The Seduction Of Unreason : Jim Wallis vs. the Enlightenment
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 11:25:23 AM EST
"The vision we will put forward in this book for our contemporary society is simply the content of what the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and the New Testament writers had to say.... When we come closer to the vision, our practice of citizenship is always enlivened; when we move away from it, apathy and withdrawal grow like a cancer in the body politic." [ "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and The Left Doesn't Get It", by Jim Wallis,  Page 28 ]

Jim WallisDuring the summer or 2005, at the beach, I read "God's Politics" and compiled a list of quotes, from the book, which I thought were notable. I treated the quotes as logical assertions, and strung them together as a narrative. The result was hard to distinguish from rhetoric of James Dobson or arguments of the Family Research Council and, indeed, comprised what may be the central narrative animating the modern American religious right political movement : that American society and the American moral fabric have been unraveling for decades and unnamed "secularists", liberal theologians, Liberal politicians, and American secular government itself, are to blame. The solution, per Wallis ? - Christianity, and more Christianity. Such notions, though, are not of Wallis' making - they actually are hundreds of years old and trace back to the Counter-Enlightenment.

Jim Wallis has worked hard to reassert aspects of the Christian Social Gospel tradition*, and has also endorsed positions - including a total ban on all abortions, that might dismay some of his fans and followers. But Wallis exerts a powerful sway and this week he has provoked a controversy and heated debated through a Time Magazine op-ed in which he has repeated - in a somewhat more veiled fashion - the type of assertions Wallis stated in his 2004 book "God's Politics", that "secularists", and American secular government itself, are responsible for moral and societal decay Wallis alleges to plague modern America.

I have culled the following quotes from "God's Politics" and, below, string them together into a logical narrative.

That narrative is the narrative of the Counter-Enlightenment, a reactionary tradition now approaching five centuries old and which rejects the spirit and practice of critical inquiry upon which modern human civilization is built.

"We have been buffeted by private spiritualities that have no connection to public life and a secular politics showing disdain for religion or even spiritual concerns. That leaves spirituality without social consequences and a politics with no soul. And political discourse that is disconnected from moral values quickly degenerates." [ introduction, page xxii ]

"Take back our faith from whom ?  [ enumerates list of villains ]....from liberal secularists who want to banish faith from public life and deny spiritual values to the soul of politics. And even from liberal theologians whose cultural conformity and creedal modernity serve to erode the foundations of historic Biblical faith.  " [ page 4 ]

"We contend today with both religious and secular fundamentalists, neither of whom must have their way. One group would impose the doctrines of a political theocracy on their fellow citizens, while the other would deprive the public square of needed moral and spiritual values shaped by faith."

"The lack of vision in public life, and the emptying out of values that visionless leadership creates lead to a politics of complaint. In reaction to politics without values people begin to complain - and there is much to complain about. Moral cohesion unravels, social values crumble, public policies lose their connection to the common good, families lose stability, neighborhoods lose community, leadership loses integrity, poor families and children lose everything - and complaint becomes our dominant political discourse.... [ page 26 ]

"The vision we will put forward in this book for our contemporary society is simply the content of what the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and the New Testament writers had to say [ note: so Wallis' vision is clearly derived from his interpretation of  Christianity ] - about our public commitments, our common life, and the social bonds we share in community........The vision is there and merely awaits us. When we move towards our prophetic and democratic visions, slaveries are ended, civil rights achieved, freedom established, compassion implemented, justice advanced, human rights defended, and peace made....When we come closer to the vision, our practice of citizenship is always enlivened; when we move away from it, apathy and withdrawal grow like a cancer in the body politic." [ page 28 ]

"If the Democrats could take the opportunity of a political defeat to really reassess their language and style, the way they morally frame public policy issues, and their cultural disconnect with too many Americans... conventional wisdom suggests that the antidote to religious fundamentalism is more secularism. But that is a very big mistake. The best response to bad religion is better religion, not secularism." [ page 66 ]

"Today there are new fundamentalists in the land. These are the "secular fundamentalists" many of whom attack all political figures who dare to speak from their religious convictions. From the Anti-Defamation League, to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, to the ACLU and some of the political left's most religion-fearing publications, a cry of alarm has gone up in response to anyone who has the audacity to be religious in public. These secular skeptics often display an amazing lapse of historical memory when they suggest that religious language in politics is contrary to the American "ideal". The truth is just the opposite....

