Jim Wallis Says Repentance Has Not Happened In Ferguson Yet

Sojourners founder Jim Wallis. Photo courtesy of Sojourners
Sojourners founder Jim Wallis. Photo courtesy of Sojourners

The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian magazine Sojourners and a spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama, will be one of the key speakers at an interfaith event related to Ferguson Sunday (Oct. 12) at St. Louis University.

In the following Q&A — edited for clarity and length — Wallis talks about how faith plays a role in his decision to come to St. Louis and how his past involvement in the civil rights era compares to today.

Q: Can you tell me how you became involved in Ferguson, and what you expect from your visit?

A: It turns out I was in South Africa all of August doing a speaking tour, and so when Ferguson broke out that’s where I was. What was interesting was how in South Africa it was all over the news. The way it was an issue in South Africa and around the world says something all by itself. We’ve had local clergy brief us on what’s going on and how it feels after 60 days. Imagine 60 days of this stress. It takes its toll on everyone. The people there are the ones who are leading this every day. We’re going to be supportive and helpful, as much as we can.

Q: How does your faith play a role in Ferguson?

A: Repentance is a powerful theme throughout the Bible, and I’m an evangelical so that’s important to me. It’s not just about admitting wrongdoing but also committing to making changes that prevent further harm from being done, and there has not even been any admitting of wrongdoing yet by any of the powers that be in Ferguson.

I’m coming to Ferguson because repentance has not happened there yet, and the faith community really won’t rest until it does. Ferguson can’t be just another moment, like Trayvon Martin was. We need moments like this to turn into a movement.

I’ll say this as clearly as I can. What’s very clear is that black lives are worthless in America and the criminal justice system. It’s time to right that unacceptable wrong. All the details and the particulars in the incidents can always be discussed, but we all know that young black men are treated differently than young white men. That’s just the truth. And it’s wrong. And Christians can’t accept that.

We’re walking into a broken situation, and I hope the faith community can try to bring people together around dealing with what has to be dealt with to heal.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Religion News Service
Lilly Fowler / The Post-Dispatch

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