CONTACT: Steve Varnum, PrioritiesNH
Jim Wallis tells NH audiences:
Creating change requires more than your vote
Progressive Evangelical leader calls on NH voters to create a political movement to address poverty, AIDS, global warning
DURHAM - (Oct. 15, 2007) The Rev. Jim Wallis last night challenged people of all faiths, as well as those who consider themselves "spiritual, but not religious," to create a movement to address the major global issues of our time, including poverty, AIDS, genocide and global warming.
Wallis told a crowd of about 200 people in Dartmouth College's Rollins Chapel Monday night that "people of faith should be the ultimate swing voters," who use their moral compasses to evaluate candidates. But he also cautioned that regardless of where the next U.S. President stands on these issues, he or she will not be able to solve them without "a social movement pushing them from the outside to make it happen."
"Power concedes nothing without a demand," he said, quoting abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Wallis's Dartmouth speech was the first of four in a 24-hour trip through New Hampshire. He spoke in Plymouth Tuesday morning, and in Durham twice Tuesday afternoon.
Wallis's Sojourners/Call to Renewal organization is promoting a "Vote Out Poverty" campaign aimed at the upcoming and Presidential elections. He also touted the Priorities campaign in his speech as one that has been effective in promoting sensible budget priorities.
His NH tour was sponsored by four groups working to create the social movement he advocates: the NH Council of Churches, PrioritiesNH, American Friends Service Committee and the ONE campaign. Local events were presented by faith, community and campus groups.Wallis, the best-selling author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It <http://www.powells.com/partner/29218/biblio/9780061118418>; , and a founder of the Sojourners faith community, reminded the audience that faith-based movements had changed the course of American history - from the rising spirit of independence in the 1700s, through the abolitionists, the marriage of economics and social justice that gave birth to the New Deal, to the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century. He called for what he termed a "fifth great awakening" of personal and spiritual renewal that leads to social engagement.
At a time when too many political leaders hold their fingers to the wind before deciding on the "right" course to take, Wallis said, "You don't change a country by replacing one wet-fingered politician with another. You change the wind."
PrioritiesNH's mission is to change America's budget priorities to reflect a national commitment to education, healthcare, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction -- at no additional taxpayer expense -- by shifting funding from obsolete Cold War and nuclear weapons. Visit www.PrioritiesNH.org.New Hampshire Council of Churches promotes local ecumenical cooperation and provides leadership in strengthening Christian values in society. Visit www.nhchurches.org <http://www.nhchurches.org/>; . The American Friends Service Committee's New Hampshire program works to advance the cause of peace and justice by supporting the growth and development of an effective, sustainable New Hampshire peace and justice movement. Visit www.afsc.org/nh <http://www.afsc.org/nh/>; . The ONE Campaign seeks to raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in developing countries. Visit www.one.org < http://www.one.org/>; .
Sojourners/Call to Renewal is a Christian ministry whose mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net, www.RedLetterChristians.org, and www.GodsPolitics.com.
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