Secular fundamentalists make a fundamental mistake. They believe that the separation of church and state ought to mean the separation of faith from public life.....

The secular fundamentalists tell us that religion should be restricted to one's church and family. No talk of faith, they seem to be saying, ought to be allowed to seep into the public arena for fear of violating the First Amendment or alienating the nonreligious." [ pages 68-70 ]

Stringing together the statements above as a logical construct we get something like this :

"Without vision - which is derived from the Bible - and moral values to inform public life ( also Biblically derived ) - politics and society fall apart.

Politics and society have been falling apart for a long time now, because secularism has banished faith from the public sphere. "[ secularists ] would deprive the public square of needed moral and spiritual values shaped by faith"  

All manner of social ills have ensued : "Moral cohesion unravels, social values crumble, public policies lose their connection to the common good, families lose stability, neighborhoods lose community, leadership loses integrity, poor families and children lose everything"

In fact, liberals have stolen our faith. For it has been under their banner - the banner of modernity and secularism, and by their shock troops - the secular fundamentalists, that faith has been chased from American public life :  Liberal secularists have pushed faith from the public sphere and - as a consequence - "apathy and withdrawal" from the public sphere have grown in the American body politic "like a cancer" and our national discourse has degenerated.

The narrative, above, which is constructed from statements Jim Wallis has made in his highly popular book "God's Politics", is at its core the same narrative employed by Christian nationalists such as Tim LaHaye, co-author of the "Left Behind" book series and founder of the Council On National Policy, and James Dobson, founder of Focus On The Family.

But, the roots of such thinking go deeper, and whether he is aware of it or not, Jim Wallis' claims about alleged evils of "secularism" and alleged moral and societal damage he attributes to  "secularists" are part of the grand current of a conspiratorial vein of thinking that harkens all the way back to the enemies o the Enlightenment who saw reason, and critical inquiry, as a corrupting societal force.

To quote Richard Wolin, from "The Seduction Of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance With Facism From Nietzsche To Postmodernism" ( Princeton University Press ) :

A new breed of anti-philosophe emerged to contest the epistemological and political heresies proposed by the Party of Reason--the apostles of Counter-Enlightenment. Relying mainly on theological arguments, the anti-philosophes cautioned against the spirit of critical inquiry, intellectual hubris, and the misuse of reason. Instead, they emphasized the need to preserve order at all costs. They viewed altar and throne as the twin pillars of political stability. They believed that any challenge to their unquestioned primacy threatened to undermine the entire social edifice. They considered self-evident the view--one in effect shared by many of the philosophes themselves--that men and women were fundamentally incapable of self-governance. Sin was the alpha and omega of the human condition. One needed both unquestioned authority and the threat of eternal damnation to prevent humanity from overreaching its inherently fallible nature. Unfettered employment of reason as recommended by the philosophes was an invitation to catastrophe. As one of the leading spokesmen of the Counter-Enlightenment, Antoine de Rivarol (one of the major sources for Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France), remarked in 1789, "From the day when the monarch consults his subjects, sovereignty is as though suspended . . . When people cease to esteem, they cease to obey. A general rule: peoples whom the king consults begin with vows and end with wills of their own."

Rivarol and company held "philosophy" responsible for the corruption of morals, carnal licentiousness, depravity, political decay, economic decline, poor harvests, and the precipitous rise in food prices. The social cataclysms of revolutionary France--mob violence, dechristianization, anarchy, civil war, terror, and political dictatorship--convinced the anti-philosophes of their uncanny clairvoyance.

In the end, the arguments of Jim Wallis - on the alleged breakdown of American society, are largely or wholly unsubstantiated. Wallis' claims on the alleged breakdown of American society mirror identical arguments, advanced by the leaders of the American Christian right, that attribute alleged rising societal pathologies - murder, violent crime, teen pregancy, and divorce, to name a few measures of societal pathology commonly cited - to an alleged removal of "God" from the public sphere.

