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On behalf of Sojourners and my family, I want to express our condolences to the Graham family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Billy Graham has been an important figure in my life and vocation. Ever since meeting him in the early days of Sojourners’ ministry, I found him to be not only gracious and warm, but also a bridge-builder and encourager. I am exceedingly grateful for Billy Graham’s outreach to me as young evangelical starting a faith- inspired social justice movement and his steady support of Sojourners’ work for peace and justice throughout the years.
Billy Graham once told me that he believed his mission for preaching the gospel of salvation and Sojourners mission of teaching the social implications of that personal salvation were “complementary.”
His integrity, consistency, willingness to learn, change, admit mistakes and go forward, and his willingness to take stands on public issues like racially integrating his crusades in the South, and speaking out against nuclear weapons, is an example for all faith leaders to follow. May Billy rest in peace as we all continue to reach out to the world and humanity for which he cared so deeply.
Thoughts and prayers are absolutely needed in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting with 17 students and teachers dead, 14 others wounded, and countless numbers of people again traumatized. These horrific murders are just latest in a long string of mass shootings that have happened over the past couple of years. 5 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern American history have happened in the last 26 months. But praying is not enough; and its way past time to turn prayers into action. Action means to take responsibility. And responsibility must be called out. I believe the National Rifle Association and their gun running sponsors are responsible for the death of the Florida children and teachers. I believe all those elected officials who refuse to support the common-sense gun safety laws that the vast majority of the American people support are responsible for the death of those killed on Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday. I believe that elected officials who are too cowardly to ban the assault weapons that are used only to kill mass numbers of people and not to protect or hunt--a ban which a majority of Americans also support—are also responsible for this week’s brutal killings. And I believe that we should call our ourselves and our churches to uphold life by holding their elected officials responsible and accountable for this extreme and senseless gun violence that no other country in the developed world has. This is not a political issue, but a moral crisis that must call out the nation literally to repentance—which means to turn around. So help us God.
Today Sojourners Executive Director, Adam Taylor and Immigration Campaign Coordinator Jessica Cobian and stood with faith leaders outside of Senator McConnell’s office this morning to perform an Ash Wednesday ceremony in solidarity with Dreamers pressing members of Congress for a Clean Dream Act.
More than 80 diverse faith leaders today released a declaration calling on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection between racism and poverty.
The Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty, which was sent to members of Congress before last night’s State of the Union address, appeals to all people, especially Christians, to actively work against racism and poverty. It notes that the “body of Christ is perhaps the most diverse racial community in the world.” The leaders call on political leaders from both parties to develop legislative agendas that will reduce racism and poverty. They assert that “[r]acism is systematic and structural in America and harms people of color in very specific, measurable, and tangible ways.”
Sojourners strongly denounces the hateful words spoken by Donald Trump during a closed-door immigration-related meeting this week. According to news outlets and confirmed to the media by at least one senator present at the meeting, President Trump asked, “Why do we have all these people from shit-hole nations come here” when referring to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and other African countries. It has been reported the President went on to say he would like more people from “places like Norway.” The message was clear --about the color of the skin of the people Trump wants and does not want in America.
The words uttered by Trump may be among the ugliest and most harmful words to ever come from the White House of the United States of America. Media debates around what the words mean dominate the current news cycle. Debates over language are not the issue but rather the worldview that white European immigrants are preferable to black and brown immigrants. As an organization committed and driven by faith in action for racial justice and healing, Sojourners urges a unified response against this Administration’s divisive, dangerous, and racist agendas against people of color, immigrants, refugees, and Muslims; again revealed by the brutal expletives from the President of the United States.
“The deepest question we must ask is about white American Christians. What will they/we say and do? Will we speak against the racism which is a sin against God and against our brothers and sisters of color who are all made in the image of God? Silence is not morally or biblically allowed; and silence is complicity according the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose birthday we remember on Monday. My recommendation is that every MLK event in America this Monday make the move from commemoration to commitment. It is time for Christians, especially white American Christians, to speak out and step up as Christians to the kind of racial talk and actions that are now becoming normalized in the United States of America and that we heard again on Thursday from the Oval Office. God help us,” said Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners.
"Well, I think these issues are much deeper than politics. Many of us feel politically homeless these days, but the racial divide is of deep concern to me. So when white evangelicals say to black evangelicals, I didn't vote for Donald Trump because of his racial bigotry but because of other issues like the ones you mentioned, the response often back from black evangelicals is, so his racial bigotry wasn't a deal breaker for you, I guess?"
"Dr. Williams-Skinner was one of the religious leaders protesting in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building last week, as part of the evangelical social justice group Sojourners. She read from the Gospel of Matthew: “I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat.
"I have always believed that we can attain this necessary but difficult goal by getting beyond the superficial and tribal nature of our political debates as they play out in the media and the halls of power. We can accomplish that by identifying the deeper moral and spiritual values that are at stake and lie behind these debates. Don't go left, don't go right, go deeper."
"President Trump is an ultimate and consummate worshiper of money, sex and power. American Christians have not really reckoned with the climate he has created in our country and the spiritual obligation we have to repair it. As a result, the soul of our nation and the integrity of the Christian faith are at risk.
"Now this intellectual, emotional, and moral failure as a human being has his finger on the nuclear button. And that is the grreatest threat to America and to the world today. Will other senators stand up for their country and our national security, as Sen. Corker has? How many Bob Corkers are there – how many Republicans will continue to make their Faustian bargain with a president who will promote the economic interests of their wealthy donors?