God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and The Left Doesn't Get ItJuly 8, 2011 by Reverend Mary
Where two conversational taboos meet, Jim Wallis artfully crafts a painfully accurate discussion on America’s shortcomings and the possibilities for change and improvements.
Jim Wallis has done something big. He has communicated a new political platform that accurately uses religion and morality for non-partisan betterment, not just to gain political advantage. He is communicating God’s politics as opposed to using God to communicate his politics and it is oh so very refreshing. Jim Wallis has blended religion and politics without fighting.
Using an explosive combination of news analysis, statistics, first person accounts, and some old-fashioned “God talk”, Wallis creates a new image of religion and its place in politics that is starkly different from that of George Bush and his “religious right” affiliates.
The beating drum of the book: poverty is a moral issue. This is why the religious right are “getting it wrong”, there is a disconnect between their economic policies and moral position. Near the end of the book Wallis discusses the Enron scandal through a Biblical lens which makes for interesting, albeit explosive, talk for the dinner table. Asserting that America has strayed away from God’s ideas of equality and rewards, Wallis points out that no matter the quality of their actions, the rich are getting richer and the laborer more destitute. Wallis effectively strips religion away from many positions held by the religious right.
But at least the Right made the attempt and has reaped the benefits, regardless of whether they should have. The Left, on the other had, “doesn’t get it” at all as shying away from “God talk” so as to differentiate themselves from the right divorces them from a past of social movement sparked by faith and morality. Wallis concludes, and I believe rightfully so, that how aggressively secular the Left is leaves those who are religious progressives without a home.
This brings Jim Wallis to the conclusion that God is neither a Republican nor Democrat.
My personal favorite part of the book was Wallis’ discussion on the Right using Jesus to justify war. Christianity is known for its pacifism while Republicans very clearly have a reputation of military might and justice through force and war. Though America had a vested interested in disarming and eventually removing Saddam, as he was a ruthless and brutal dictator, the administration’s commitment to war was created not to save people but to preserve power. Those arrogant and self-serving ideas in no way reflect God’s desire for humble followers.
It was a hard topic to talk yet it appears as those Jim Wallis has pinned it to the ground. Pick up a copy from God’s Politics from the ULC Bookstore. It will make you a more politically informed American as well as help the political and religious reconcile their beliefs with their leaders’ actions.
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