Acton Institute Powerblog

A Paper Trail from Soros to Wallis?

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In a recent article in World magazine, Acton senior fellow Marvin Olasky urged evangelical minister Jim Wallis to drop the pretense of being post-partisan. Olasky, World magazine’s editor-in-chief, went on to assert that (1) Wallis’s organization, Sojourners, received money from the foundation of secular-leftist George Soros, and that (2) Wallis had lent the Sojourners mailing list to the Obama campaign.

In an interview here, Wallis appears to deny these charges. But now former Acton research fellow Jay Richards has followed up with some additional findings in a new piece at NRO. The findings strongly support Olasky’s claims, and make it all the more unclear why Wallis would respond to them by denying them and calling Olasky a professional liar.

Richards has been keeping tabs on Wallis for a while now. In an October 2005 review of God’s Politics, Richards shows how Wallis sits squarely on the left and has even capitulated to the secular left on key social issues. The book review also examines Wallis’s questionable biblical exegesis as well as some of the economic fallacies that drive much of Wallis’s political thinking.

Wallis may mean well, but the big-government policies he advocates have been a wrecking ball to the very communities he seeks to help. An Acton/Coldwater video short examines why the left’s approach to poverty alleviation has done so much harm. It’s called How not to Help the Poor.

Jonathan Witt


  • Ray Marshall

    The end always justifies the means, to the lefties.

  • DL

    From Jay’s article:
    If in fact Wallis did get money from Soros and various other left-wing foundations, what I don’t get is why Wallis doesn’t just say, “Sure, we get (or have gotten) money from left-wing foundations. We differ on a few points but agree on a host of important issues.”

    Can you point me to an Acton statement that says “Sure we get money from right-wing foundations (Koch, Bradley, McKenna). We differ on a few points but agree on a host of important issues.”

    Seems both organizations equally champion their faux-non-partisan status (with a wink to the IRS) while being predictable homers for their respective political parties. I applaud calling Wallis out on his dishonesty, but you seem to be making a larger charge of partisan-by-association that would implicate Acton on the same grounds. Clarification would be appreciated.

  • @DL I spend lots of time on the God’s Politics/Sojourners blog (don’t ask me why), and I think the nature of Wallis’ “post-partisan” stance is different from Acton’s.

    Even if you corner Wallis on core principles (e.g., Marxist theory — heck, even just plain tenets of liberalism), he will not give you a straight answer. He acts as though his good intentions exempt him from having to get into any specific policy (or politician) discussions, even though is main emphasis is, yes, POLITICS. Financiers aside, I don’t get why Wallis is so opposed to it when people call him a “socialist.” He constantly rejects terms that accurately describe his views, which has always seemed dishonest to me, though more subtly so than this.

    As far as Acton, I’m not too familiar with where they get their funding (you may be more aware on this), but if someone were to ask Acton if financiers X, Y, and Z gave them funding, I would think they would probably release statements similar to what Richards is suggestion.

    The point is that, in this case, we find him (most likely) lying. Are you suggesting Acton would straight-up lie if asked? It’s one thing to keep your financiers somewhat covert, it’s quite another to do what Wallis seems to be doing.

  • Roger McKinney

    Anyone who spent any time at Wallis’ blog knows he is a died in the wool Marxist. His total contempt for economics is just one piece of evidence. But outing his “neutrality” is important because it exposes the lie of all socialists that they have no political agenda. This applies to the media as well. Just because you proclaim yourself to be non-political and to have no agenda doesn’t mean you’re telling the truth. Like the mainstream media, Wallis is an outright lier. Neither is neutral no matter how loudly they proclaim themselves to be so. A whore is no less a whore just because she claims she isn’t one.

    And the same goes for Wallis’ claim that he is an evangelical. Spend any time on his blog and it’s clear he is a liberal/modernist.

  • Neal Lang

    “Can you point me to an Acton statement that says ‘Sure we get money from right-wing foundations (Koch, Bradley, McKenna). We differ on a few points but agree on a host of important issues’.”

    You obviously can’t see the hyprocrisis of taking money from a man who made his billion manipulating currencies which caused pain and suffering for the least of societies, including fixed income retirees. One must ask, just how does Mr. Soros’ “Social Justice” system work, and by proxy his protege and disciple, Jim Wallis.

  • Roger McKinney

    Neal, as much as I dislike Soros’s politics, he didn’t make money manipulating currencies. The states involved manipulated their currencies; Soros merely used his superior knowledge of finance to make a lot of money from their manipulation. He didn’t have anywhere near the funds to cause changes in exchange rates. Only the states can do that because only they have unlimited funds with printing presses.

  • You Wingnuts are all very selective in your condemnations – look in the mirror. You extol the “virtues” of Ronald Reagan – who, in the early 1950s, appealed on GE Theater commercials for donations for a program overseen by the CIA’s Frank Wisner that broght Eastern European Nazi collaborators to the United States. Reagan called the Nazis “Freedom Fighters,” and early TV watchers sent in their hard-earned dollars to finance Nazi importation.(Source: The Belarus Secret, by John Loftus – a Fox News contributor.) Who don’t you look into it and condemn Reagan for his documented acts of Nazi collaboration…. Oh, that’s right – you-all are “Freedom Fighters,” too …

  • David Ellis

    This is peanuts, compared to your right-wing religious phonies who are in jail. Where’s your article on Jack Abramoff et al.?