Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis

: Photo from Creative Commons / Author of Photo: The Center for Interfaith Relations


* Activist preacher and editor of the leftwing Christian magazine “Sojourners”
* Democratic Party operative
* Apologist for Communist atrocities in Cambodia and Vietnam
* Dedicated foe of capitalism
* Contends that Biblical scripture calls for large central government to aid the poor

Background & Radical Roots

Jim Wallis was born into an evangelical family in Detroit, Michigan on June 4, 1948. In the 1960s, his religious views drove him to join the civil-rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Also in the Sixties, Wallis attended Michigan State University (MSU), where he served as president of his campus’ Students for a Democratic Society chapter.

After graduating from MSU in 1970, Wallis attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, a conservative Christian seminary. While at Trinity, Wallis in 1971 founded an anti-capitalist magazine called the Post-American, which identified wealth redistribution and government-managed economies as vital to the pursuit of “social justice.” The periodical’s stated mission was “to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world.”

Because of Wallis’ reputation as a radical protester and critic of American foreign policy, Trinity’s administrators, fearful that the young man’s strident activism might alienate potential donors, pressured him in the early 1970s to leave the school.

Establishing a Commune with “Kind of Marxist” Values

Wallis did in fact leave Trinity, and then he promptly helped establish a commune where he was able to live out his “kind of Marxist” beliefs. He also stepped up his participation in antiwar and civil rights protests, resulting in 22 arrests for acts of civil disobedience.

Moving to D.C. at the Urging of IPS Co-Founder Richard Barnet

At the urging of Institute for Policy Studies co-founder Richard Barnet, Wallis and his Post-American colleagues moved their commune’s base of operation to Washington, D.C. in 1975, and they gave it the new name “Sojourners.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “They lived and worshipped communally and were active in neighborhood and national activism, ranging from after-school programs to antiwar and antipoverty protests.” Also at that time, the young radicals changed the name of their publication from Post-American to Sojourners, and it became well-known as a monthly magazine covering faith, politics and culture. Richard Barnet served as a contributing editor to the magazine.

Condemning America, Defending the Communist Enemy

In parallel with his magazine’s stridently antiwar position during the 1970s, Wallis was ever-prepared to turn a blind eye to the sins of communism. Forgiving its brutal standard-bearers in Vietnam and Cambodia the most abominable of atrocities, he was unsparing in his execration of American military efforts. Demanding greater levels of “social justice” in the U.S., he was silent on the subject of the murderous rampages of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge. Very much to the contrary, in fact, several Sojourners editorials attempted to exculpate the Khmer Rouge of the charges of genocide, instead shifting blame squarely onto the United States.

Giving voice to Sojourners’ intense anti-Americanism, Wallis 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.”

Following the 1979 refugee crisis in Vietnam, Wallis lashed out at the desperate masses fleeing North Vietnam’s communist forces by boat. Those refugees, as Wallis saw them, had been “inoculated” by capitalist influences during the war and were absconding “to support their consumer habit in other lands.” Wallis then admonished critics against pointing to the boat people to “discredit” the righteousness of Vietnam’s newly victorious Communist regime.

Wallis’ Growing Stature as a Leftist Thought Leader

In 1979, Time magazine hailed Wallis as one of the “50 Faces for America’s Future.”

Hoping That “More Christians Will Come to View the World Through Marxist Eyes”

That same year, the journal Mission Tracks published an interview with Wallis, in which the activist evangelical expressed his hope that “more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes.”

Blaming America for Cold War Tensions

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.”

Supporting Nicaragua’s Marxist Sandinistas

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 Reagan administration’s sponsorship of anti-Communist Contra rebels against Nicaragua’s Marxist Sandinista dictatorship. After a 1983 visit to Nicaragua in the company of the pro-Sandinista group Witness for Peace, Wallis and then-Sojourners associate editor Joyce Hollyday co-authored several articles in which they whitewashed the brutality of the Sandinista government while condemning the United States for waging an “undeclared war” against “the people of Nicaragua.”

Under the sway of leftist evangelical movements like liberation theology, Wallis invited the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) — the public relations arm of the Marxist El Salvadoran terrorist group FMLN — to take part in a number of initiatives with Sojourners. Among these initiatives was the so-called “Pledge Of Resistance,” a blueprint for mobilized protests and acts of civil disobedience to be carried out in the event that the United States were to launch an invasion of Nicaragua.

Wallis later expanded the Pledge to include opposition to any U.S. military action anywhere in Central America. It was not until 1999 that he would admit to second thoughts about his unquestioning support for the Sandinista regime. In a 1999 editorial decrying both the U.S. bombing campaign against Iraq and its sanctions against Saddam Hussein‘s government in Baghdad, Wallis conceded: “The Sandinistas were responsible for serious mistakes and violations of human rights, which led to their downfall no less than U.S. aggression did.”

