Last night, I dragged Layton down to the Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas to listen to Jim Wallis, the author of God’s Politics. Rev. Wallis was in town as part of the Texas Freedom Network’s 2007 Faith & Freedom Speaker Series.
I’ve recently started to read his book, and have found it to be a very well written book that challenges to influence of the religious right, and explains how to overcome the hijacking of religion that has occurred over the last ten years or so.
While Rev. Jim didn’t focus too much on the content of his book, he did cover some parts that I have read (and agree with). First, most societal change has been organized by, or strongly influenced by, spiritual – or faith-based – organizations. As Wallis said, and writes in his book, “Lyndon Johnson didn’t become a civil rights leader until Martin Luther King made him one,” (a reference to the actions by Martin Luther King, Jr. leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1966).
Rev. Wallis explained how after he appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, that he received thousands of emails from younger people who told Wallis that “they got it” and understood that religion was not something that was only something for those that supported the religious right. Rev. Wallis provides an insight into the other issues that are religious, or moral value issues, like poverty, the Iraq war, and social justice, many of which were mentioned more times in the Bible than other “important (religious right) issues”like abortion and same-sex marriage.
I’m not convinced that Layton enjoyed himself overly at the event, but we certainly were able to have a in-depth conversation about the things we love to talk about in the car ride home. This is something that I value in my friends, the ability – and willingness – to talk about the “taboo” subjects like religion, sex and politics. The conversations are always refreshing, often challenging, but never boring. To my friends, “thank you!”