Jim Wallis thing on CNN: Faith Guiding Our Votes

There are very few moments when we have the opportunity to turn the eyes of the nation away from the three-ring circus that our electoral process resembles and onto the concerns of those whom Jesus called the "least of these."

Tonight is one of those moments, as Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama join us for a conversation about faith, values, and poverty broadcast live on CNN (7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific). And in hundreds of churches and homes across the country, people of faith like you will be gathering to watch the candidates and help us issue a prophetic challenge to put poverty at the top of the political agenda.

It's not too late to join them -- click here to find a watch party in your area.

We're calling the event "Faith Guiding Our Votes," because it will be 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.

Be sure to stay tuned immediately after the forum (8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific), as I'll be interviewed live on CNN by Paula Zahn to offer my own reaction to the evening's events.

Tonight also marks the launch of our efforts leading up to the 2008 election -- including a similar forum with the Republican candidates we're planning for the fall -- and the launch of our campaign to Vote Out Poverty, challenging candidates from both political parties to go on the record with specific plans for overcoming poverty at home and abroad.

Comments

I'm Excited.

I've been looking forward to this discussion for a while.

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Thanks!

Hadn't heard about this. Should be interesting.

No Cable,

Is there a tube link?

I'm working late.

Someone who watches let me know how many "faiths" are acknowledged.

_____________

Pretty much just the one...

although the panel did include a Catholic priest.
Sen. Clinton was politically correct. Sen. Obama seemed to me to ramble and I had a hard time staying with him. Sen. Edwards was candid as usual. (I am an Edwards supporter, but to me his responses were on point and consistent with previous statements.)

Thanks.

So it was basically a Christian based event?

I am an Edwards supporter as well, and have always found him very consistent with his statements. I think that's because he genuinely believes what he's saying, and doesn't need a coach or consultant to tell him what to say about faith. (yeah, that's kind of a slap at the other two).

_____________

So...

You didn't watch the debate, but you feel like you're in a position to comment about whether Hillary or Obama genuinely believe what they say with regard to faith? That's baloney.

If you've read Clinton and Obama's respective autobiographies, Living History and Dreams of My Father, you'll know that faith has played a vital role in both of their lives. Obama first arrived in Illinois, as a community organizer for churches on the Southside of Chicago. And during the fallout from her husband's affairs, Clinton sought counsel from various religious leaders.

As Rev. Wallis pointed out today:

"The Democratic front-runners are all people who are clearly more comfortable in church as people of faith -- relating their faith to politics -- than the top Republican front-runners."

Tonight was the first time I'd heard Hillary publicly speak about her faith, but I found her engaging and, probably, more personable, than I've seen her throughout this campaign.

Obama's performance was awkward--he broke into this soliloquy that went on a little too long--so he really didn't get an opportunity to answer many questions. I was disappointed in his performance.

Also: The discussion tonight was a part of Pentecost 2007, a conference that brings together church leaders, service providers, anti-poverty advocates and "emerging leaders" from across the country to mobilize the church in the fight against poverty. This isn't the first time Clinton, Edwards or Obama have appeared at the conference--Edwards was recognized at Pentecost 2005 for his work on poverty and Clinton and Obama spoke at last years conference (Obama gave a stirring keynote).

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

No, I didn't watch tonight's debate.

if you bothered to read my first post, you'd have seen that I was working late. However, I've been watching all of the candidates since well before they became candidates.

I'm not commenting on their performance last night, but on my personal impression of John Edwards genuine beliefs. I've met him several times, in situations that were not in the mad crush of political events. I think I have a right to do that.

My slap was that Hillary and Obama both hired consultants to deal with the religious community.

I stand by it.

I also stand by this: The mainstream media needs to call Christan based events Christian. "Faith" is not owned by Christians. There are Jews who are faithful, there are Muslims who are faithful, there are Hindus who are faithful, there are Pagans who are faithful. M$M has taken a word that means a lot to many people and accepted the neocon frame for it: "only Christians have faith". It's bs. If you mean Christian, say Christian. It's as if they're ashamed of being Christian.
_____________

The First Question...

...was purely rhetorical. I read your post, so I know you didn't watch the debate...I just think that you're not in a position to judge the depth of anyone's faith, if you hadn't heard them speak about it (and for many this was the first time hearing Hillary vocalize her thoughts on faith).

I think you're using the wrong word in your assessment. I think you mean constituency/outreach directors, not consultants--and there is a huge difference between the two, both in deed and connotation.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do not have religious consultants--there's no one directing them in their faith, except perhaps their pastors. What Clinton does have (Obama's organization, to my knowledge, doesn't, at this point) is someone in charge of outreach to faith based organizations. Burns Strider is Clinton's Director of Faith Based Operations, a role that he held (essentially) in the House Democratic Caucus, where he worked to give Democrats a better understanding of faith and politics after the 2004 election.

As I said, Obama doesn't have a faith constituency director yet and, to my knowledge, neither does Edwards, but I fully expect both of them to hire someone soon...as it's a crucial role to fill for outreach, particularly in South Carolina. Also, it's worth noting that both Kerry and Edwards had outreach directors to the faith community in 2004, so it's not uncommon.

But, as I said, they're not consultants.

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Wrong

First time seeing Hillary talk about faith???? She and Bill have been talking about their faith since 1991 on the national media.

It was well known that Bill had faith advisers on his campaigns and on staff at the white house. Not outreach to faith communities, an actual faith adviser. Does she have one on her campaign directly? I dont know.

And Obama does have a faith constiuency director already.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

Agreed.

But I can't remember Hillary talking about her faith, independent of her husband, prior to last night...that was my point.

You're right--just double-checked my information and he's hired Joshua Dubois to lead his outreach efforts.

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

I was not judging their personal faith.

I was judging their campaigns, and the direction of them - which, as a citizen and a voter who keeps herself as informed as I can, I have a right and a responsibility to do.

I stand by my opinion. I didn't reach it lightly or type it without thought.

Oh - you can call it whatever you want - consultant, "constituency director", feng shui designer, whatever. It is what it is. A marketing campaign directed towards Christians - but they're afraid to call it that.

_____________

From what I've read...

Edwards also made strong statements that those who do not believe in God are just as moral as those who do, a strong statement of support for all religions really.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Yup.

I believe John Edwards is an honest moral leader who happens to be a religious man.
_____________

Somehow - this fails to reassure me -

Burns Strider is Clinton's Director of Faith Based Operations, a role that he held (essentially) in the House Democratic Caucus, where he worked to give Democrats a better understanding of faith and politics after the 2004 election.

Really.