Acton Institute Powerblog

Jim Wallis: From Sandalista to Champion of Big Government

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

Essential reading on Jim Wallis by long-time observer Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion & Democracy:

How does Wallis—the old Students for a Democratic Society agitator who touted the Vietcong in the 1970s and the Sandinistas in the 1980s, who denounced welfare reform in the 1990s as a betrayal of the poor, and whose funding by George Soros was exposed last year—enlist Catholic bishops and mainstream evangelicals in his endless political campaigns? “We’re frankly challenging leadership on both sides of the aisle on this one,” he recently told reporters. “If you’re going to come after the poor, you have to go through us first.” Famously a name dropper, Wallis mentioned his impending White House visit. He’d urged evangelicals to support Obama in 2008 and has carefully not burned bridges, despite passage of the ultimately bipartisan 2011 budget cuts against which he fasted.

Read Mark Tooley’s “Our Savior, the Democrats” on

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • Roger McKinney

    Wallis faithfully follows Marx, not Christ. Marx once thought of himself as
    an economist, but when he couldn’t refute the economists who trashed his
    socialism, he turned against economics. Wallis urges his followers to abandon
    the “gospel of scarcity” (economics) and embrace the “gospel of abundance”
    (Marxism). As did Marx, he elevates envy to a virtue.

  • David

    Roger McKiney, that is nothing but prejudiced bull. In Seminary (evangelical), I came across a 2-volume work called “The Communism of Acts” (NOT political Communism) by Jackson & Lake. You need to read it to know the difference. Marx? Humbug! Get your facts straight! And while not ethocentric, I’m as American as anyone, in favor of capitalism. –Pastor David Kirschke (LifeWay Church

  • Roger McKinney

    David, my facts are straight. Jackson and Lake confuse Christian charity, which requires private property and free will giving, with forced state redistribution of wealth.

  • Roger…you’ve read Jackson and Lake?  You’ve read Marx and Engels?

  • Roger McKinney

    I have read a lot of Marx and Engels, but not Jackson and Lake. However, they are not the first to claim that the actions of the Church in Act were communist. But such claims only advertise an ignorance of what communism is and how it differs from Godly charity. Godly charity assumes private property and a willingness to give. Communism assumes private property is evil and forces redistribution of wealth. Christian charity abhores envy; communism elevates envy to a virtue.