The author of “God’s Politics,” Jim Wallis, was on the Daily Show recently. I don’t often recommend a book before I’ve read it (or, in this case, even seen it), but I am now. Wallis struck me as intelligent, devout, caring, and open-minded. His cause is freeing religious involvement in politics from right-wing Republican confines.
Wallis called himself an evangelical Christian. He considers that the entire Bible, not just selected smatterings from here and there, should be the foundation for how a Christian melds religion and politics. He said that Jesus spoke about caring for the poor much more often than he did about condemning gay marriage or banning abortion (like, many times for the former versus zero for the latter.)
I’ve argued that religious values have no place in politics. But, the reality is that religion and politics are deeply intertwined in the United States. If this is to be, then broadening our conception of “religious values” is the best way of assuring that narrow fundamentalism doesn’t hijack political discourse and turn this land of the free into a theocracy.
I’m hopeful that Wallis will be able to make his book a springboard for a social movement, which, from comments he made on the Daily Show, seems to be his intent. Too many Christians believe that the Republican Party is the only political tent that will shelter their deeply-held religious beliefs. That’s hogwash.
Lying and deception isn’t a religious value. Turning your back on the poor and sick isn’t a religious value. Failing to be a wise steward of the natural world that God created isn’t a religious value. Needless killing isn’t a religious value.
Which political party is favored by God? I’m quite sure that “God’s Politics” answers, “neither” (I’ll let you know for sure after Amazon delivers a copy). This surely is a step in the right direction. Or rather, neither the right nor the left direction.