Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last! After trudging through Jim Wallis God’s Politics, I come away in awe not of his message, but rather that he was able to repeat it, paragraph after tedious paragraph, for more than 200 pages before making any sort of point.
In the interest of time, I will summarize the central theme of this “book” using the unmistakable style of one of nation’s most thoughtful sages, South Park’s Mr. Mackey:
See, God, God is good, um-kay?
And Jesus, now, Jesus is really good. Um-kay?
But war, war is bad, um-kay?
And poverty? Now, poverty is just really bad, children, it’s bad, um-kay?
Now the Republicans, they love the Jesus. That’s good, um-kay?
Um-kay, but see, they like war and poverty, which is bad. Um-kay?
But the Democrats, they hate war and poverty. That’s good, um-kay?
But they don’t like the Jesus so much. That’s bad. Um-kay?
Now I loves the Jesus like nobody’s business, um-kay, and I hates that poverty and war a whole bunch. Basically, I’m the greatest person in the world, um-kay?
I also edit Sojourners magazine.
Sojourners Sojourners Sojourners Sojourners Sojourners. I rule. Sojourners.
And stay off the drugs, um-kay?
Jim Wallis is a proponent of a great many causes, none more so than furthering the career of Jim Wallis. He is a HUGE fan of himself, and will spare no opportunity to tell you so. When Dubya’s not high-fiving him in the Oval Office, a crowd of thousands is bursting into tears after being treated to his passionate proselytizing. If he’s not getting a standing ovation from a Harvard audience, Bono is bearhugging him at a debt relief function. Jim is like, way cool.
Not content to simply preach and preach and preach some more, Jim is also an avid writer of diatribes; there’s virtually no elected official in this great land who hasn’t had the pleasure of receiving 5000 word of wisdom. But don’t worry, we haven’t been left out of the mix; if he sent it, he also reprinted it in the book. If it was 10 pages long, no matter — it’s there, from the date to the signature.
The irony of this book is that when Jim steers away from the surface politics, it actually became somewhat intriguing. After 250 pages of tedium, Jim makes a few thoughtful and compelling arguments for the wisdom of international debt reduction, the danger of a WTO unchecked, our nation’s puzzling morality/poverty gap (i.e., the twisted right-wing logic that essentially makes exploiting the poor the right and just course of action), and the true nature of racism is the US, among others.
Naturally, he flushes it all down the tube by finishing with the tired call for the righteous masses to clean up the tawdry media that is obviously the main reason our nation is on the path to moral ruin. Look, I’m not crazy about Howard Stern throwing cold cuts at some sexually abused, meth-crazed teen stripper’s ass, either, but I’ve got 200 channels of other crap. If you don’t like it, Pax runs “Touched by an Angel” 24/7. The program you really need to be concerned about is the one where some 17-year-old from a dusty, peeling nowhere town gets shipped to the Middle East to get his legs blown off so some Bechtel exec can get a big enough bonus to add an indoor pool to his Aspen retreat — that’s called the news.
If nothing else, it brings to light the fact that there actually ARE left-leaning evangelicals who are conflicted by the current administration and want change. The bad news is the Fox Nation has no doubt spun these folks off as traitor Jesus freaks, which means that in the end, this book will probably do not a damn bit of good.
But that Jim Wallis, man, what a stud. Sojourners.