Citing the Failures of Both Capitalism & Communism

Wallis has long been fiercely opposed to capitalism and the free market economic system. In many interviews, he has stressed his belief that capitalism has proven to be an unmitigated failure. He also acknowledges, however, that communism/socialism has failed to fulfill its promises. As Wallis said on one occasion: “Our systems have failed the poor and they have failed the earth. They have failed the creation. I was with a group of Australian economists recently, and we were discussing the breakdown of the paradigms that have governed the world economically. That both macrosystems, capitalism and communism, have failed, not just one, not communism only, but also capitalism. That’s one advantage of living in my neighborhood. There are no illusions there about how well this system is working. I see the consequence every day in the lives of people of how this system has also failed.”

Call to Renewal

In 1995 Wallis founded Call to Renewal, a faith-based anti-poverty organization committed to advocating, in religious terms, for leftist economic agendas such as tax hikes and wealth redistribution to promote “social justice.”

Asserting That U.S. Had No Moral Standing to Invade Iraq

Asked in a January 2003 interview with the Harvard Political Review about the then-looming U.S. invasion of Iraq, Wallis stated that because the America had previously supported undemocratic regimes, it now had no right to preemptively oppose one in Iraq. “Saddam Hussein is an evil man,” Wallis conceded, “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.”

Claiming That Democrats, Not Republicans, Hold Values Consistent with Christian Teachings

More than a mere religious leader, Wallis, a registered and committed Democrat, is also an adroit political operative, publicly portraying himself as a politically neutral religious figure whose overriding allegiance is to God rather than to any political ideology or party. Always with the disclaimer that neither major political party can claim to authoritatively represent the values of religious faith, Wallis contends that Republican policies in particular tend to be inconsistent with Christian teachings.

In 2004, Wallis was involved with the initiative from which Faith in Public Life — a pro-Democrat activist organization claiming allegiance to Christian principles — would be established in 2006.

After the 2004 presidential election, Wallis acknowledged that he had voted for the Democratic candidate, John Kerry. Owing to the popular post-election consensus among Democrats that their defeat could be attributed to their party’s disconnect from religious voters, Wallis became an overnight icon within Democratic ranks. Indeed, Democrat strategists and politicians turned to him as the man who could most effectively teach them how to sell their party to the coveted religious demographic. In January 2005, Senate Democrats invited Wallis to address them in a private discussion. Meanwhile, some fifteen Democratic members of the U.S. House made Wallis the guest of honor at a breakfast confab that focued, according to The New York Times, on strategies for instilling support for the Democratic Party into the hearts of the religious faithful.

In a March 2005 interview with Mother Jones magazine, Wallis articulated his belief that conservatives’ understanding of religious values was myopic and deeply flawed:

“The Right is comfortable with the language of religion, values, God talk. So much so that they sometimes claim to own that territory. Or own God. But then they narrow everything down to one or two issues: abortion and gay marriage.

“I am an evangelical Christian, and I can’t ignore thousands of verses in the Bible on [another] subject, which is poverty. I say at every stop, ‘Fighting poverty’s a moral value, too.’ There’s a whole generation of young Christians who care about the environment. That’s their big issue. Protecting God’s creation, they would say, is a moral value, too. And, for a growing number of Christians, the ethics of war—how and when we go to war, whether we tell the truth about going to war—is a religious and moral issue as well.”

In July 2005, Wallis was the keynote speaker at a private assembly whose purpose was to create a new “Network of Spiritual Progressives.” The conference was organized jointly by Rabbi Michael Lerner and University of California Professor Michael Nagler, and was sponsored by a number of faith-based leftwing organizations, most notably Lerner’s Sojourners community. In the course of his talk, Wallis derided the religious right and asserted that the left should do everything in its power to “take our religion back,” so that religion could then serve “not as a wedge, but as a bridge” between people and reclaim its rightful place at “the moral center of our public life.” Claiming also that the moral “agenda” of religious conservatives was restricted only to the issues of abortion and gay marriage, Wallis charged that such conservatives generally ignored matters like poverty, environmental protection, and the “illegal and immoral” war in Iraq. Moreover, he lamented that conservatives had wrongly portrayed Jesus as “pro-rich, pro-war, and pro-American.”

On December 14, 2005, Wallis organized an event where some 115 religious activists protested a House Republican budget’s planned spending cuts (of about $50 billion over a five-year period) by refusing to clear the entrance to a congressional office building. “These are political choices being made that are hurting low-income people,” said Wallis. “Don’t make them the brunt of your deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility.” Wallis and his fellow demonstrators were arrested for their actions.

