WashPost Magazine Hypes Jim Wallis and Trend of Democrats Getting Religion
Sunday's Washington Post Magazine carried a story on how Democrats can close the "God gap" in national politics, or more precisely, it publicized the man trying to close that gap for liberals. It's titled "The Gospel According to Jim Wallis." The subtitle is meant to be amusing: "For Democrats to win back the White House, they may well have to rely on the power of the Almighty. And it's not Bill Clinton." On the opposite page is an illustration of a Christ-like figure pulling open his vestments to reveal a red-white-and-blue Democratic donkey.
The most outrageous part of David Paul Kuhn's article comes right at the beginning, as Wallis presents himself as the defender of the Bible against all those conservative Christians who want to scissor its integrity to bits:
JIM WALLIS IS PREACHING ABOUT A BIBLE TORN APART. Wallis tells the crowd at the Seattle Pacific University chapel that when he was in seminary, a fellow student took hold of an old Bible and cut out "every single reference to the poor."
"And when we were done, that Bible was literally in shreds. It was falling apart in my hands. It was a Bible full of holes. I would take it out to preach and say, 'Brothers and sisters, this is our American Bible.'"
Wallis pauses. "It's like someone has stolen our faith. And when someone tries to hijack your faith, you know what? There comes a time when you have to take it back!"
For nearly two years, Wallis has traveled across the country attempting to do just that. And some would argue that those efforts have begun to bear fruit, as demonstrated by gains in the recent elections. But Wallis, America's leading progressive evangelical, contends that the issue is far larger than any one election, that the Christian conservative movement has remade Christ in its own image. "What's at stake here is not politics or social action," he insists, "but the very integrity of the word of God."
Kuhn fails to challenge Wallis on the glaring flaws of his argument. Doesn't the religious left seem to cut out the verses of the Bible that condemn homosexuality, or counsel to respect life in the womb? Wallis has been making his liberal argument for a very long time. I have a paperback copy of his 1981 book The Call to Conversion: Recovering the Gospel For These Times. Where is "abortion" in the index? Nowhere. Where is "homosexuality" in the index? Nowhere. But, unsurprisingly, the same Wallis who complained that conservatives cast Jesus in their mirror image has constructed an anti-capitalist Jesus that crushes free enterprise. Page 59:
Jesus is God made poor. His coming was prophesied to bring social revolution, and his kingdom would turn things upside down: The mighty would be brought low, the rich sent away empty, the poor exalted, the hungry satisfied (Luke 1:52-53). Jesus identified himself with the weak, the outcast, the downtrodden. His kingdom undermines all economic systems that reward the rich and punish the poor.
In his role as Democratic Party political guru, Wallis routinely associates supporting government-mandated redistribution of wealth with a Christian commitment to the poor, and by contrast, conservatives who opposes the socialist-revolutionary Wallis line are not Christian. But if you "gave at the office" through taxes withdrawn, did you really give willingly, with a heart for God? Does anyone enter Heaven by having their belongings confiscated by the State?
Kuhn touches briefly on just how radical Wallis is, noting that in the late 1960s, he was "reading Ho Chi Minh, Karl Marx, Che Guevara, 'all the luminaries of the time. And I was not finally satisfied with them,' because as Wallis recalls, he came to believe that the leftist activist creeds did not speak to the spiritual." Che and Ho were or are "luminaries"? In any time, they were communist oppressors. It's yet more proof that some have never learned to oppose or even dislike communism, despite its dramatic decline.