It has long been evident that Jim Wallis and Sojourners magazine are not quite what they purport to be. To Wallis tell it, he is a lone Christian prophet speaking truth to power, without connections to the rich and powerful of the world, fighting a lonely battle on behalf of the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast.
Now, it would appear that at least part of the myth is being swept away. Not only has Wallis now got a buddy in the White House, but it would appear that for several years he and Sojourners have had a sugar daddy on the side. His name is George Soros, and the connection between them has been laid bare by Marvin Olasky of World magazine.
Since at least 2004, when he tried single-handedly to defeat the re-election bid of George Bush, billionaire Soros has been involved in funding a wide variety liberal and far left causes and organizations. Among those who have received his largess are Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, People for the American Way, the Center for Reproductive Rights, ACORN, the Compassion in Dying Federation, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, etc.
Back in July, Olasky published a column in which he said that Sojourners had received $200,000 from Soros’ Open Society Institute in 2004. He apparently hit a nerve:
It didn’t seem to me like any big deal: Of course Soros would see the religious left as important in drawing evangelical votes away from a conservative embrace. Of course Jim would take the money in pursuit of his aims. So I was surprised by Jim’s reaction when Timothy Dalrymple, who writes for the Patheos website, asked him about my mention of Sojourners receiving funding from Soros.
Dalrymple asked, “Is there anything wrong with making common cause with the George Soroses of the world?” Jim exploded: “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.”
Jim kept insisting: “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.”
Yeah, well. Wallis later put this down to ignorance–he claims not to know where all of Sojourners‘ money comes from, and the Soros money was only the “tiniest fraction” of its funding–but by 2007 his organization had taken $325,000 from Soros, including $100,00 to support the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaign, one of Sojourners‘ biggest hobby horses the past few years.
So why is this significant? First, it shows Wallis at his worst–accusing others of lying about his operations, refusing to apologize when it turns out that he’s wrong, and generally acting more like a politician with his hand caught in the cookie jar than a Christian leader. And second, it demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt a connection between Wallis, scourge of the rich who claims to be non-partisan and even non-ideological, and one of the prime funders of the political left, a billionaire atheist whose causes include abortion and gay rights, to which supposedly Wallis objects. For years, Wallis has made a living out of accusing religious conservatives of ties to political conservatives, and treating those ties as if they demonstrated that the former had sold out for a mess of political pottage. Those accusations, sad to say, were frequently accurate. It’s too bad that the accuser never bothered to look in the mirror.