Speaker at Gamaliel Foundation Event

In December 2005, Wallis spoke alongside Jeremiah Wright and ACORN founder Wade Rathke at the Gamaliel Foundation‘s National Leadership Assembly marking its tenth anniversary.

Affinity for Marxism, Socialism, & Big Government

Wallis’ affinity for Marxism and socialism is evident in many things he himself has said. For example, in April 2005 he stated that private charity to help the poor was insufficient, and that true social justice could be achieved only by a large central government empowered to redistribute wealth on a massive scale: “We have to be very clear about this. Voluntary, faith-based initiatives with no resources, no resources to make any serious difference in poverty reduction, is not adequate. That’s a charity that falls far short of Biblical justice.”

In a January 13, 2006 radio interview with Interfaith Voices, Wallis was asked, “Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?” He replied, “Absolutely, without any hesitation. That’s what the gospel is all about.”

In a January 21, 2010 interview, Wallis recounted his first meeting with the Marxist founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Dorothy Day, whom he greatly admired. Following is a transcript of how Wallis described that initial interaction with Day:

“My Dorothy Day story happened in Chicago. She was just leaving as we were coming on the scene. So we were living in Chicago. So I ran 20 blocks. And in the parlor of the Catholic Worker — and …In walks the great lady. Dorothy wrote a book about her life called Love is the Measure. But she wasn’t ever soft. Very tough…

[Day said:] “So, you’re a radical student like me, right?”

[Wallis said:] “Yeah…”

[Day said:] “You were a Marxist like me, right?”

[Wallis said:] “Yeah.”

In May 2010, Wallis criticized the conservative Tea Party movement and derided the Libertarian values upon which the movement was based: “The Libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not the pre-eminent Christian virtue. Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good, a central Christian teaching and tradition.” According to Wallis, “anti-government ideology just isn’t biblical.”

Changing the Meaning of “Pro-Life”

According to a March 10, 2007 Los Angeles Times report, in recent years Wallis has sought to re-brand traditional slogans of the religious right, like “pro-life,” to refer to such leftist agendas as working with AIDS victims in Africa or helping illegal immigrants in America achieve legal status so they can continue to live with their U.S.-born children.

Defending Obama & His Radical/Racist/Anti-Semitic Connections

When then-presidential candidate Barack Obama came under attack during the 2008 campaign season because of his early Muslim upbringing — and for his more recent ties to a number of radical Christians and Muslims alike — Wallis defended him in a February 28, 2008 piece in Sojourners magazine. Some key excerpts:

“… I am going to defend my friend, Barack Obama, from an increasing number of ridiculous and scurrilous attacks on the Internet and in the media. The latest incident occurred when a loud-mouth radio talk show host in Cincinnati let loose with a barrage of disparaging remarks against Senator Obama and kept using his middle name–Barack HUSSEIN Obama–over and over, seemingly to tie into the Internet accusations that Obama is really a Muslim who, as a child, attended a Muslim ‘madrassa’ school in Indonesia that taught Islamic fundamentalism, etc. […]

“[Conservative Fox News host Lou] Dobbs followed with more innuendos and rolled eyes over the moment in the Tuesday Democratic debate when Obama was asked about Louis Farrakhan, about suspicions that Barack’s home Trinity Church on the south side of Chicago was ‘black nationalist,’ and about why Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, wouldn’t come on Lou’s show to discuss his alleged sympathies for Farrakhan, etc. […]

“So let’s set the record straight. I have known Barack Obama for more than 10 years, and we have been talking about his Christian faith for a decade. Like me and many other Christians, he agrees with the need to reach out to Muslims around the world, especially if we are ever to defeat Islamic fundamentalism. But he is not a Muslim, never has been, never attended a Muslim madrassa, and does not attend a black ‘separatist’ church. […] Trinity Church is one of the most prominent and respected churches in Chicago and the nation, and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is one of the leading revival preachers in the black church. Ebony magazine once named him one of America’s 15 best Black preachers. […]

“Like his politics or not, support his candidacy or not — but don’t disparage Barack Obama’s faith, his church, his minister, or his credibility as an eloquent Christian layman who feels a vocation in politics. Those falsehoods are simply vicious lies and should be denounced by people of faith from across the political spectrum.”

Speaker at ACORN National Convention

In 2008 as well, Wallis spoke at the National Conference of the pro-socialist, notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN.

