When incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted to “set a new tone” by having a “non-partisan religious leader” deliver yesterday’s Democrat radio address, he chose a left-leaning evangelical pastor whose non-partisanship included being a signatory to a letter sent this week from a group called Faithful Democrats.

As WND reported, Faithful Democrats issued an open letter to U.S. pastors blasting Christian leaders of several “right-wing religious organizations” who had expressed their opposition to the recent decision by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to invite Senator Barack Obama to speak on World AIDS Day because of his position on abortion.

“It’s unfortunate that these groups would exploit the Christian faith to advance their divisive agenda – an agenda that gives almost exclusive attention to a few wedge issues while ignoring the diversity of problems plaguing American communities,” the letter read.

Faithful Democrats signatories included Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Call to Renewal, Tony Campolo of Eastern University, Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, Randall Balmer of Columbia University, Paul de Vries of New York Divinity School and C. Welton Gaddy of Northminster Baptist Church in Louisiana.

Jim Wallis

Reid selected Jim Wallis to give the address, usually reserved for politicians, “in the spirit of bipartisanship.” Reid referred to Wallis as “non-partisan.”

In the address, Wallis, who is widely viewed as a leading voice of the religious left, called for Americans to take “the road of compassionate priorities and social justice.”

“In the Hebrew Scriptures, the health of a society was measured by how it cared for its weakest and most vulnerable, and prosperity was to be shared by all,” he said. “Jesus proclaimed a gospel that was ‘good news to the poor.’

“It is time to lift up practical policies and effective practices that ‘make work work’ for low-income families and challenge the increasing wealth gap between rich and poor.”

Wallis called for “the renewal of our lifestyles” and “the moral redemption of our foreign policies” in order to conserve energy and be good stewards of a creation threatened by global warming and pollution.

He also called for withdrawal from Iraq.

“The only moral and practical course is to dramatically change the direction of U.S. policy, starting with an honest national debate about how to extricate U.S. forces from Iraq with the least possible damage to everyone involved,” he said.

Wallis, who has rejected the “religious left” label given him, instead insisting that he wants to bring the nation to “a moral center,” told listeners that he was speaking as a “person of faith,” and not on behalf of the Democrat Party.

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