An Open Letter to Jim Wallis – Social Justice Cross-Examined

Dr. Rev. Wallis,

Last week, a reader posted the entire text of your opinion piece, How Christian is Tea Party Libertarianism? to my blog. I read it, and I must confess, I’m a little confused. Maybe you can clear up a few things for me.

I understand you are the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine, a member of President Obama’s faith council, a tireless champion of his political agenda, and a spiritual adviser to him who has known him personally for years. You also identify yourself as a Christian and maintain a blog called godspolitics.com. Those things are clear. Here’s where it gets fuzzy:

  • I did a little research. I discovered that as a theology student in the 1960s, you founded an anti-capitalism magazine called the Post-American, which later became Sojourners magazine. The Post-American identified wealth redistribution and government-managed economies as the keys to achieving “social justice.” In the 1970s, Sojourners actively lobbied for communist regimes that seized power in Latin America, including the Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua. In the 1980s, Sojourners was a fierce opponent of the US nuclear arms buildup, effectively aiding the Soviet Union during the Cold War. You seem to be fond of Communists and socialist principles. What is the difference between your vision of social justice and the Communist vision of Utopia?
  • You began political activism as a 1960s protester, then led the Michigan chapter of Student for a Democratic Society (SDS), which was associated with the Communist Party and domestic terrorism. Did you ever renounce your SDS leadership? If so, when and how? If not, why not?
  • In March of 2010, as a guest on MSNBC, you said that “social justice” is at the heart of the Bible. Could you explain the centrality of social justice with respect to:
    • The Old Testament sacrificial system?
    • The crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
    • The resurrection of Jesus Christ?
  • I’ve been familiar with Sojourners and godspolitics for years. I’ve noticed that your instructions concerning what actions Christians should take politically are the same actions that would advance a far left Progressive agenda for America. Which comes first, your Christianity or your political activism?
  • You began your opinion piece by stating that, “The insurgent Tea Party and its Libertarian philosophy is a political phenomenon, not a religious one.” Except for the part about being “insurgent” I agree with you that the Tea Party and its Libertarian philosophy is a political phenomenon, not a religious one. Why did you then proceed to examine it based on religious principles? Is it a coincidence or is it by design that your entire “ministry” serves to advance a far left Progressive agenda?
  • Finally, I’m having a devil of a time reconciling your Communist leanings with your espousal of Christianity. Where is the cross in your Christianity? Where is Christ in your Christianity?

May I suggest an additional dialogue to complement the one you initiated? Could we have a dialogue about the central theme of the Bible? Some Christians believe the central theme of the Bible is reconciliation, specifically, God taking the initiative to seek and to save lost people. Here are a few Bible passages to get it started:

  • The problem with the world isn’t an unequal distribution of wealth, it’s sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
  • Sin leads to graver consequences than poverty: “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
  • The remedy for sin is the cross. “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
  • If we accept Christ’s death on the cross as atonement for our personal sin, God not only forgives us, but regenerates us and gives us a whole new life: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
  • Jesus Christ as a savior is far superior to “social justice.” “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)

The question to be examined from diverse viewpoints would be, Is the central message of Christianity saving souls from eternal condemnation or implementing political change in pursuit of social justice? Rev. Wallis, can we have that dialogue on godspolitics? Together, you and I and your readers could examine whether Jesus of Nazareth came as the Prince of Peace or the Prince of Progressivism.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Terrell Clemmons

Related Articles:

  • Wallis vs. the Truth by the superb Marvin Olasky Why did Sojourners cover up accepting funds from George Soros? Something smells fishy here.
  • Why is Jim Wallis Denying that He Receives Funds from Deep-Pocketed Leftists? from National Review Online. “According to Sojourners’ 990s, their total assets went from $513,896 in 2002 to $4,615,468 in 2009. Call me skeptical, but I’d be willing to bet that this windfall didn’t all come from humble readers of Sojourners magazine. ”
  • This one is excellent. Read this and consider the implications: Government as Jekyll and Hyde “Utilizing the democratic process to define the chimerical “common good” and employing the bureaucratic machinery to achieve elusive “social goals” in peacetime … can only lead to political dissociative identity disorder. Instead of protecting the individuals’ freedom to pursue their competing ends, we end up stealing from each other by letting governments arbitrarily pick winners and losers.”
  • The Faithful in America Should Defend Liberty, but Not Under a Christian Banner by the exceptional Marvin Olasky.
  • Robin Phillips analyzes the new film Robin Hood. Robin Hood actually reclaimed for the people that which the king had stolen from them. “‘Robin Hood Economics’ was more akin to the tea party movement than the socialism with which it is usually associated.”

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