Denouncing American Arrogance & Materialism

In a May 2008 interview with TheOtherJournal.com, Wallis stated:

“Our gods are materialism and consumerism. The Churches are not resisting those very well at all. In fact they are often reproducing theological versions of those false gods—it is called the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel is a heresy and it could only of been created by an affluent society that is addicted to consumerism and materialism. […]

“Another one of our gods is our whole notion of America as having divine providence in the World. It is what I would call American exceptionalism. There is absolutely no biblical justification for any kind of American exceptionalism and the Body of Christ around the world thinks it is ridiculous and they don’t believe it. They don’t believe that God has a special role for America in the world anymore than God does for Austria.”

Denouncing the Tea Party Movement as Anti-Biblical & Racist

In May 2010, Wallis criticized the conservative Tea Party movement and derided the Libertarian values upon which the movement was based: “The Libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not the pre-eminent Christian virtue. Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good, a central Christian teaching and tradition.” According to Wallis, “anti-government ideology just isn’t biblical.” (This paragraph also appears above, in the section titled “Affinity for Marxism, Socialism, & Big Government.”)

Wallis also smeared the Tea Party with the charge of racism: “There is something wrong with a political movement like the Tea Party which is almost all white. Does that mean every member of the Tea Party is racist? Likely not. But is an undercurrent of white resentment part of the Tea Party ethos, and would there even be a Tea Party if the president of the United States weren’t the first black man [Barack Obama] to occupy that office?”

Member of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

In 2010 as well, Wallis was a member of President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Council on Foreign Relations

Also in 2010, Wallis served on the Religion Initiative Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Financial Backing from George Soros

On July 17, 2010, blogger Marvin Olasky wrote that George Soros‘s Open Society Institute had issued a grant of $200,000 to Wallis‘ Sojourners organization on October 22, 2004; another grant of $25,000 in 2006; and a third grant of $100,000 in 2007 “to support the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaign.” In August 2010, another blogger, Timothy Dalrymple, asked Wallis to respond to Olasky’s claims. Wallis replied:

But the veracity of Olasky’s assertions was eventually confirmed, and on August 18, 2010, Sojourners communications manager Tim King issued a statement from Wallis in which the latter acknowledged that his organization had indeed accepted money from Soros. Said Wallis:

“Recently, I participated in an interview about the future of Evangelicalism. The interviewer [Timothy Dalrymple] asked about a blog post in which an author made accusations about Sojourners’ funding. I should have declined to comment until I was able to review the blog post in question and consulted with our staff on the details of our funding over the past several years. Instead, I answered in the spirit of the accusation and did not recall the details of our funding over the decade in question. The spirit of the accusation was that Sojourners is beholden to funders on the political left, which is false. The allegation concerned three grants received over 10 years from the Open Society Institute that made up the tiniest fraction of Sojourners’ funding during that decade — so small that I hadn’t remembered them. Sojourners doesn’t belong to the political left or right. Sojourners receives funding from individuals and organizations across a broad spectrum who are committed to our mission of “biblical social justice.”

In 2011, Soros’ Open Society Institute gave an additional $150,000 to Sojourners.

Condemning America’s Reaction to the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

After U.S. Navy SEALs had tracked down and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, Wallis said: “Pumping our fists in victory or celebrating in the streets is probably not the best Christian response to anyone’s death, even the death of a dangerous and violent enemy. The chants of ‘USA, USA, USA’ are also not the best mantra for believers who should know that they are meant to be Christians first and Americans second.”

Wallis also chastised U.S. Christians for having valued innocent American lives “more than the innocents who were in the way of our wars in response to the attacks against us.” Moreover, he asserted that the “violence of terrorism, the violence of war, and even the violent reprisal against Osama bin Laden on Sunday should all push us to deeper reflection, and even repentance, for how we have allowed the seeds of such destruction to take root and grow in our hearts and in our world.”

Helping Obama Harness the Faith Community’s Influence to Pressure Congress on Immigration Reform

On November 13, 2013, Wallis and seven other Christian leaders met in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how the faith community could help move public opinion to favor the pasage of immigration reform legislation. “It was a conversation with President Obama about immigration reform and how this has really united the faith community across our boundaries,” Wallis told The Christian Post following the meeting. A White House press release, meanwhile, stated that the meeting’s participants had “discussed their shared commitment to raise the moral imperative for immigration reform and said they will continue keeping the pressure on Congress so they can swiftly pass commonsense reform.”

