The Christian leader fronting the campaign to rally clergymen against Donald Trump is an aging Sixties radical who once belonged to the left-wing extremist group that birthed Bill Ayers’ Weathermen.
Jim Wallis, who heads the Washington-based liberal Christian advocacy group the Sojourners Community and publishes Sojourners magazine, serves as President Obama’s spiritual adviser. He also has a radical political past.
Wallis recently gained attention alongside 59 other religious leaders of various stripes when he signed a document entitled “Called To Resist Bigotry – A Statement of Faithful Obedience.” That document urges religious leaders to use the pulpit to oppose Trump:
The ascendancy of a demagogic candidate and his message, with the angry constituency he is fueling, is a threat to both the values of our faith and the health of our democracy. Donald Trump directly promotes racial and religious bigotry, disrespects the dignity of women, harms civil public discourse, offends moral decency, and seeks to manipulate religion. This is no longer politics as usual, but rather a moral and theological crisis, and thus we are compelled to speak out as faith leaders. This statement is absolutely no tacit endorsement of other candidates, many of whom use the same racial politics often in more subtle ways. But while Donald Trump certainly did not start these long-standing American racial sins, he is bringing our nation’s worst instincts to the political surface, making overt what is often covert, explicit what is often implicit…
…Trump’s personal attacks on America’s first black president as illegitimate and not one of “us,” his false accusations against African Americans, his vicious attacks against Mexicans and inflaming the fear of immigrants more broadly, his claim that most Muslims hate America and his call to “ban” them from our country, his advocacy of torture and the killing of terrorist’s families and children – are all of deep concern to many of us as religious leaders. To all that falsehood, hatred, and violence we must say no, in defense of all of God’s diverse children.
Reports of the bullying of Hispanic and Muslim children on school playgrounds indicate the danger in the culture to such messaging. Therefore, it is time for both Republicans and Democrats of moral conscience to speak out against this message. The rise of open bigotry and effective demagoguery requires more than a political response – rather, it demands a moral, and even religious, declaration of opposition and theological resistance.
Wallis then wrote an op-ed for The Huffington Post entitled, “Trump’s Brand of Bigotry Isn’t Going Away. So Neither Are We.” Wallis vowed:
As you likely know, faith-based organizations don’t endorse candidates. So you won’t be surprised that I am not going to endorse Donald Trump — neither will I endorse his Democratic opponents, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. But we faith leaders will comment on the morality of this presidential campaign, the issues raised or not raised, and the morality of candidates based on our moral values. That’s what we “values voters” do. And we will again this election year.
Wallis was a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), according to a report by Mark Tooley in The Weekly Standard. New Zealand-based investigative reporter Trevor Loudon reported that Wallis was a leader of Michigan State University’s SDS chapter before he created Sojourners.
Jim Wallis was raised in a devout Plymouth Brethren household, but broke with the Church at fourteen over its failure to commit to political causes.
Wallis went on to join and then lead the militant Students for a Democratic Society, at Michigan State University.
After College Wallis went on to attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois where he joined with other young seminarians in establishing the community that eventually became Sojourner. In 1979, Time magazine named Wallis one of the “50 Faces for America’s Future.
In 1977 Wallis moved his radical Sojourner community, to Washington D.C., specifically to a small district named Columbia Heights, only a mile from the White House.
Meanwhile, many of Wallis’ old SDS comrades had founded a new Marxist organization with some older Communist Party veterans , patriotically named, the New American Movement. In 1982, NAM, in turn, merged with the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee to form Democratic Socialists of America.
SDS was a prominent radical group throughout most of the 1960’s. By the late part of the decade, the Weathermen broke off from SDS and began their own reign of terror that included bombings and gave rise to the radical-chic celebrity of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
Sojourners did not return a request for comment for this report as of press time.