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Author and Theologian Jim Wallis Tells Students Social Movements, Not Politicians, Bring Change

By Add Seymour Jr.

Author and theologian Jim Wallis believes no matter who is elected U.S. president, American citizens are the ones who will be behind any real change in this country.

“It is the social movement that has changed politics more than politics has changed history,” Wallis said to a group of Morehouse students, faculty and staff inside the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel’s library on Wednesday, March 5.

“We’ve got to think beyond politics,” he said. “We’ve got to create social movements that change Washington.”

Wallis is president and chief executive officer of Sojourners, an organization dedicated to articulating the biblical call to social justice. A frequent guest commentator for newspapers, magazines and television outlets nationwide, he also is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, which has 250,000 readers.

Wallis was at Morehouse to speak to religion and philosophy students and sign copies of his latest book, The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America (HarperOne).

A veteran of the civil rights movement who was arrested 22 times, Wallis said that while voting is important, nearly all politicians are more apt to make decisions by putting their fingers up and going with the winds of popular thought instead of what is right for the nation.

“King knew you just don’t change the country by changing out wet-fingered politicians for another,” he said. “You change the country by changing the world.”

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