What right has Pat Robertson to speak for America's Christians? A prominent activist, preacher, and editor of Sojourners...


WHO SPEAKS FOR GOD? The New Spiritual Politics Beyond the Religious Right

What right has Pat Robertson to speak for America's Christians? A prominent activist, preacher, and editor of Sojourners magazine repeats his call for a religious vision of politics that goes beyond the current polarization of left and right. Wallis (The Soul of Politics, 1994) believes that many Americans genuinely want to see politics renewed by a sense of personal values and responsibility but do not want to give up the equally biblical imperative for social justice. Although he criticizes the Democrats for a lack of moral imagination, much of his book is an attack on Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition. He traces the way in which the religious right has successfully promoted itself as the voice of Christianity in this country, in spite of the fact that its leaders do not talk much about the teachings of Jesus and the Hebrew prophets. Wallis reminds us that the Bible consistently rebukes the rich and powerful for their neglect of the poor, and that evangelical Christians in the last century were leaders in the abolitionist movement and advocates for the poor. Although he speaks as a Protestant, Wallis admires the coherence of Catholic social teaching, in which opposition to abortion goes hand in hand with insistence on society's duty to care for the disenfranchised. Wallis's own political vision includes compassion for the poor, a renewed sense of community, and a new civility in public discourse. Although he is hard-hitting in his denunciations, he is not always as clear or specific in his proposals. On abortion, Wallis favors legal restrictions, not recriminalization, and the creation of a climate in which abortion would become ""less thinkable."" He supports legislation to strengthen the family and also to protect the rights of homosexuals. He concludes with a policy statement that has been endorsed by over 80 Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox church leaders. Cogent and well written, Wallis's call for action deserves to be heard.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996


Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996