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Jim Wallis, convener of Call to Renewal, has been calling on Christians to see political involvement beyond the perennial issues of abortion and gay rights. Wallis, a registered Democrat, is an evangelical leader in the faith-based Left and a frequent critic of George W. Bush. His profile has been raised as national Democrats have started to talk to him about how they can better reach out to values voters in the wake of Republican victories on November 2. The Democratic National Committee is meeting today in Washington to plot strategy. Wallis's new book, God's Politics, is on the New York Times bestseller list. Wallis spoke with Stan Guthrie, CT's senior associate news editor.

It appears that [former governor of Vermont and failed presidential candidate] Howard Dean will be the new head of the DNC. Is he someone you can support, given his evident lack of familiarity with evangelical issues?

Well, I don't get involved in supporting candidates for the DNC, one way or the other. I work with whoever's there. I've got meetings [today] on the Hill with Democrats and Republicans, at their instigation. I'll go and talk to them. So, if Dean's there I'll work with him.

Regarding Dean, I've said time and time again, the worst thing anyone can be is inauthentic when they talk about religion or faith. So if Democrats are people of faith they should speak as such. If they're not, they shouldn't. Same with Republicans. Some are and some aren't. So, Howard Dean shouldn't make the mistake again of saying his favorite book in the New Testament is Job. And if he's not religious, he should say, "I'm not very religious, but I respect those in the Democratic Party who are." And their concerns should be taken seriously.

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February 2005

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