Jim Wallis, the longtime leader of Sojourners, a Washington D.C. based ministry dedicated to articulating “the biblical call to social justice,” used the opportunity in a February 24, 2011 column, “This is Not Fiscal Conservatism. It’s Just Politics,” to take an errant shot at recent Congressional Republican budget proposals and Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker. Reverend Wallis, as you may recall, was a religious adviser to Candidate Obama in 2008 and, over the decades, has never been shy to level sharply worded and religiously-steeped criticism at any federal or state legislative effort which he believes challenges his claimed core constituency, the poor, or his allies in the call for ’social justice.’
Criticizing Wallis, in turn, is not easy – not because he’s never wrong, but because challenging him immediately draws familiar and convenient retorts that the critic isn’t reflecting Christ’s values, or worse yet, simply doesn’t care about the poor. Conservative commentator, Glenn Beck, found himself at the end of such Wallis’ barbs early last year.
In February and March, 2010, Wallis and Beck went toe to toe for weeks – Beck urging Christians to run from churches that preached Wallis’ notion of ’social justice,’ as reminscent of communism’s call for redistribution of wealth and loss of personal liberty, and Wallis, for his part, responded in kind, urging that Christians should stop watching Beck altogether. Frankly, neither the charge, nor counter-charge, nor the particular methods of delivery were particularly worthy of Christ or Christian adherence. Admittedly, Beck did succeed in piercing Wallis’ shield of impenetrability, which for decades has been cloaked in his increasingly implausible claim that his adherence to ”God’s Politics” elevates him above the political fray, as neither a Republican, nor Democrat, and neither conservative, nor liberal. This claim, as Beck accurately pointed out, is simply not true.