Climate Alarmist

Wallis believes that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with human industrial activity are chiefly responsible for potentially catastrophic “climate change.” On June 5, 2014, he addressed this issue in a Sojourners opinion piece titled “Taking Climate Change Seriously.” Some excerpts:

“Climate change is about people, not just science and politics — it is an inter-generational ethics issue. The earth is the Lord’s, and in Genesis, God entrusts us with caring for Creation. The earth that we leave to future generations is already being changed by climate change, and so far, our nation has done little to stop climate pollution. […]

“Congress has been unable to deal with the issue of climate change. Very powerful special interests — like the coal, oil, and gas industries — literally prevent changes in our energy policies from occurring. So, as with other issues, a social movement is needed to move America and the world to deal with climate change. […]

“I believe the most compelling narratives for dealing with climate change must be moral ones, theological ones, and biblical ones, especially if we are to reach and engage the faith community — which every successful social movement must do. God’s instructions in Genesis to be good stewards of the world God has created are central now. And generational ethics are central to that. […]

“Climate change is not another issue to move higher up the list of our concerns. Rather it is the concern central to all other issues. Let’s take the well-known 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, which was my own conversion passage that brought me to faith in Jesus Christ.

All of the categories of those whom Jesus called ‘the least of these’ will be directly affected by climate change.

“’I was hungry.’ Climate change could dramatically influence food supplies and create very serious food shortages.

“’I was thirsty.’ Drought is a direct result of climate change.

“’I was naked.’ The impact of climate change could strip whole groups of people of everything they have.

“’I was a stranger.’ This text has converted a whole movement of Christians around how we treat immigrants — but climate change is already creating refugees of island nations.

“’I was sick.’ Public health is extremely affected by the pollutants in our environment, and climate change increases that. And we are already being jeopardized by these pollutants.

“’I was a prisoner.’ Global warming could cause massive social and societal disruption that easily can create more crime and burden criminal justice systems. There is a direct correlation between rising temperatures and rising violence.

“Reducing and ultimately eliminating dirty energy, investing our future in clean energy, and becoming seriously committed to saving energy are such big and fundamental tasks that they will require the imperatives of faith and the leadership of the faith community.”

Thoughts on Race & the Black Lives Matter Movement

In 2015, Wallis published a book titled America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. That same year, he gave an interview to the Religion News Service (RNS) on matters of race and the merits of the Black Lives Matter movement. Some notable excerpts:

  • Regarding the problem of racism in America: “Our original sin of racism is still the chief contradiction of the American life–and of the gospel in our country. When privilege and punishment are the results of skin color, our stated values and culturally captive religion are revealed as our greatest hypocrisies. And the marginalization of people of color in our society, including millions of children who remain our poorest in the world’s richest nation, would still make the biblical prophets scream.”
  • Regarding propoals for reparations payments to black Americans:Isaiah 58 instructs us to be the ‘repairers of the breach’ and ‘restorers of streets to live in.’ We should lift that biblical language of “repairing” into the conversation about ‘reparations.’  The terrible breach of racism in America must be repaired and healed. We can’t just be sorry about what has happened and still does; we have to fix and heal the continuing racial inequities. So we should have a national conversation about what that could mean—specifically. Bryan Stevenson says ‘Slavery never ended, it just evolved’ as it certainly has into radically disproportional mass incarceration. So reparations would certainly involve repairing our racialized and broken criminal justice systems, and the incredible racial disparities in our educational and economic systems.  The security and wealth gaps between white and black families were never accidental, they were the intentional consequence of practices and policies that directly benefited white people. So what practices and policies would begin to correct those flagrant injustices? That is a conversation we urgently need to have.”
  • Regarding whether or not he supports the Black Lives Matter movement: “Of course, I support the movement. The compelling language of ‘black lives matter’ strikes to the heart of America’s Original Sin—which said at the founding of our nation that black lives and bodies matter less than white lives and bodies. That foundational sin is what white American Christians used to justify the cruelty of our most venal kind of slavery—which claimed that kidnapped African slaves were less than human. We decided to discard imago dei, the image of God, in our slaves for the sake of our greed–because our faith was incompatible with making other human beings into chattel property. Now a new generation of black activists is challenging that sin directly, starting with how it manifests itself in racialized policing and a criminal justice system that treats the lives of young black men starkly differently than it treats my two white sons.”
  • Regarding police officers’ treatment of blacks: “[V]irtually every black family in America—of all income levels–can tell their stories about mistreatment by police and that should matter to all of us. The culture of policing needs to be changed and our criminal justice systems need to be dramatically reformed.”

On October 14, 2015, Wallis participated in a “Solidarity Against Racism” protest in Ferguson, Missouri, the city where a black teenaged criminal named Michael Brown had been shot and killed by a white police officer in a highly publicized incident on August 9, 2014.

