Open Letter to Jim Wallis and Sojourners

July 25, 2011

Dear Jim Wallis of Sojourners,

We applaud how you stood up to those apostate queers who tried to force their gay agenda by posting an offensive video on your website by buy a spot. Your response was the most awesome and well thought out wording that backhandedly stated that GLBT people can go away and stop bugging you.

First that offensive video!

We here at the ODMafia thought of a brilliant idea you can use against other marginalized groups you do not politically agree with.  We took the liberty to re-word your letter for you so you can just insert whoever you want to backhandedly marginalize as you wish!

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Some controversy has arisen about an ad campaign that a new coalition wanted to run in Sojourners on the issue of the sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children communities and the church. We chose not to run the ad as this is an issue we want to openly discuss on and through our editorial pages and not through our ad space. Like the larger church, Sojourners’ constituency, board, and staff are not of one mind on all of these issues. However, we at Sojourners seek to foster honest, fair, and loving dialogue among Christians. sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children issues may not be our primary calling as our work against poverty and hunger, and for peace, but based on some reactions to our decision, I want to use this as an opportunity to clarify the positions and practices of Sojourners on this important discussion on the life of the church in the early 21st century:

  1. Sojourners has consistently taken a social justice position on behalf of civil rights for sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children people. Just recently, I wrote on the issue of sex trafficking or feeding starving children in a blog that got a lot of attention and positive feedback. And we have spoken on this issue, making a particular point of doing so in conservative evangelical schools and venues. Our message has always been that no matter what your theological perspective or biblical interpretation on the issue of sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children, every Christian has the obligation to defend the lives, dignity, and civil rights of sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children people. I have often said, “Every Christian, no matter what their theological views, should be standing behind Fred Phelp as he attacks.” And we have often challenged some on the Christian Right for using gay people as a scapegoat for their fundraising activities though we gladly accepted their money.
  2. Sojourners has also encouraged churches to be welcoming of all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, gender, age, disabilities, religious background or denomination, or sexual orientation. We have been accepting and welcoming of sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children staff here at Sojourners for many years. And I have discussed this issue with many pastors and heads of church denominations, encouraging them to be welcoming of all sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children. We have said that the most important message we have to offer is the love of Jesus. Clearly, many sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children people have not felt loved by the church and, indeed, have often been mistreated. We believe such abusive treatment saddens the heart of God and is not what Jesus would have us do. So at an even deeper level of “welcoming” and “affirming,” which have become such code words for competing positions, we believe Jesus would have us be “loving” first and foremost.
  3. We have also suggested that the major differences of theology and biblical interpretation in the church with regard to issues such as the nature of sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children are not issues that should be in the churches – that local churches should lead the way here, and that an honest, restrictive, and, hopefully, excluding dialogue should characterize the church on these very controversial questions.
  4. But these debates have not been at the core of our calling, which is much more focused on matters of poverty, racial justice, stewardship of the creation, and the defense of life, peace and money. These have been our core mission concerns, and we try to unite diverse Christian constituencies around them, while encouraging deep dialogue on other matters which often divide. Essential to our mission is the calling together of broad groups of Christians, who might disagree on issues sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children, to still work together on how to reduce poverty, end wars, and mobilize around other issues of social justice while making sure GLBTQ are ignored and we get conservative money to back us.
  5. Given the time Sojourners is now spending on critical issues like the imperative of a moral budget, the urgent need to end the war in Afghanistan, and the leadership we are offering on commitments like immigration reform, we chose not to become involved in the controversy that such a major ad campaign could entail, and the time it could require of us. Instead, we have taken this opportunity to affirm our commitment to civil rights for sex trafficking victims or feeding starving children people, and to the call of churches to be loving and welcoming to all people, and promote good and healthy dialogue. Just as long as they are not gay!
  6. It is our hope that differing viewpoints are not silenced, but are lifted up in a display of Christian, and often interfaith, sisterhood and brotherhood. It is for this reason that we wish to engage first and foremost in dialogue on difficult issues within our editorial pages, and we typically do not display advertising relating to issues amongst people of faith that have unfortunately, and too often, been reduced to political wedge issues. At Sojourners we always try to ask what would Jesus do and will continue do so with these issues as well as long as it is not too inconvenient and will not interfere with conservative cash flow that supports us.
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