Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners Magazine, left nobody in doubt as to which side of the left/right political divide he occupies when talking about the election during your telephone interview with him last week. He seems to believe that the conservative Right have hijacked the political system, pushing their agendas into Washington under a “moral values” banner. He says that poverty (for example) is a religious agenda also, and says he would like to advance social justice in politics. By this he seems to imply that, in the same way that conservatives are pushing their interpretations of morality into politics, he would like to do the same with his own!

What he doesn’t explain is by what criteria he has established that issues of social justice should be enshrined in legislation. After all, no one piece of legislation (that I know of) is preventing anyone else from giving charitably, if that is his concern; in fact, research indicates that those who would be described as “conservative” consistently make the highest quantity of charitable donations. Action on behalf of the homeless, the poverty-stricken and those without healthcare is charity; but petitioning to lawmakers to use money which is not their own to ‘solve’ these problems does not qualify as such!

When religions and other activist groups, both Right and Left, finally realise that the role of the state does not involve the advancement of their causes through legislation, the world will be better off for it.

Yours faithfully,

John Wright