A political and moral failure
Jim Wallis: Well I think this administration has really fundamentally . . . Let me just back up here. This administration has been both a political and a moral failure. And America’s role in the world has been just shattered, just squandered. We’ve lost the moral high ground. At home, people have lost their confidence in their society, their government. And not just people in New Orleans, but across the country. But I think that can be changed. I think new leadership can fix that. But you know what? Whoever might win the next election . . . I tell audiences, “Whoever your . . .” And the people who are running for office, some of them are good friends of mine. So I like some of them and I wish them success; but if your favorite candidate wins, they will not be able to change the really big issues without social movements outside of politics that change politics. When politics is broken and fails to address the really big issues, social movements rise up to change politics. And the best social movements often have spiritual foundations. It’s like mountains. Take the pandemic of HIV/AIDS or global poverty. Three billion of God’s children – half of us live on less $2 a day. Thirty thousand kids died today and will tomorrow and the next day because of lack of clean drinking water and diseases. My four year old, eight year old, none of their friends will die of . . . and no food. That is what Bono calls “stupid poverty”. It’s utterly preventable. That’s a mountain. Darfur, you know, we keep explaining why we can’t stop Darfur, but it goes on. Climate change, global warming, these are like mountains and they’re huge! And my Bible says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, it can move a mountain. I think we’re not gonna get to social justice without a revival of faith. And I mean not just dogmatic religion. I’m talking about the kind of transformation – personal and social transformation – that comes from true religion, real spirituality. So I think the future . . . Religion has been kind of a problem – parochial, narrow, not helpful, partisan. But it may be, in the future, a big part of our solutions as we break the kind of old religion. The people of God shouldn’t be in any party’s political pocket or candidate’s, but should evaluate politics by our moral compass. So I want to build social movements outside of politics that really can transform politics and address the biggest issues. The big issues – and there are big ones out there – they are like these mountains that have to be moved. But I think it’ll take faith to move them.