The day after Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama appeared at a June 4 candidates forum on faith and politics, sponsored by Sojourners/Call to Renewal and televised on CNN, Sojourners leader Jim Wallis wrote: “Last night, we made history. For the first time ever, leading presidential candidates gathered for a conversation focused on faith, values and poverty.” He had previously described the event as “a unique forum to ask questions not just about issues, but about values. Not just what policies the candidates propose, but why. Not just whether they believe privately, but about how they live out their faith in public life.”
On the surface this event would seem to be a good thing. But in the long run I would submit that the forum was not a victory for the faith community but is rather a sign that social-justice Christians are making the same mistakes that the Christian right has been making—with the nation and Christianity paying the long-term price.
Jan G. Linn is copastor of Spirit of Joy Church in Lakeville, Minnesota, and author of What's Wrong with the Christian Right (BrownWalker, 2005) and Big Christianity: What's Right with the Religious Left (Westminster John Knox, 2006).