Granted, the show was trying to help their ratings by 1) focusing on those "moral values" again, and 2) having Falwell and Sharpton, I wish that Land and Wallis would have been the only guests. Those two seemed like the most articulate, and I would like to see them in a discussion about what living out the gospel really means. Anyway, here are a few quotes from the show, which may make this post repetitive since I've already talked about defining values differently. I just like the way that Wallis describes his position:
On the Sojourners' newspaper ad:
On the separation of church and state (ie pastors endorsing candidates):
REV. JIM WALLIS: Well, Christians voted both ways in this election. God is not a Republican or a Democrat. That should be obvious. The values question is critical. The question is how narrowly or how broadly we define values. So we say that poverty is a religious and moral value. So is the environment. So is the war in Iraq. These are moral values that require a lot of discussion. I welcome the moral-values conversation. I really do. It's the soul of our politics, the compass of our public life. But how narrowly or how broadly we define the values is the question.
In this election, there were competing values, so a lot of Christians voted both ways because we wanted to vote all of our values, not just one or two. I think the Democrats are often uncomfortable talking about faith values, when it's even about their agenda. The Republicans want to narrow, though, or restrict values to one or two issues--important ones, but one or two. I think the Democrats have to recover their heart and soul; Republicans need a broader and deeper agenda about values.
Also, when Falwell, in trying to attack Wallis for not voting for the "pro-life" candidate, tried to point out some Psalm about life being sacred (why wouldn't that also apply to war and capital punishment?), Wallis mentions that there are 3,000 verses in the Bible about the poor. Wallis later comments that "Jesus isn't pro-rich, pro-war and only pro-American. We don't find that Jesus anywhere in the Bible." There was a pretty interesting dialogue between Sharpton and Land, too, about the fact that Dr. King had to fight against the Southern Baptist Convention, and people are still fighting against the SBC today...
REV. WALLIS: Well, the separation of church and state does not mean the separation of values from our public life. I think we all agree with that. The question is: How do we bring values into our public-- King did it best. He did it by bringing the purposes of God for justice and peace into our public arena. He was welcoming. He was inviting. No one felt left out of that conversation. He reminded us of this wonderful vision of a beloved community where no one gets left out and those who are always left out have a front-row seat.
I think there's a lot of common ground here. If values can be used to bring us together, faith and value should not be a wedge or a weapon that destroys and divides, but the bridge that brings us together and finds some new common ground, and I think we can do that and should do that.
I like the way that Wallis articulates his beliefs and the beliefs of many other evangelicals who don't want to align themselves fully with the red-state mentality. He has a good tone, a conciliatory one that brings together evangelicals who are divided.