On June 12, 2020 — some 18 days after George Floyd‘s infamous death in an altercation with a white Minneapolis police officer — Wallis co-authored an opinion piece about the Black Lives Matter movement and America’s allegedly ubiquitous racism. Some excerpts:

“‘America’s Original Sin’ of racism and white supremacy has become part of the American narrative and consciousness like we have never seen before in a multi-racial and cross-generational conversation.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has gone mainstream, with corporations like Amazon, civic leaders and police chiefs, and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now emblazoning these words they once considered controversial on their websites and emails. But those words represent far more than a trendy slogan or hashtag; they are a resounding call for a deeper paradigm shift and transformation in American society to fully affirm the humanity and dignity of black people and ensure equal protection under the law for all.

“Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ requires changing the culture of policing and transforming a whole system of racial injustice. Calls to ‘defund the police’ have also been growing louder from the streets. Sadly this call is already being misunderstood, caricatured and distorted. For many, at its core it is a call to radically rethink and recreate policies, systems and practices that will lead to public safety for all Americans and ensure that equal justice under the law is inclusive of black people. Our nation has been addicted to an overly punitive and racially biased justice system, characterized by an over-reliance on police and an underinvestment in many communities. Many cities spend one-third to half of their budgets on policing. Now is a time to ask why and to examine ways to redirect funding to the kinds of community services and evidence-based approaches that will more effectively reduce both violence and crime, as well as improve community well-being. […]

“Already the president [Trump] and his allies are exploiting the call to defund to stoke fear and division in this election season. But what we can all unite around is the imperative to reimagine public safety and what will lead to safer communities for all Americans. […]

“Many are asking how long these protests can last, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. The best answer to this question came from SCLC leader Ella Baker some 50 years ago: ‘Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a White mother’s son — we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.’

“In his eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral, the Rev. Al Sharpton said, “We are not fighting some disconnected incidents. We are fighting an institutional, systemic problem that has been allowed to permeate since we were brought to these shores. And we are fighting wickedness in high places.’ […]

“But reimagining requires more than basic commonsense reforms: We must also reinvest in education, housing, treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues and much more. Some of those reinvestments will require diverting funds from parts of policing budgets that have been used ineffectively and sometimes harmfully to promote the very bias, brutality and deadly racism that George Floyd’s death has once again exposed. […]

“[P]olicy changes must happen alongside deeper conversations about America’s original sin, manifest in the systemic and structural racial injustice in our society, that must be eradicated, cleansed and healed.

“We have been reflecting both on George Floyd’s horrific murder — which followed the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others — and on how the overwhelming response from the streets has galvanized an overdue tipping point in public opinion around police violence and racism.

“In religious terms, we hope and we pray that this moment could even be a Kairos moment, one in which the sheer brokenness and depravity of the status quo generates an awakening and reckoning that makes radical transformation possible. […] By using our voices, our votes, and our resources to advance both bold reforms and a reimagining of public safety, we can help strengthen and sustain a movement that has the power and potential to transform our nation.”

Tying Trump to “Christian Nationalism” & “White Supremacy”

Wallis was a signatory to the Christians Against Christian Nationalism (CACN) statement — a 2019 initiative intended to smear President Donald Trump and his supporters as racists and religious bigots. The statement read, in part, as follows:

“As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.

“Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation.”

CACN was initiated by Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, who claimed that she had been inspired to launch her movement after seeing video footage of certain racially charged incidents that occurred during the Trump administration — such as a contingent of white supremacist demonstrators who marched at an August 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and claimed to be Trump supporters. At a December 13, 2022 House Oversight subcommittee hearing, Tyler testified that:

  • (a) “Christian nationalism often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation,” and “creates and perpetuates a sense of cultural belonging that is limited to certain people associated with the founding of the United States, namely native-born white Christians”;
  • (b) a resurgent ideology aiming to ensure that America remains a predominantly white and Christian nation had “helped fuel” the infamous U.S. Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, “uniting disparate actors and infusing their political cause with religious fervor”; and
  • (c) the January 6 demonstrators had displayed Bibles and banners bearing slogan like “In God We Trust,” “An Appeal to Heaven,” and “Jesus is my savior, Trump is my President.”

In March 2019, Wallis wrote a piece claiming that Donald Trump was guilty of having given voice and perceived legitimacy to the type of white supremacy and nationalism that had influenced the perpetrator of a recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 51 people. Some excerpts:

“In a spirit of Christian love and accountability, we must tell all Christians who still publicly or privately support President Trump: Your support can no longer be justified by his appointment of federal judges. It is not justified by his change of mind and politically convenient alliance with your Christian opposition to abortion. It is not justified by his alliance with you against same-sex marriage. It is not justified by his strong advocacy of religious liberty for Christians but not for Muslims — in fact that is explicit hypocrisy. And it is certainly not justified by Donald Trump’s tax policies that make the richest people in America even richer. You can no longer look away from his consistent amoral personal and public behavior.

