Reverend Jim Wallis, spiritual adviser to former president Barack Obama, was a guest preacher at the Princeton University Chapel on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Wallis was invited by the Coalition for Peace Action, a grassroots citizens organization based in the town of Princeton, to preach for its 40th Anniversary Multifaith Service and Conference. Wallis also spoke at the conference later in the afternoon at Nassau Presbyterian Church.
Wallis is the founder of Sojourners, which he describes as “a movement, here and around the world, trying to put faith into action for social justice” since 1971. Sojourners originated from a group of students from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, who began discussing their relationship between their faith and political issues around the Vietnam War.
Wallis known for being politically vocal, particularly against President Trump. He believes that the current administration is anti-immigrant, anti-truth, and white nationalist, and that those qualities are deal-breakers for any person who claims to be a follower of Jesus.
“White nationalism isn’t just racist. It’s antichrist,” Wallis said. “To demean women, harass with assault — it’s not just sexist, it’s antichrist. Racism is antichrist. He [Trump] is the best marketer for the worst in America.”
“Trump is striking fear in the people, which leads to hate, which leads to violence. Fear. Hate. Violence. That’s the direction he’s taking us,” Wallis added.
Wallis does not think that Trump’s policies agree with the teachings of Jesus.
“Jesus says you welcome the stranger, meaning the immigrant. Well, how are we welcoming the stranger? Building a wall? Really? That doesn’t work,” Wallis said.
Wallis also fears that America is in a deeply spiritual and moral crisis and worries about the faith of younger generations.
“We are being led in an American brand of fascism … and most white Christians are still supporting that, so if that doesn't change, the churches will lose a whole generation of young people because why would they want to support that?” Wallis said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. “If a white Christian supports that, it shows that they’re much more white than Christian.”
Growing up in Detroit, Mich., Wallis questioned the racial segregation he observed in his church and community as a teenager. He worked alongside poor black men his age and realized that “we had been born in the same city of Detroit but raised in different countries.”
He frequented black churches in his city and then became an activist in college.
Wallis is also a New York Times bestselling author and is currently on a book tour for his 12th book, “Christ in Crisis,” which focuses on the eight questions Jesus asked and what it means for the “political crisis” he believes the United States is in today. Questions include “what is truth?” and “who is my neighbor?” He believes that it has been successful in starting important conversations about what to do during this very politically and religiously polarized time period.