Sojourners’ muted voice

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Among contemporary progressive religious organizations that have sought to exercise the prophetic office, the foremost is Sojourners, Jim Wallis’ evangelical ministry-cum-magazine that for 40 years has styled itself as speaking truth to power. If it’s government programs for the poor, health care, and immigrants, Sojourners has been for it. If it’s government war-making and international belligerance, Sojourners has taken the dim view. “Our mission,” they say, “is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring
hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the
church, and the world.”

Up to a point. For when it comes to gays and lesbians, Sojourners has sounded an uncertain trumpet. Yes, Wallis has urged Christians to oppose the bullying of gay kids. He’s supported according same-sex partners certain legal rights. But Sojourners does not have a policy on same-sex relationships, nor is it prepared to say that churches should welcome gays and lesbians as members–or even to make room at the inn for those who do so.

For the full story, look at Robert Chase’s account over at Religion Dispatches. In a nutshell, a mainline Protestant parachurch organization called Believe Out Loud launched a Mothers Day campaign to urge churches to welcome gay members, and was denied the opportunity to buy an ad by the powers that be at Sojourners. The centerpiece of the campaign is a video showing a congregation giving the hairy eyeball to a young boy and the two female partners he’s with as they search for a pew. At the end, the pastor says, pointedly, “Welcome. Everyone.”

Sojourners has not been shy about invoking Jesus’ name in urging people to support its positions–as in its current “What would Jesus Cut?” campaign to oppose GOP efforts to slash spending on social programs. So it’s fair to ask whether the guy who let the prostitute minister to him in Luke 7 would have welcomed or rejected the kid with two mommies. I’m guessing the former.

  • judybrowni

    So, my brother and his partner of 35 years, my sister, her wife and their son aren’t welcome in Sojourners brand of Christianity.
    So, Sojourners claims of “progressive Christian commentary,” that they seek to “build a movement of spirituality and social change” and promote “unity in diversity” are all lies.
    So much for that Commandment and “love thy neighbor as thyself.
    Utne Reader has nominated Sojourners for a 2011 award in the Body/Spirit section.
    Utne might want to rethink the Sojourner nomination.
    Please ask Utne editors to withraw that nomination:,
    Also, here’s a petition to sign protesting Sojourners’ bigotry:

  • Great post, thank you for raising your voice! Here was my response tapped out this morning…
    I am not an Issue