Last week I received an email informing me of free tickets to hear American liberal Protestant Jim Wallis speak at a lecture event in downtown Toronto. That he is an intellectual and moral giant among Christian leftists, it surprised me that there were free tickets. But the lecture did conflict with the televised Democrat Debate. Maybe a number of Toronto socialists decided not to miss the Bern’s pearls of wisdom.
Because I was digging a ditch the night of the lecture, I missed it. However, I remember the research I did on Wallis when he wrote of “evil” America in his Sojourners magazine. From his early days as an activist, he bravely sought to recover the “revolutionary consciousness” of religion.
As a leftist Christian leader in the 1980s, Wallis was too busy to protest against abortion or promote evangelism. If you read all the issues of Sojourners during the Ronald Reagan years you cannot help but notice how expert the magazine was at avoiding any talk of the Gospel. You might think it takes skill for a Christian magazine to avoid mentioning sin and salvation. But leftist Christians make it look easy.
Wallis wrote for leftists and they appreciated his activism. For one, he did not like President Reagan too much. Reagan had a long list of flaws: he opposed abortion (he had the audacity to write a pro-life book while in office), his economic policies were wrong (he got too much praise for creating 18 million new jobs and increasing the income of Americans at every level), and his criticism of communism was unloving (ie. “Evil Empire” rhetoric).
In the eyes of his supporters, Wallis mastered American foreign policy. You see, Wallis had a different strategy concerning the Cold War. He called Reagan a liar for claiming Central America was an arena for the growth of socialism. He appreciated socialist leaders; news of the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in November 1982 sobered him. One year later, he blamed the United States in part for the Soviet shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 which killed 269 innocent people. Wallis met and supported Nicaragua socialist leader Daniel Ortega. He understood the importance of the Sandinista government having teenage boys participate in civilian militias to protect the socialist state and guarantee economic improvement. For Christian leftists, Wallis spoke truth. If Reagan had not been so tough with communist leaders perhaps the Cold War might have ended years earlier.
If Wallis kept his stride at the Toronto lecture there was probably talk of American sins that played a role in causing the Paris incident the night before. It would be interesting to know whether Wallis spoke much of the evil of Islamic terrorism. For his foreign policy analysis, he will remain a favorite with leftists who see a man of great moral stature. Certainly, if he was a Canadian he would probably be a prominent personality with the state-controlled media giant CBC.