Such claims have nothing to do with actual facts though ;  until the last year or two, the US national murder rate and violent crime rate have been declining since around 1992. Murder and violent crime are not the only indices that buck claims made by Wallis and the Christian Right. The US national Divorce rate has been dropping since the late 1980's and the US state with the lowest divorce rate, Massachusetts, now a level of divorce comparable to that of the 1940's. More than divorce, teen pregnancy has also been dropping steadily since the early 1990's.

Claims made by Jim Wallis and the American Christian right have little to do with facts, logic, reason analysis, science, or methodical attempts to get a bearing on societal trends and how to set public policy to push trends in desired directions :

Jim Wallis and many leaders  - James Dobson, Tim LaHaye, and others - are part of the Counter-Enlightenment tradition, and it is important to recognize this, for many reasons.

Until that underlying fact is widely acknowledged, American public discourse will find it difficult, if not impossible, to recognize the radical ideological drift in American society. Writing on the Christian Coalition - powered 1994 GOP takeover of the US Congress and Senate, Time Magazine attributed one, and only one, think tank as a seminal influence on the newly politicized Christian right movement that had so jarringly flexed its electoral muscles : The Chalcedon Foundation.

RJ Rushdoony, key Christian Reconstructionist theoretician and Chalcedon Foundation founder, was a Holocaust denier and also rejected the Copernican mode of the Solar system, according to Richard Neuhaus, to hold that the Earth does not rotate and is orbited by the Sun, and that all the known galaxies in the heavens rotate around the Earth once per day.

Rushdoony's pre-Copernican views - known by some as "Geocentrism" -  were far from an aberration. The current Vice President of the Chalcedon Foundation is a leading Geocentrist, and this Pre-Copernican notion, not too different in a way from the beliefs of Americans who think the US lunar expeditions were faked, has its hooks deep in US culture, as a recent scandal has demonstrated. A memo alleging the theory of Evolution to be rooted in a Jewish Kabbalist conspiracy was recently circulated among at least four US State legislative bodies, and that memo referenced a website which held that the Earth does not rotate and lies at the center of the Universe. Lest that incident be cast as an abberation, consider : Tom Willis, head of the Mid-Atlantic Creation Research Association and Geocentrism theorist, headed the re-writing of the Kansas State school curriculum, including the expurgation of mentions of Evolutionary theory from the curriculum,  in 1999.

Jim Wallis, and Sojourners, are an odd ideological hybrid - one foot in the stream of the American political and social progressive movement, another in a reactionary, and some would say bigoted, hundreds of years old assault on the Enlightenment and the enterprise of rational inquiry that has led, among other things, to the development of the computer on which I am writing this, the microwave oven that will heat the leftovers I will eat for breakfast, and the car I will drive when I go to the movies tonight.

Jim Wallis uses all those conveniences of modern civilization too, and reliance on the fruits of the Enlightenment confers, some might suggest, a certain responsibility to acknowledge and employ the spirit and practice of empirical inquiry that has made those modern technological contrivances possible in the first place. The selective application of empirical inquiry, and the shift into magical thinking without first making an honest effort to see if empirical inquiry will suffice, reduces us in the end to beliefs and approaches to the world much more absurd than Cargo Cultists who, at least, had the virtue of consistency.

And, from his pulpit on the national stage, Jim Wallis has the responsibility to know that.

Note :

Jim Wallis has worked hard to reassert aspects of the Christian Social Gospel tradition, a tradition that has been less active in recent decades, some would say due, in part, to the efforts of the American right to attack Mainline Protestant denominations and to corresponding attacks on liberal and "Liberation" theological  traditions within the Catholic Church.




Display:
But, someone needed to do it. The ideological roots of Jim Wallis' attacks on secularism are clear.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 12:07:05 PM EST
Thanks Bruce, you've put forth very important concepts in your usual well researched and lucid style, and I'm going to share this as widely as possible.

by Vesica on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 12:30:05 PM EST
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I was working on something else while the controversy broke out over Wallis' Time Magazine piece. I got really annoyed at the debate because many in it seemed to lack detailed awareness of Wallis.... In all his glory.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 12:47:59 PM EST
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In fact, I already have done.

