Bestselling Author, Pastor Jim Wallis Explores Race & Moral Responsibility in the Trump Era

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Jim Wallis with Stephen Henderson in September 2016

Many evangelical Christians who voted Trump into office have advocated for the president’s heavy-handed approach toward immigration.

But some spiritual leaders say it’s fundamental to the faith that Christians open their arms and actively campaign for the rights of all, including and especially immigrants and refugees.   

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Jim Wallis, bestselling author, pastor, and founder of Sojourners, an advocacy group. Wallis recently wrote a new preface to his New York Times bestselling book America’s Original Sin in reaction to the Trump administrationHe brings themes from this new addition to the conversation:

The election of Donald Trump is causing a moral crisis in this nation on a number of levels, and really it’s causing this crisis in the churches,” says Wallis.

Because of Trump, we need a new conversation on race, like we haven’t had before, and particularly in white churches and between white and black churches,” Wallis explains. “A Black priest who was with me on [a] panel said he’s always asking his white students [if they’ve] ever heard racism spoken to from the pulpit of their churches as a sin… And the answer he gets is ‘no.’”

For as many reasons as Trump and his supporters give for his plans and legal actions against immigrants, Wallis explains that this is an undeniably Christian issue. Similar to faith communities’ role in the Underground Railroad, he asserts that Christians must act against the president’s orders:

Jesus says directly: as you treat the stranger, you treat me. People who talk about the unborn as vulnerable, which is true, I want to see those people talk about the strangers or the immigrants as vulnerable too… it’s so clear that protecting vulnerable people is at the heart of our faith,” he says. “So it’s time for faith to act as resistance to this… if you arrest and deport millions of people who are members of our churches, who’s kids go to our schools… you’re going to have to arrest them in our churches and in our homes. We have the capacity to say to this administration that we’re going to become sanctuaries for the people who Jesus calls strangers.” 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Laura Weber Davis/WDET

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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