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George Soros's Evangelicals

Meet Richard Cizik, head of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

12:00 AM, Aug 26, 2010 • By MARK TOOLEY
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Wallis responded angrily to Olasky’s revelations of Soros funding. “It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living,” Wallis fumed about another recent nemesis in early August to Patheos, a Christian website. “I’m sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don’t receive money from Soros. Given the financial crisis of nonprofits, maybe Marvin should call Soros and ask him to send us money.”  Wallis insisted: “So, no, 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.” He urged his interviewer:  “So tell Marvin he should check his facts, and not imitate Glenn Beck.”

Evidently after proof of the Soros grants appeared online (despite the Open Society Institute’s having removed the original links), Wallis had his public relations staffer follow up with Patheos with a confession: “I should have declined to comment until I was able to review the blog post in question and consulted with our staff on the details of our funding over the past several years,” Wallis explained.  “Instead, I answered in the spirit of the accusation and did not recall the details of our funding over the decade in question.”  Wallis denied that Sojourners is “beholden to funders on the political left” and instead promotes “biblical social justice.”  But he admitted, tacitly, that the “allegation” concerning three Open Society Institute grants was true.  These funds “made up the tiniest fraction” of Sojourners budget, “so small that I hadn't remembered them.” 

Soros support for evangelical left fixtures like Wallis and Cizik smartly illustrates that Soros, or at least his staff at the Open Society Institute, understand the importance of religion in American politics even if the billionaire financier himself is an adamant non-believer.  How evangelical recipients of Soros cash explain this support to their church-going constituents may be more complicated.

Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, is the author of Taking Back the United Methodist Church. 

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