Bruce, I'm going to say it again: marvelously good post.

by moiv on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 11:48:14 PM EST
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More people need to read that piece of yours.

There seems to be a lot of denial about Wallis' beliefs. Many people tried to characterize my piece as some sort of vicious character assassination.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 08:46:22 AM EST
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Damn good piece.

As a citizen who just wants to worship freely, I will not accept a left-wing theocracy in place of a right-wing theocracy. I want no theocracy at all. Government should not be in the business of legislating the means to salvation.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 12:22:02 PM EST

It was shockingly quick to write - the themes have been percolating in my head since I read Wallis' book.

I'll write more on this when I get the chance.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 12:51:35 PM EST
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In fact, liberals have stolen our faith. For it has been under their banner - the banner of modernity and secularism, and by their shock troops - the secular fundamentalists, that faith has been chased from American public life :  Liberal secularists have pushed faith from the public sphere and - as a consequence - "apathy and withdrawal" from the public sphere have grown in the American body politic "like a cancer" and our national discourse has degenerated.

That quote could have come directly, word for word, from a Tony Perkins "Washington, DC Update."

According to this line of conjuring, God sounds awfully easy to push around. No wonder he needs his own "shock troops" to defend him.

by moiv on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 02:07:55 PM EST

That last paragraph wasn't Wallis but my restatement of his position, from the various quotes I showcase in my piece.

I posted part of this essay at StreetProphets, and it is causing a good deal of cognitive dissonance.

It should.

One person quibbled with my "decontextualization" of the Wallis quotes.

My response :

Dr. Bruce Prescott was at a meeting with Jim Wallis and other evangelical leaders at the inception of the "Faith Based Initiative", in 1996. As Prescott describes it, most of the other evangelical leaders were dubious about the proposed initiative, but Prescott says Wallis stated, more or less, that he didn't give a damn about church state separation, he cared more about people.

The first time Wallis left me disappointed was in April 1996. Memory of that disappointment counts double because my leaving Houston and going to Waco to a conference gathering key evangelical leaders to discuss the implications of welfare reform and "Charitable Choice" left my wife deeply disappointed with me. The conference was held on her birthday. By conference end, it was apparent that Jim Wallis was virtually alone in his support of "Charitable Choice." The conference ended with Wallis saying, "I'm not worried about separation of church and state, I'm worried about the poor. I'll leave it to you to worry about separation of church and state."

The second time Wallis left me disappointed was in the fall of 1999. He came to Oklahoma City to speak and I arranged to have him as a guest on my radio program. During the radio interview we discussed "Charitable Choice" and I raised most of the standard objections (here's a link to an article by Melissa Rogers that I think expresses those concerns most succinctly). It was obvious that Wallis had prepared an answer to all the standard objections. He gave plausible arguments against some concerns and deflected the most cogent arguments with humor. So, after discussing with him the need for the Church to provide a prophetic voice that challenges social injustice (a core value of Call to Renewal), I asked him, "What could undermine the integrity of the Church's witness more than easy money and loose accountability." Wallis was speechless.

"Easy money and loose accountability," that is what faith-based initiatives are, in essence. If the devil himself designed a government program to encourage corruption and undermine the integrity of the church's witness, could he devise a more effective plan?

Well, the Faith Based Initiative hasn't been especially good for people, and Wallis hasn't backed off from his support yet. He may do that but so far he hasn't as far as I'm aware.

As far as your "contextualization" argument goes, it's sharply undercut by Wallis' stance towards the 2006 election, which Wallis declared, on the new Sojourners/Beliefnet blog several days after the election, to be a victory against the "secular left".

Talk To Action has a section devoted to "Demonizing Secularism" with a good 30-40 articles, with perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 devoted to Wallis in some way :

http://www.talk2action.org/?op=search&topic=anti_secularism

But, a number of the quotes I cite are unbroken.

Please, explain to me how the following could be "contextualized" :

"Take back our faith from whom ?  [ enumerates list of villains ]....from liberal secularists who want to banish faith from public life and deny spiritual values to the soul of politics. And even from liberal theologians whose cultural conformity and creedal modernity serve to erode the foundations of historic Biblical faith.  " [ Jim Wallis, from "God's Politics"


by Bruce Wilson on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 03:50:20 PM EST
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since the 70s. The unifying theme of Wallis' work, consistently, is that he is the leader. Positions change. He was actively anti-gay when I first ran across him; can't rally a crowd of his liberal Christian set doing that anymore, so he has a different tack, more or less.

