Left-wing political activist Jim Wallis was interviewed recently by Patheos.com’s Timothy Dalrymple. It is a fascinating exchange, but this Q&A in which Dalrymple quotes a Wallis critic, Marvin Olasky, jumps out, stands out:
The second part of Olasky’s critique was his suggestion that Sojourners receives funding from people like George Soros. The implication is that Sojourners received money from a Leftist atheist to deliver the vote for the Democrats. Is Sojourners open about its books? Is there anything wrong with making common cause with the George Soroses of the world?
It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I’m sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don’t receive money from Soros. Given the financial crisis of nonprofits, maybe Marvin should call Soros and ask him to send us money.
So, no, we don’t receive money from George Soros. Our books are totally open, always have been. Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners. That’s where it comes from. In fact, we’ve had funding blocked, this year and last, by liberal foundations who didn’t like our stance on abortion. Other liberal groups were happy to point out to them that our stance wasn’t kosher on abortion, so our funding was blocked.
So tell Marvin he should check his facts, and not imitate Glenn Beck.
A strong, stinging and absolute statement by President Obama’s man on the Christian left, and phrased in decidedly unChristian terms.
Not long after the interview appeared, Wallis’ organization sent a communication to Dalrymple, which Dalrymple posted with some notes of his own:
This morning I received a kind message from Tim King, communications manager for Sojourners, confirming that Sojourners has indeed received funding from Soros’ Open Society Institute. “This is public,” King wrote, “and not something we’re trying to cover up.” The message included a general statement from Jim Wallis:
Recently, I participated in an interview about the future of Evangelicalism. The interviewer asked about a blog post in which an author made accusations about Sojourners‘ funding. I should have declined to comment until I was able to review the blog post in question and consulted with our staff on the details of our funding over the past several years. Instead, I answered in the spirit of the accusation and did not recall the details of our funding over the decade in question. The spirit of the accusation was that Sojourners is beholden to funders on the political left, which is false. The allegation concerned three grants received over 10 years from the Open Society Institute that made up the tiniest fraction of Sojourners‘ funding during that decade — so small that I hadn’t remembered them. Sojourners doesn’t belong to the political left or right. Sojourners receives funding from individuals and organizations across a broad spectrum who are committed to our mission of “biblical social justice.”
I am sure there will be more conversation over this issue — but since we hosted the interview, we will let that conversation take place elsewhere. We are grateful for the interview and grateful for Sojourners‘ cooperation throughout the process.
So Marvin Olasky was slandered by Jim Wallis, as was Glenn Beck. Wouldn’t a man seeking to represent Christians be quick to apologize to both? If Wallis has done so, I haven’t seen it.
I would also be interested to know how much Soros money went to Sojourners. Most folks who receive donations from billionaires tend not to forget them, so pray for Jim Wallis’ memory.