WASHINGTON (ABP) — Social-justice advocate Jim Wallis said recent attacks by broadcaster Glenn Beck have ironically given new life to the concept of fighting social ills like poverty and inequality in Jesus' name.
Wallis said Sojourners, the group he leads that promotes peace and justice issues from an evangelical point of view, has been discussing for more than a year a campaign called "A Million Christians for Social Justice."
Wallis said March 25 in a blog the Fox News broadcaster's March 2 advice to listeners to leave churches that preach and teach "social justice" and subsequent attacks on Wallis after he said Christians should boycott Glenn Beck provided a "teachable" — and perhaps mobilizing — moment.
"The Beck attack on Christian social justice has given us an opportunity to teach what true gospel principles are and offers us an opportunity to reach out to even more people who are being attracted by the biblical call to social justice — which is the mission statement of Sojourners," Wallis said.
Wallis said Sojourners is discerning whether now is time to move beyond the discussions, and launch the effort to bring together Christians of all denominations together to focus on urgent public issues like poverty, immigration and health care.
"Sure, we'd be responding to Glenn Beck," Wallis said. "But we believe we'd really be responding to our own calling to stand up for the poor and vulnerable and to stand against the conditions, institutions and polices that further poverty."
"The attacks of poverty on vulnerable families and children, the attacks of hunger on entire communities, the attacks of economic inequities on hardworking people, the attacks of war on civilians who get caught in the crossfire, are all much harsher attacks than anything Beck can hurl at us," Wallis said. "These are the attacks we must address. These are the attacks we are called to fight."
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.