Why Jim Wallis Represents the Religious Left, Even if He Rejects the Label

Just because Wallis thinks of himself as a centrist doesn't make it so.


By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Over at Daily Kos's Street Prophets, Pastor Dan objects to my calling Jim Wallis a leading light of the religious left, noting that Wallis himself believes that religious folks opposed to the religious right should respond by strengthening the religious center and resisting the urge toward a religious left. I don't think it will shock anyone to hear that activists on the left and on the right usually consider themselves moderate, chafing at labels like "left wing" or "right wing." I've yet to interview a leader of the religious right who embraces that term. Religious right figures see themselves as part of a moral majority, not a right-wing fringe.

So just because Wallis considers himself a centrist doesn't it make it so. Wallis champions gay rights. He opposed the Iraq war and was an early critic of the war in Afghanistan. He wants the U.S. government to spend a lot more on alleviating poverty. He called George W. Bush's tax cuts "un-Christian." He has implied support for universal healthcare. Where I come from, that's called a liberal. And since Wallis is the first to say his politics are faith based, that places him firmly in the religious left.

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