Just always remember: Jim Wallis is Daddy. You'll be fine.
Can It Happen Here?
by janinsanfran on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 06:02:14 PM EST

Exactly. Was Jim Wallis ever properly innoculated against the sins of power ? I have reason to wonder.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 10:42:50 PM EST
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Deserves wide distribution. This is something that has been bothering me more and more. But I couldn't have documented it as well or said it as eloquently. Calling attention to Wallis' hostility to secularism is important and helps to explain his recurrent complaints about the "hostility" of secularists in spite of the lack of evidence. People who have an authoritarian mindset see themselves as quite righteous (and even as victims) and project their hostility onto others.  

by Psyche on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 11:09:31 PM EST

I'm assuming he isn't a minister with a congregation.  

Are there particular funders who've been with him since the better days of Sojourners in the 1980s?  Have some of them parted ways, as he's moved to the right?  Or have some newer funders drawn him in the direction he's been going for the last ten years or so?

by Nell on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 05:39:24 PM EST

But I suspect his positional shifts have something to do with the political rise of the US religious roght in the 1990's.

In '90 or '92, Wallis came out with "The Soul Of Politics" :

In that book, he discussed world travels, meetings with aboriginal religious leaders etc. His religious sensibility was expansive.

By 2004, for Jim Wallis, it was all evangelical Christianity -  24-7

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 10:41:25 PM EST
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I had noticed the same shift.  

My primary exposure to Wallis until the last few years was through his role two decades ago in developing the original Pledge of Resistance (against US intervention against Nicaragua).

That history, and my lack of detailed knowledge of his activities and positions, and the fact that he hadn't been on my radar again until 2003, made me reluctant until very recently to voice what I cannot help but hear in his criticisms of the 'secular left' and 'Democrats hostile to religion' whom he refuses to name:

Anti-Semitism.

I'm a southerner, and I've been politically active on the left for a long time.  When (overtly) right-wing Protestants rail against 'secular humanists' and the 'secular left', I know full well what that's code for.  Why someone is being allowed to throw the same code around in Democratic Party circles without being called on it is beyond me.

In fact, I believe he is being called on it, by the very people that he then accuses of 'hostility to religion.'

I wish that many of the Dems who appear to think Wallis is such a constructive force in the party would watch Wallis' interview with Jon Stewart (late 2004 or early 2005, when he was touring to promote God's Politics). JS had his number.

by Nell on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 01:36:41 PM EST
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I'd love to watch the segment that you're referring to.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 12:19:59 AM EST
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Video here.

I'm pretty sure it was from December 2004; Comedy Central doesn't date their clips. I was still stinging from the huge argument I had with a friend right after the election about Wallis' very objectionable column that seemed to me to demand that the Democratic Party turn itself into something that it shouldn't be, and to do the job that liberal Christians themselves have to do -- in the process marginalizing non-religious and non-Christian Democrats within the party. I'll find the link to that column if it doesn't ring any bells.

Stewart asks an excellent question that Wallis dodges: "Is the reason we don't hear more about non-right-wing evangelicals because of the media, or because the numbers aren't as big as you think they are?"  Wallis implicitly acknowledges it's the latter because his response is to talk about movement-building.

Something I hadn't remembered is that Wallis starts out saying something that is just the opposite of the tack he takes in the book and the Democratic workshops and the op-eds: "Religious people must make clear that religion does not have a monopoly on morality."  He gave the example of MLK gathering representatives from many faiths, "and agnostics" (still unwilling to grant morality or even existence of atheists in the civil rights movement): "Everyone there felt a part of the conversation."

Well, clearly everyone doesn't feel like a part of the conversation when Wallis speaks lately, so what does he imagine the difference to be?

It's when he's not stressing the shared values and the issues evangelical Protestants and the non-religious can work on together, but blaming the non-religious, that the conversation stops or turns hostile and counter-productive.

