1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email

Religious Leader Jim Wallis Delivers Democratic Radio Address

Bipartisan Need for Compassionate Priorities

By

Religious Leader Jim Wallis Delivers Democratic Radio Address

Jim Wallis, Founder of Sojourners

Updated December 09, 2006
The following is the text of the Democratic Party's radio address delivered on December 2, 2006 by religious leader Jim Wallis, author of New York Times best-seller "God's Politics - Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It." Wallis is founder of the Christian activism organization, Sojourners.

This was the first time in history that a non-partisan or religious leader was asked to deliver the Democrats' weekly radio address.

"I'm Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics. I was surprised and grateful when Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid called to say his party wanted to set a new tone and invite, for the first time, a non-partisan religious leader to deliver their weekly radio address and speak about the values that could unite Americans at this critical time.

Speaking as Religious Leader, Not Democrat

So, I want to be clear that I am not speaking for the Democratic Party, but as a person of faith who feels the hunger in America for a new vision of our life together, and sees the opportunity to apply our best moral values to the urgent problems we face.

I am not an elected official or political partisan, but a religious leader who believes that real solutions must transcend partisan politics. For too long, we have had a politics of blame and fear, while America is eager for a politics of solutions and hope. It is time to find common ground by moving to higher ground.

Because we have lost a commitment to the common good, politics is failing to solve the deepest crises of our time. Real solutions will require our best thinking and dialogue, but also call us to transformation and renewal.

Religion Has No Monopoly on Morality

Most Americans know that the important issues we confront have an essential moral character. It is the role of faith communities to remind us of that fact. But religion has no monopoly on morality. We need a new, morally-centered discourse on politics that welcomes each of us to the table.

A government that works for the common good is central. There is a growing desire for integrity in our government across the political spectrum.

Corruption in government violates our basic principles. Money and power distort our political decision-making and even our elections. We must restore trust in our government and reclaim the integrity of our democratic system.

At this moment in history, we need new directions.

Who is left out and left behind is always a religious and moral question. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the health of a society was measured by how it cared for its weakest and most vulnerable, and prosperity was to be shared by all. Jesus proclaimed a gospel that was "good news to the poor."

Christian Commitment to "The Least of These"

I am an evangelical Christian, and a commitment to "the least of these" is central to my personal faith and compels my public actions.

It is time to lift up practical policies and effective practices that "make work work" for low-income families and challenge the increasing wealth gap between rich and poor.

We must find a new moral and political will to overcome poverty that combines personal and social responsibility with a commitment to support strong families. Answering the call to lift people out of poverty will require spiritual commitment and bipartisan political leadership.

Since the election, I have spoken with leaders from both parties about creating a real anti-poverty agenda in Congress. We need a grand alliance between liberals and conservatives to produce new and effective strategies.

Moral Issues of the Iraq War

This week, President Bush met with Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq, seeking solutions to the rapidly deteriorating situation in that civil-war torn nation. Nearly 3,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. The cost and consequences of a disastrous war are moral issues our country must address.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.