A Brick Through the Windshield

Ted Olsen at CT asks Jim Wallis some pointed questions. HT: Justin Taylor

And I am afraid I have to make a few comments about his pathetic answers. When Olsen asked him about his stance on abortion — “protecting unborn life in every possible way, but without criminalizing abortion,” Wallis responded by saying that the “abortion debate hs really gotten very stale.” His argument here is to push, really push, to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” In the case of Wallis, you get the impression that he really would be happy if abortion were rare — his heart goes out to those children whose lives are taken. But the heart going out and the hand going out are two distinct things. Many liberals say that they want abortion to be rare simply as a device for helping to keep it legal.

But if you refuse to make abortion against the law, you are conceding legally that the child is not a person, not one whose civil rights need to be protected. And once you have conceded that, what are the grounds for wanting it to be rare?

He tells us in another place in the interview what his priorities are.

“I don’t think that abortion is the moral equivalent issue to slavery that Wilberforce dealt with. I think that poverty is the new slavery. Poverty and global inequality are the fundamental moral issues of our time. That’s my judgment.”

Three points. This reveals the necessity of the point I made above. If you refuse to grant unborn children protection under the law (in principle) then that means that it necessarily ceases to become a pressing issue. Secondly, Wallis is compromising here at a fundamental level. If he said, “Of course, abortion is murder, ought to be against the law, and I am glad that others are fighting that fight. I feel called to give myself to the war on global poverty, but I am glad that others are called to battle for life in another setting,” he would not be compromising. That would simply be a matter of different Christians called to different ministries. And third, because Wallis is compromised on the issue of what social justice actually is, this means that when he gets to poverty and global inequality, his proposed remedies are in the highest degree likely to be counterproductive and disastrous. If you don’t believe that chopping little babies up is a social justice issue, then I for one am not going to trust your judgment on anything to do with justice. And, sure enough, Wallis’ remedies for poverty are guaranteed to usher in a whole lot more of it.

That Wallis is a hopeless case when it comes to applying the Bible to public policy is also seen in his extraordinary

“On the issue of gay marriage, the prophetic stance, I think, is dialgue. It’s talking to each other.”

In his book, he argued for “civil unions from the state and even spiritual blessings for gay couples from congregations prepared to offer them.” He thundered prophetically.

The prophetic stance is dialogue?

“And Asa did [that which was] right in the eyes of the LORD, as [did] David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made” (1 Kings 15:11-12).

Let’s rewrite this the way a real prophet would, shall we?

“And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he issued a summons to dialogue for all the gay, lesbian, and transgendered people of the land, and sent ecumenical legates to all the the temples of all the idols that his fathers had made. And Asa saith, “Any idol good enough for my father is good enough for me.” And the chairperson of the Alliance of Israelite Poofters (AIP) spake unto him thuswise, ‘Your father’s inclusivity was a small pebble on the road; yours will be a brick through the windshield” (1 Kings 15:11-12).

In this interview, Wallis says, “I have never done a blessing for a same-sex couple. I’ve never been asked to do one. I’m not sure that I would.” Not sure that he would? Wow, the prophetic stance sure has lost some of its old zip.

Not only is this a man not qualified to represent what the Bible teaches to anyone, the larger evangelical church that gives men like this the time of day is equally unqualified. We have come to the point where a scratch and sniff prophet like this can take an honored place among us, which means that ours is a dishonored church.

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