Political Theologian, Know Thyself

EPSA member, Marvin Olasky, issued politically leftist Evangelical, Jim Wallis, this exhortation to self-knowledge in a recent WORLD editorial, “Let’s Admit Who We Are: I’m on the right; Jim Wallis should be willing to say he’s on the left.”

…It’s 10 years since I was active in the Bush campaign and 60 Minutes thought it worthwhile to smear me—but I walked right into it. The CBS producers cited my conservative positions and had the on-air talent ask me to define myself. “I’m a moderate,” I chirped, and viewers who weren’t bored probably dissolved into laughter. Well, I would have been a moderate a century ago, but I should have said that, in today’s spectrum, I’m on the right.

And so, with my own folly in mind, I have a humble suggestion to make to Jim Wallis, whom I enjoyed debating recently (listen to part 1, part 2, and part 3 of that debate): Fess up. Here’s Jim’s standard line: “Don’t go left, don’t go right, go deep.” Or, slightly more elaborate: “We’ve seen religion made partisan. . . . When I talk, I talk about a moral center. I want us to go deeper, not left or right.”

Jim has tried to have it both ways. He advises Obama while calling himself a “nonpartisan evangelical minister.” For years he attacked Christian conservatives for letting the GOP rent their mailing lists, but in 2007, according to The Washington Post, Obama rented the mailing list of Jim’s organization, Sojourners.

George Soros, one of the leading billionaire leftists—he has financed groups promoting abortion, atheism, same-sex marriage, and gargantuan government—bankrolled Sojourners with a $200,000 grant in 2004. A year later, here’s how Jim rebutted a criticism of “religious progressives” for being allied with Soros and MoveOn.org: “I know of no connections to those liberal funds and groups that are as direct as the Religious Right’s ties to right-wing funders.”

Since then Sojourners has received at least two more grants from Soros organizations. Sojourners revenues have more than tripled—from $1,601,171 in 2001-2002 to $5,283,650 in 2008-2009—as secular leftists have learned to use the religious left to elect Obama and others.

As 19th-century novelist William Dean Howells may have put it, financial hazard has become new fortune: According to IRS form 990s, the expenses of Sojourners overran its revenue early in the past decade, and on June 30, 2002, the organization had a negative balance of $375,154. But Sojourners then became more politically useful, and on June 30, 2009, it had a positive balance of $2,316,233.

…But what I want is an open admission: “I am partisan. I’m for Barack. I’m glad that Soros helped us to overcome our poverty. When I recommend ‘going deeper,’ I’m calling for a deep route down the left sideline.” Maybe we can move toward such glasnost by pretending we’re at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I’ll stand up first: “My name is Marvin and I’m [gasp, choke, sigh] on the right.” Then Jim says, “My name is Jim and I’m [gasp, choke, sigh] on the left.” That will work.

Marvin Olasky, provost at The King’s College in New York City, is editor-in-chief at WORLD magazine, a Christian newsmagazine, and author of many books including The Tragedy of American Compassion.


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