“I believe the Faustian bargain for power, undertaken by the white evangelical religious right, must be exposed and opposed on the basis of Donald Trump’s support for white nationalism, which is in direct disobedience to the reconciling gospel and person of Jesus Christ. […]

“Donald Trump is an evangelist of white nationalism and white supremacy and, therefore, his message must be rejected on grounds of faith by responsible Christians around the world and here in the U.S. And the bargain for power made by the white evangelical leaders who unquestioningly support Donald Trump must become a debate within the American church — the integrity of our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ is clearly now at stake.”

Circle of Protection

From at least 2020 to 2024, Wallis served on the coordinating committee of the Circle of Protection, an organization describing itself as “a coalition of church bodies and related ministries” whose mission is “to make our nation and world more consistent with the fact that God loves all people, with a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, as our Scriptures remind us.”

Depicting Protections Against Election Fraud as Racist

On May 12, 2022, Wallis published an article titled “Why Voting Rights Are Sacred.” Claiming that measures designed to prevent or minimize election fraud constitute infringements on people’s voting rights — particularly the voting righs of nonwhite minorities — he expressed strong approval for the manner in which the 2020 presidential election had been conducted. “In the election of 2020,” wrote Wallis, “America had the largest turnout in U.S. history, including the largest turnout of Black and brown voters. The high turnout was due in part to the extension of voting access because of the pandemic, with more days of early voting, more permission for absentee voting, more assistance with disability voting, more conveniently located polling places and drop boxes. Why wouldn’t that record turnout be something we could all embrace? Especially since, as have seen after exhaustive audits, lawsuits and investigations, there has been absolutely no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020?”

“Instead,” Wallis continued, “in the year following the greatest turnout, lawmakers in 49 states across the country introduced 425 bills that would restrict voting access and make it harder to vote. Many of those attempts succeeded. These new laws cut the number of voting days, make it harder to remain on absentee voter lists, limit ballot drop boxes, impose strict signature requirements, expand voter purges, reduce the hours and locations of polling places, and even ban the act of providing water and snacks to people lining up to vote.” (Wallis’ characterization of Georgia law’s prohibition against giving food or drinks to voters waiting in line is a gross and egregious distortion of reality. Please see Footnote #1 for an explanation of the law and what it stipulates.)[1]

Notably, Wallis made no mention of the fact that a landmark 2005 report by the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, known informally as the Carter-Baker Commission, advised all U.S. states that in order to guarantee free and fair elections, they should reject virtually everything Wallis was now endorsing. For example, Carter-Baker called for: the minimizing of mail-in or absentee ballots, “the largest source of potential voter fraud”; a ban on ballot harvesting by third parties; the implementation of stricter voter ID requirements; and proactive efforts to purge invalid names from voter rolls. All of these Carter-Baker recommendations were widely ignored during the 2020 election season that Wallis deemed so exemplary.

By Wallis’ telling, the Carter-Baker recommendations are nothing more than thinly veiled “attempts to make it harder for Black people to vote and … to under-count their votes (or not count them at all)” — a scheme “consistent with the pattern of American racial history.”

In the final analysis, Wallis portrays virtually every effort to decrease the likelihood of election fraud not only as a racist endeavor designed to target mostly nonwhite voters, but also as a sacrilegious affront to God Himself: “If we believe that we are all made in imago dei, the image of God, then denying someone the right to vote is silencing their God given voice. To suppress a vote on the basis of skin color is an assault on imago dei — a throwing away of the image of God. Any strategy that would negate people’s votes because of the color of their skin is not just a partisan tactic, but rather a denial of their imago dei, a theological, biblical, and spiritual offense to God. In other words, a sacrilege.”

Wallis had previously made similar arguments against election-integrity laws in a May 14, 2020 article titled “Voter Suppression Is a Theological Issue.” Some excerpts:

“We believe all human beings are made in the ‘imago dei,’ the image and likeness of God — it’s a core tenet of ours and many other faiths. So any strategy that would negate people’s votes because of the color of their skin is not just a partisan tactic, but rather a denial of their imago dei, a theological, biblical, and spiritual offense to God. Protecting the right to vote affirms the divine imprint and inherent value of all of God’s children. […]

“In 2016 and 2018, voters faced extensive efforts that made voting more difficult, particularly voters of color and those who are poor. These voter suppression efforts happened after GOP state gains during the Obama administration and, perhaps most significantly, as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2013 gutting of a key provision of the groundbreaking Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required certain states with a history of discrimination to seek preclearance to change voting procedures.

