Sojourning Socialists


Election ’08: Barack Obama has joined forces with a white socialist he calls a “good friend” — the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of “Sojourners.” He too believes in “liberation theology,” sans the black nationalism. In fact, Wallis is the white version of Jeremiah Wright, sans the black rage.

In addition to publishing “Sojourners” magazine, Wallis runs Call to Renewal — a network of liberal churches and activist groups “committed to ending poverty and racism.”

Wright once joined Wallis at the U.S. Capitol in an anti-poverty “preach-in” sponsored by Call to Renewal.

Wallis and his Washington-based operation have essentially replaced Wright and his militantly Afrocentric Chicago church, which Obama expediently dumped in the heat of the primary race after videos surfaced of his fire-breathing preacher damning America.

The avuncular, noncombative Wallis offers Obama a voting bloc that Wright could never help deliver: white Christian evangelicals, if in Birkenstocks.

At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Obama tapped Wallis to oversee the drafting of the faith-based plank of the party platform (which, by the way, champions outreach programs for “ex-offenders”).

“This is a very faith-friendly convention,” Wallis said. “I think Democrats have really gone through an important change.” But their newfound faith is not one most mainline Christians would even recognize, let alone embrace.

Like Wright and Obama, Wallis believes that biblical faith compels radical social action. Their political ministry is called the “social gospel,” but it’s really just socialism dressed up in a cheap tunic. They refuse to separate personal faith from political activism, whether at home or abroad.

In the ’80s, for example, Wallis and Wright rallied to the cause of the communist regime in Nicaragua, and protested the U.S. arming of the Contra rebels. Wallis, in fact, marshaled thousands of “Witnesses for Peace” and joined them in Nicaragua, making it known they were willing to take a bullet to stop the anti-communist insurgency.

Wallis is more eloquent than Wright, but he preaches the same anti-American message. According to discoverthenetworks.org, he once called the U.S. “the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life, the great master of humanity and history in its totalitarian claims and designs.”

Like Obama, Wallis got his start in Chicago, where he too was involved in community organizing. He forged ties with black gang leaders, including at least one known cop-killer.

While agitating in Chicago, Wallis published a newspaper called the “Post-American,” which was printed by the same radicals who put out the Black Panther paper. Now in D.C., he presides at funerals of gangbangers and runs a commune in the ghetto that romanticizes blight and mocks efforts at urban renewal.

“I don’t know which is the worst evil,” he said in a 1994 interview with the Los Angeles Times magazine, “the crackhouse or the gentrified house.”

Wallis agrees with Obama that American racism and capitalism are to blame for inner-city poverty, and echoes his oft-repeated call for “economic justice.” They share a spread-the-wealth vision, including subsidizing the working poor beyond expanded tax credits and minimum-wage hikes.

“The Bible says prosperity has to be shared,” Wallis said in a January 2000 interview with IBD. “It’s very simple.”

“So far the rising tide is lifting all the yachts, but not the boats the poor inner-city kids are in,” he said, adding that the stock market has created a “casino economy.”

Wallis likes to think of himself and his sojourners as “progressives.” But “they’re really just socialists,” said David Kelley, director of the Objectivist Center in New York.

Wallis may couch his Bolshevist views today. But in 1979, he was quoted in the journal “Mission Tracks” saying he hoped that “more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes.”

Obama is one who’s seen the light. While delivering the keynote address for Wallis at his Call to Renewal 2006 conference in Washington, he condemned the “idolatry of the free market” and professed: “I believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change.”

Wallis says Obama is the kind of leader he’s been searching for, one who’s “responsive to social movements.” “Barack Obama talks about ‘being our brother’s keeper’ and how he finds a faith that does justice to be compelling to him,” he said in a recent interview.

But it’s not just “movements” that Wallis has in mind. He recently wrote the foreword to a leftist book titled, “The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Our World.”

Wallis is also an anti-military pacifist who fasted for 47 days to protest last decade’s popular Gulf War.

Like his fellow traveler Obama, he believes 21st Century America is guilty of “structural injustice and social oppression” aimed at blacks. His Sojourners magazine features radical professor Cornel West as a contributing editor. West, a black Marxist, is working as an adviser to Obama’s campaign.

Wallis put another radical professor, James Cone, on his Sojourners editorial board. Cone is Wright’s mentor and the father of black liberation theology, a Marxist version of Christianity that worships a white-hating black Jesus.

“Together,” Cone said, “black religion and Marxist philosophy may show us a way to build a completely new society.”

Wallis, who once regularly attended black liberation churches in his hometown of Detroit, has no problem with that. He says his mission is to “sojourn with others in different faith and traditions” toward a common goal of “social justice.”

Now he’s hoping to sojourn his way into the White House with Obama, whose favorite scripture happens to be a verse from Chronicles referencing sojourners: “For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers.” (He quotes from it in his first memoir; in fact, it sits strangely alone on what should be his dedication page.)

Such foes of capitalism and apologists for communism belong in communes, not national leadership. Better they sojourn their way completely out of American politics.


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