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On November 8th, Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners, offered commentary on the results of the Midterm Elections results from earlier in the week. Wallis said, “As we digest the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections, there are reasons for people of faith committed to social justice and the common good to be grateful and encouraged. There are also reminders of what we are up against and some real post-election dangers.”
On October 31st a group of interfaith leaders gathered to offer words of consolation, solidarity, hope and issue a call for prayer to guide our nation towards justice, peace and safety for all. At this politically volatile time with a resurgence of hatred and racism, prayer is not perfunctory but rather the most powerful way to apply our spiritual life and resources to a national and political emergency. The leaders are calling for five days of national prayer from November 1st until the election. The upcoming elections are no longer about politics but a referendum on white nationalist ideology in our country.
The Sojourners community reacted Saturday with shock, mourning, and growing fear to the horrific and murderous attack on Jews at the Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Eleven Jews were killed in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States and more wounded while observing the Sabbath. Many of the victims had gathered for a baby-naming ceremony. That this evil act of anti-Semitic terrorism should take place here in the United States is deeply shocking for old and young alike. Yet both U.S. and world history teach us that the poison of anti-Semitism is very real and has deadly consequences. Indeed, the apparent motivations and beliefs of the killer make it clear that the 11 men and women murdered Saturday were targeted precisely because of their Jewish identity. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest and most persistent forms of bigotry alive in the world today, and Christians, along with Jews—who believe all human beings are created in the image of God--have a duty to name anti-Semitism and confront it at every turn, particularly given the shameful complicity of so many who called themselves Christians in the Holocaust and other historical oppression and killing of Jewish people.
Diverse evangelicals, led by people of color and women, want to bring the “good news” back to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in direct contrast to the “bad news” perpetuated by older, white, and partisan evangelical men. Evangelicals are typically identified in the media and by the public as a predominately white, politically right-wing faith group with little to no concern about the poor and oppressed.
Missing from the national conversation is a recognition that evangelicals are an ethnically diverse group. According to the PRRI 2017 American Values Atlas, thirty-five percent of evangelicals are people of color. Although the media focused on the eighty-one percent of “evangelicals” who voted for Donald Trump, it ignored the fact that seventy-two percent of evangelicals of color voted differently. This distortion undermines the Christian witness and negatively impacts American politics. Millions of people have left the faith, especially younger believers, during a time in which evangelicalism has become increasingly partisan and politicized.
The release of the “Chicago Invitation: Diverse Evangelicals Continue the Journey” signals a commitment to transform the current, false narrative around evangelicalism into a liberating one based upon Jesus’ teachings, the authority of scripture, evangelism, and God’s Biblical call to justice.
In response to yesterday’s New York Times article “Evangelical Leaders Are Frustrated at G.O.P Caution on Kavanaugh Allegation”, founder and president of Sojourners released the following statement:
"Journalists Jeremy W. Peters and Elizabeth Dias correctly note that the Kavanaugh nomination is absolutely key to the agenda and the political legacy of the Religious Right of the past 40 years—which is now at its apex. But let’s be perfectly clear: no Christian should favor “pushing through” a lifetime appointment for Judge Kavanaugh without a full and fair examination of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her. To not want to listen to Dr. Ford’s credible accusation of sexual assault, or to not even care whether or not it is true and be determined to confirm Judge Kavanaugh either way—is decidedly un-Christian. And based on the facts that have been made public so far, to listen to Dr. Ford’s story and not believe her story deserves to be told at this point is a choice made based on political allegiance, not one based on a sincere desire to know the truth of what happened.
Wallis grew up in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s, gradually becoming aware of the city's complicated racial politics. His white church didn't acknowledge the struggles of the city's black residents, and he wanted to know why.
Why are thousands of churchgoing Christians supporting a political agenda that would ban immigrants from our shores, ignore growing income inequality, demean women and fail to address climate change?
An invitation to come to the table can be warm and welcoming. Often it means someone has prepared a meal for us to enjoy. For me, the idea of coming to the table has taken on new significance over the past six years.
Waves of religious groups are mustering passionate get-out-the-vote efforts in the final hours before the heated midterm elections, with clergy pushing the faithful to the polls in ways that stand to aid both Republicans and Democrats.
As the 2018 midterm elections approach, the schisms suggest evangelical Christians, who make up a quarter of the population, may not be as solidly supportive of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party as many suspect.