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Jim Wallis

A self-described activist preacher and the founder of the publication Sojourners, Jim Wallis has long championed the cause of communism. Forgiving its brutal standard-bearers in Vietnam and Cambodia the most abominable of atrocities in the 1970s, Wallis was unsparing in his execration of American military efforts. Demanding greater levels of “social justice” in the United states, he was silent on the subject of the murderous rampages of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge. Very much to the contrary, several Sojourners editorials attempted to exculpate the Khmer Rouge of the charges of genocide, instead shifting blame squarely onto the United States.

Expressing in 1979 his hope that “more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes,” Wallis blamed America entirely for the political tensions of the Cold War era. “At each step in the Cold War,” he wrote in November 1982, “the U.S. was presented with a choice between very different but equally plausible interpretations of Soviet intentions, each of which would have led to very different responses. At every turn, U.S. policy-makers have chosen to assume the very worst about their Soviet counterparts.”

In the 1980s Wallis embarked on an editorial crusade in Sojourners to undercut public support for a confrontational U.S. foreign policy toward the spread of communism in Central America. He published bitter denunciations of the American government’s sponsorship of anti-communist Contra rebels against Nicaragua’s Sandinista dictatorship, and condemned the United States for waging an “undeclared war” against “the people of Nicaragua.”

To this day, Wallis remains fiercely opposed to free markets. In many interviews, he has stressed his belief that capitalist systems “have failed the poor and they have failed the earth.” Moreover, he depicts America as the central cause of human suffering around the world. Asked in a January 2003 interview about the then-looming Iraq War, Wallis stated that because the United States had previously supported undemocratic regimes, it now had no right to preemptively oppose one in Iraq. “Saddam Hussein is an evil man,” Wallis said, “but so are many rulers around the world. Other human rights violators just as bad have been on the U.S. government’s payroll.… We have a history here that isn’t very admirable.”

On June 28, 2006, Barack Obama spoke at a Sojourners-sponsored Call to Renewal Conference, where he identified Jim Wallis as “my friend.”

On March 20, 2008, Wallis wrote a piece about Obama’s then-recent speech on race, in which the presidential candidate had addressed the controversy that arose over the racially charged remarks of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Posted on Obama’s campaign website, Wallis’ piece read, in part, as follows:
“It was an amazing day, and, we may look back to conclude it was a historic day. Before Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday, after the now infamous statements from his former pastor, the issue seemed to be a test of him. But after what may go down as one of the most significant addresses ever given about the history and future of race in America, the issue may now be a test of us. The examination of a candidate was transformed this week into an examination of a nation….

“Every American needs to watch and listen to Barack Obama’s speech about the future that the U.S. could have…. After the constant replaying of the same video tapes [of Rev. Wright’s sermons] … we listened to an invitation to turn the page and move forward….

“This was a speech that actually posited new hope for opportunity and equality, and even the beginning of the kind of racial reconciliation and unity which few have dared to speak of since the end of the civil rights movement…. The most honest and compelling speech about race in decades could open the promise of a deeper national conversation about our racial past and future than we have had for some time….”

To view a comprehensive profile and numerous additional resources about Jim Wallis, click here.



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