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God's Politics - A Call for Progressive Faith
Jim Wallis writes about how his new book tour is going.
By Jim Wallis
In the below article Jim Wallis writes about how his book tour is going.
by Jim Wallis
It's only the second week of the book tour for God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, but already I'm convinced that the country is ready for a new discussion of faith and politics - one the Religious Right will not control. All the venues so far have been packed with audiences more diverse than we've ever seen. And we've had lots of fun with the media appearances that have brought a progressive faith message to more and more people.
One of the most fun was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You can read my behind-the-scenes reflections on that experience in the blog I've started at www.sojo.net/Godspolitics .
Perhaps the most gratifying thing to me about the past two weeks has been the flood of e-mails, many from young people, in response to The Daily Show and other appearances. Most were personal and heartfelt. Many said they had lost their faith because of "Republican religion," George W. Bush, television preachers, or the war in Iraq. Others said they never knew people of faith could be against the war, concerned about poverty, or care about the environment. What became clear is how many people have never seen, heard, or imagined a progressive faith option, a Christian social conscience, or a connection between their spiritual hunger and their passion for social justice. People have come up to my family in restaurants, stopped me in train stations, or walked up to me on the street just to say "Thank you," or "I feel like we have a voice now," or "I am young, religious, progressive, and you speak for me." Often they say that they feel the possibility of faith again - or for the first time - and hope that we could make a difference.
Many said that the Terry Gross interview on NPR really felt like "fresh air" to them in offering a new spiritual and political option. I got to quote Amos during NBC's inaugural coverage: "Take away from me the noise of your solemn assemblies, but let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." I was able to share Jesus' words about "the least of these" from Matthew 25 - on Comedy Central! On Hardball, Chris Matthews (who was one of the few television journalists consistently critical of the war in Iraq) and I talked about how the Bush doctrine of extending "freedom" just ends up killing people, and we raised the issue of tens of thousands of civilians killed in Iraq. And on Charlie Rose, we had one of the first conversations about religion, values, and politics I've ever seen on his show.
Now we're traveling city to city, to almost every region of the country. We're doing public forums in campuses, churches, and bookstores. Check our Web site to see when the tour comes near you, or organize new events that could offer a different perspective on faith and politics in your community, as many people are now doing.
We also were gratified (actually, "stunned" best describes my reaction) when God's Politics quickly climbed up the Amazon best-seller list (thanks almost exclusively to SojoMail readers like you who bought the book early), and we were told it will appear on this Sunday's New York Times best-seller list. That means that a progressive religious option will be in the front of bookstores across America. At last, we'll be better able to present the culture with an alternative to the Religious Right. This book tour is fast becoming a movement tour. Thanks be to God.
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