, our first commitment needs to be to Christ, and our social action should buttress that commitment. Sometimes partnering with secular organizations can lead us to make our primary commitment the social cause we are involved in, not our Savior. The real religion the Apostle James speaks of is first and foremost predicated on a salvific relationship with Christ which then leads one to do good works, to deny this is to affirm a works-based salvation.

      Thank you again for your time!

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