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God's Democrat: The Church of Jim Wallis

Katherine Mangu-Ward

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It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to write a book called God's Politics. But you have only to read a few pages of Jim Wallis's new bestseller by that name to discover that it isn't actually about the politics of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful deity at all. Instead, it's 384 pages of Jim's politics, and Jim (with a couple of notable exceptions) is a pretty average, down-the-line leftist who, by the way, believes in God.

Wallis is a hot property lately on the talk-show, book-tour circuit and, more important, in Democratic party backrooms. Still smarting from their rebuff by "values voters" last November, Democrats are paying close attention to what he has to say. As Wallis notes, there's "nothing like failure to make you reassess." Some are wondering whether Wallis--who calls himself a "progressive evangelical"--could be the impresario of a religious left, a liberal Jerry Falwell.

Wallis, for his part, is eager to dispel the notion. "The Weekly Standard will do well if it doesn't paint the progressive evangelical movement as all the liberals who are religious," he stresses in an interview. Instead, Wallis presents himself as above the fray, a nonpartisan agitator following the truths of the Bible wherever they lead. "Religion doesn't fit neatly in the categories 'left' and 'right,'" he notes. "It should challenge left and right." He portrays himself as a man who can walk among the denizens of both parties and face down both.

What's wrong with this picture is that it squares poorly with the evidence of either Wallis' present or his past.

Read the entire article on the Weekly Standard website (new window will open).

Posted: 07-Apr-05



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