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CNN Presidential Forum on Faith, Values and Poverty 'A Sham'

Sponsoring Group Lacks Evangelical Authenticity

Contact: Dane Rose, Program Director, Faith and Action, 202-546-8329, 703-447-1072 cell


WASHINGTON, June 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- National Clergy Council President the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) , called Monday's presidential candidate forum on faith, values and poverty sponsored by Sojourners and broadcast by CNN, "A sham, a fraud and a travesty."   The event, limited to Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards was billed as a "liberal Evangelical" forum.

Rev. Schenck stated, "What viewers saw tonight was a carefully scripted public relations effort to promote liberal political positions disguised as deeply held religious beliefs.  The cynicism and sophistry of the participants in the event with regard to matters of faith was appalling."

Rev. Schenck said, "While I respect Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis's concern for the poor, this forum deceptively distorted what it means to be an Evangelical Christian.  By definition, Evangelical Christians accept the Bible in its totality as the inerrant Word of God.  Sojourners and their supporters do not.  Otherwise, Sojourners would not provide advocates of abortion and same-sex unions a platform to espouse their views about faith and values.  The purpose of this flimflam is to confuse and divide Evangelicals in order to diminish their importance as a constituency."

Rev. Schenck continued, "Sojourners has wrongly suggested that Christians have ignored the world's poor.  It is a documented fact that people of faith, particularly Christians, are the most charitable individuals on Earth.  Sojourners and their supporters would replace Christian charity with governmental redistribution of wealth – that is called socialism.  History has shown that once in power, collective forms of government have little use for religion."

In 2006, Sojourners participated in the formation of the "Red Letter Christians", a group that concerns itself only with the words of Jesus Christ, often printed in the Bible using red ink.  By exclusion, the group rejects other doctrines contained in Holy Scripture, particularly those dealing with the sanctity of life, marriage and the family.

Rev. Schenck pointed out, "Sojourners avoids discussion of abortion and same-sex marriage because the issues are 'divisive'. That is where we are in agreement, but for vastly different reasons.  The murder of innocent children in the womb and the uniting of same-sex couples in marriage divides man from God's moral law as unequivocally expressed in the Bible.  At the Day of Judgment, God will divide the righteous from the wicked."