Jim Wallis is the president of Sojourners
, a magazine and organization whose "mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice." Marvin Olasky recently described
his own politics as conservative, and chided Wallis for disingenuously insisting that his politics and Sojourners' were not leftist, and for accepting funds from the George Soros' Open Society Institute, which has a leftist political agenda but a posture somewhere between indifferent to hostile toward Christianity.
An interviewer recently asked
Wallis about Olasky's assertions. Wallis gave a carefully wrought, turn-the-other-cheek response: "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."
Yesterday the interviewer received a message from "the communications manager for Sojourners
, confirming that Sojourners
has indeed received funding from Soros' Open Society Institute." It contained a moving statement by Wallis: "I should have declined to comment until I was able to review the [Olasky] 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."
So, just to recap:
- Marvin Olasky says that Jim Wallis and Sojourners receive money from George Soros.
- Jim Wallis says that Sojourners does not receive money from George Soros and that Marvin Olasky lies for a living.
- Sojourners and Jim Wallis subsequently say that they do receive money from George Soros, though not much, though they don't say how not much.
- Jim Wallis does not apologize for saying something that was untrue - the three grants from Soros were "so small that I hadn't remembered them" - and doesn't retract or apologize for the assertion that Olasky lies for a living.
- The only blame Wallis is willing to assign for his own categorical statements that turned out to be categorically wrong is that it was all Olasky's fault, since Wallis merely replied in the spirit of the accusation against Sojourners.
Is it any wonder ours is an age of declining faith?
P.S. Marvin Olasky's colleagues and readers pitched in
to help Jim Wallis overcome his spotty, overtaxed and emotionally susceptible memory. The Open Society Institute's tax returns show that it made three grants to Sojourners between 2004 and 2007, for a total of $325,000. Either Sojourners is drowning in money or Wallis is succumbing to dementia, because he says, fessing up, that the "OSI made up the tiniest fraction of Sojourners' funding during that decade--so small that I hadn't remembered them." The other possibility, that Wallis lies - not for a living, exactly - but when it appears convenient for the greater good of articulating the biblical call to social justice, is too far-fetched and cruel to entertain for as long as it takes to pose the thought.