Marvin Olasky reports for World Magazine that Jim Wallis’ Sojourners group has been receiving funding from George Sorosâ€”the billionaire leftist who has financed groups promoting abortion, atheism, and same-sex marriage. Anyone who has paid any attention at all to Wallis’ leftward commitments shouldn’t be surprised that Soros might be interested in beefing up Sojourner‘s bottom-line.
Wallis, however, is denying the report. In fact, he got downright prickly in a recent interview when asked about Olasky’s article:
“It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. 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.
“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. That’s where it comes from. In fact, we’ve had funding blocked, this year and last, by liberal foundations who didn’t like our stance on abortion. Other liberal groups were happy to point out to them that our stance wasn’t kosher on abortion, so our funding was blocked.
“So tell Marvin he should check his facts, and not imitate Glenn Beck.”
Hmm. Methinks thou dost protest too much. And I’m not the only one. At National Review Online, Jay Richards has documents showing that Sojourners received a $200,000 grant from George Soros’ foundation, the Open Society Institute (OSI). Richards also parses Wallis’ aforementioned denial: “We don’t receive money from George Soros.” This line seems only to deny that Sojourners is currently receiving money from Soros, not that it hasn’t received any in the past.
My question is the same as that of Olasky and Richards. Why is Wallis being cagey about receiving support from leftwing groups? Also, why is Wallis resorting to ad hominem attacks against Olasky? It would be more helpful to hear a clear response to the substance of Olasky’s article rather than an attack on Olasky’s character.
UPDATE, 8/20/10: I just learned that Wallis has fessed up to receiving the funds from Soros’ foundation. The admission is on the Patheos site, and here is Wallis in his own words:
Recently, I participated in an interview about the future of Evangelicalism. The interviewer asked about a blog post in which an author made accusations about Sojourners‘ funding. 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. Instead, I answered in the spirit of the accusation and did not recall the details of our funding over the decade in question. The spirit of the accusation was that Sojourners is beholden to funders on the political left, which is false. The allegation concerned three grants received over 10 years from the Open Society Institute that made up the tiniest fraction of Sojourners‘ funding during that decade — so small that I hadn’t remembered them. Sojourners doesn’t belong to the political left or right. Sojourners receives funding from individuals and organizations across a broad spectrum who are committed to our mission of “biblical social justice.”
No apology yet from Wallis for calling Olasky a liar. Maybe that will be forthcoming as well.