“Between those two factors — the 2013 Supreme Court decision to diminish voter protections and the Republican takeovers in many states — 23 states, including some key battlegrounds, put in place new voter restrictions in advance of the 2016 election. By the 2018 midterms, that number had risen to 33 states. These restrictions included:

  • laws that eliminated polling places or moved them to less accessible locations, often on Election Day and without notice,
  • reduced polling hours,
  • tightened voter-ID requirements,
  • ‘purged’ voter rolls, and
  • reduced early voting and Sunday voting, which are popular among voters in black churches.

“… [T]he facts reveal that the Republican Party is complicit in efforts to deny the image of God in black and brown people, including the black and brown body of Christ in America.

“So here is the challenge we are offering: Regardless of how Christians vote by their biblical examination on the issues, all Christians must stand and speak out against voter suppression — an offense to the image of God and the democratic rights of citizenship.”

Wallis’ Response to Deadly Hamas Attack Against Israel

At daybreak on October 7, 2023 — which was the major Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah — the Islamic terror group Hamas carried out a massive, multi-front, surprise attack against Israel, firing thousands of rockets from Gaza into the Jewish state, while dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the Israeli border in a number of locations by air, land and sea. The attack had been planned in conjunction with officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, along with agents of three other Iran-sponsored terrorist groups. “In an assault of startling breadth,” reported CBS News, “Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip, including towns and other communities as far as 15 miles from the Gaza border. In some places they gunned down civilians and soldiers as Israel’s military scrambled to muster a response.” By October 8, at least 600 Israelis had been killed and 1,800 wounded, making it the bloodiest day Jews had experienced since the Holocaust. Moreover, Hamas took more than 240 Israelis hostage, including dozens who were American citizens, and moved them to the Gaza Strip. The terrorists also paraded Israelis’ mutilated bodies in Gaza, to cheering crowds of Palestinians. By October 19, the official casualty toll in Israel had reached more than 1,400 dead (including at least 32 Americans) and 4,500 injured.

On October 26, 2023, Wallis wrote an opinion piece stating that if the Israeli military were to launch a retaliatory ground invasion in Gaza, “such a siege would undoubtedly cause enormous civilian casualties, along with the suffering already occurring in Gaza as a result of daily Israeli air strikes.” “Collective punishment of Palestinians is not justified,” he added, “as a response to the terrorism that killed 1,400 Jews, wounded about 5,000 more and kidnapped an estimated 200 hostages.” The only path to “genuine peace,” Wallis explained, “will require justice and a real two state solution in which security for all prevails over occupation and terrorism, with an honest accounting of leadership failures on both sides.”

On November 9, 2023, Wallis penned some additional reflections about the Israel-Hamas conflict, in an opinion piece that drew a moral equivalence between the two sides, condemned Israel’s retributive military actions in Gaza, cast Palestinian terrorism as an understandable response to ongoing Israeli transgressions, and blamed the United States for exacerbating the situation. Some excerpts:

“The barbarity of the Hamas attack, which killed 1,400 Jews, including families and children, and which took 240 hostages, is producing a barbarity of bombing in response. Our inability to unequivocally condemn such brutal violence, which is collective punishment of civilians on both sides, has been stark and stunning. […]

“The United States and other Western democracies who have provided massive aid to Israel have not used their leverage to secure peace. Occupation and oppression are morally wrong and lead to violence; terrorism in response leads to more violence and a never-ending cycle of revenge. Every death from military forces in the Middle East produces more anti-semitism and Islamophobia around the world, including in the United States.

“A key reason for war, and war crimes on all sides, are the present leaders and violence perpetrators in Israel and Gaza. Neither Hamas nor the right-wing Israeli coalition of Netanyahu want a just and secure two-state solution; both directly worked against it. New leadership on both sides will be necessary for peace.”


  1. The Heritage Foundation’s Hans A. von Spakovsky provides some vital context for the Georgia law in question:“[L]ike most other states Georgia prohibits electioneering within 150 feet of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voters waiting in line to vote. The new law simply added that within such distances, no one can ‘give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gift, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to any elector.’“In other words, a candidate, his supporters, or an activist group can’t show up at a polling place with a truckload of Happy Meals and start handing them out to voters standing in line.“The clear intent here is to prevent operatives from any party from unduly influencing voters with money or gifts, including food and drink. The idea that Georgia is somehow doing something nefarious by preventing gift-giving at the polls is, to put it mildly, bizarre—especially considering that this is a standard practice (as it should be) in most other states including New York and New Jersey.“By the way, the law says it’s OK for poll officials to make available ‘self-service water from an unattended receptacle’ to ‘an elector waiting in line.’ And, of course, you can bring a bottle of water with you if you’re worried that you’re going to die of thirst waiting to vote.”

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