21 January 2005

Faith, private and personal

Yesterday, I caught the end of Terry Gross's interview with Rev. Jim Wallis of the religious group Sojourners. He had some wonderful points about religion and society--many very different from my own.

He has spoken with Bush and has concerns about the application of his faith:

[A mis-representation of Christianity has taken place] ... I wonder sometimes how Jesus has become pro-rich, pro-war, and only pro-American.
The President's faith is very real ... but I do question his theology.

Wallis contrasted self-help Methodists to social reform Methodists and discussed the social reforms of John Wesley [Wikipedia] that led to the end of slavery and the creation of child labor laws.

The great heresy in America in the 20th century was the privatizing of faith. ... God is personal but never private.

Wallis then pointed out that the issues of abortion and homosexuality are only a small part of the landscape of morality and that they shouldn't push out all other discussions--most importantly that of poverty. He emphasized that left and right must find common ground on these two issues, and said that those on the right who can not compromise are an extreme minority (no matter how often Billy Graham speaks for Bush). His greatest concern, and the one for which I also have the most sympathies, is for the poor of the world and our moral responsibility towards them.

There was that kind of hope at the beginning [of the Bush Whitehouse] but then it disappeared with budget and domestic priorities that were focused much more on tax cuts for the wealthy than serious help for low-income families trying to escape poverty.
[ posted by sstrader on 21 January 2005 at 11:58:03 AM in Culture & Society ]