Stewart needles him comedically a couple of times, and saves the best for the ends.
He paraphrases what Wallis said at the beginning (which is not the message I'm getting from Wallis' writing, but which very definitely is the message of non-Christian liberals to Wallis):
"Faith without works is nothing. And works without faith ... is also pretty good!"

by Nell on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 01:23:53 PM EST
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I am uncomfortable with the tenor of this piece.  It seems a bit over the top to tar Wallis with the tradition of the Counter Enlightenment.  I doubt you could catch him quoting Russell Kirk, let alone De Maistre. And I can't see putting him in the same slot as Dobson and LeHaye!
     To be sure Wallis takes militant separationists to task, but that is a far cry from opposing the spirits of humanism or free inquiry -which, so far as I know - he never does.
      My sense is that Wallis' main thrust is to defang the whited sepulchures and false prophets of the Right. In that I wish him well and condider him an ally. 

by dickmulliken on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 04:53:02 PM EST
the first few chapters support Bruce's point.

What Wallis may "seem" to you, is not necessarily what he is when you read him.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:57:40 PM EST
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I believe that he does more than oppose the right. I believe that he is part of the right. That does not mean that he endorses godless, atheist capitalist such as the late Milton Friedman, but he does oppose many liberal issues that concern me, such as reproductive freedom. A few months, I took all of his books out of my library. I gave them to my right wing congregation's library.

by TedMichaelMorgan on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:53:38 PM EST
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Even though I thought the title to be a bit sketchy.

But "God's Politics" - about a decade later - was absurdly pretentious, I thought. There are so many religious leaders on the Christian right who claim to speak for God, and those very claims are a key problem in my opinion.

The presumption of divine authority seems to me to be antagonistic to pluralist democracy.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 01:44:20 AM EST
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For a long time, I have wondered why people take Jim Wallis to be either progressive or liberal. I have felt this way from the time I read his "Agenda for Biblical People." I like the man. I appreciate his ministry, but he does not voice my outlook. Post-modernism is not a coherent notion (for me); it has many forms. Foucault makes sense. The Mars Hill crowd does not impress me.

by TedMichaelMorgan on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:46:25 PM EST
At least or his aggressive anti-war and anti-poverty stances, and those are major.

But Wallis seems to talk very little about reproductive rights. One take I've heard is that US religious left leaders - or what passes for that - tend to be stuck in the 1960's or 1970's.


by Bruce Wilson on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 01:37:54 AM EST
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Wallis does not talk about reproductive rights because he does not believe in them.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 02:16:22 AM EST
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Yes, that is a major problem I have with him. His smugness is another. I agree that he is not much better than Dobson.

by TedMichaelMorgan on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 03:20:16 AM EST
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on many, many things. There really is no comparison.

But Wallis's reactionary postions on reproductive rights and homosexuality, and dubous stances on important matters of separation of church and state -- do set him apart from most religious progressives.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 03:46:26 AM EST
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I do not consider him a religious progressive. He may in many ways be a liberal Democrat.

by TedMichaelMorgan on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 03:53:09 AM EST
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aren't they?  I might add, I don't see him as religiously analagous to Dobson either.  These kinds of comparisons deserve to be far more specific.  

I find it rarely helps us understand what the problem is, when we say that one person or group is just like another -- right away, it is evident that they aren't.  Where analogies are drawn, it is best to be as specific as possible. Then we can say that Wallis has religious and or political view that are indistinguishable from Dobson in several ways -- and name them. That is far more powerful, fair, and ultimately persuasive.  

For example, Moiv reported here that Wallis participated in a small conference sponsored by the neoconservative Ethics and Public Policy Center in 1996, and the result was an antiabortion manifesto which Wallis signed with several dozen leaders of the religious right. The document called for the criminalization of abortion. So. We can fairly say that Wallis certainly shares views on abortion with the likes of Frank Pavone and Ralph Reed.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 12:11:37 PM EST
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Feminists and LGBT can't support Wallis because he is fundamentally against their liberties. I daresay Wallis is more of a challenge to the liberal denominations than the Dobsons of the world, because Wallis has the potential to reassure moderates that they need not listen to the voices of women and gays in their church.

by NancyP on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 12:57:26 PM EST
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COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

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