Anti-War Preacher Endorses Tony Blair's Heir Apparent

By Kevin McCandless | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

London ( - After condemning the war in Iraq and breakfasting with Bono, an American evangelical pastor this week compared British Chancellor Gordon Brown - seen here as Prime Minister Tony Blair's heir apparent - to a biblical prophet.

Addressing reporters before launching his latest book, Jim Wallis said Brown was like the ancient Hebrew prophet Micah, who prophesied: "They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more."

"He's paying attention to the world," Wallis writes of Brown in his book, "God's Politics." "He's troubled, and he's listening to the message of the biblical prophets."

A "progressive" Baptist pastor based in the inner city of Washington, D.C., Wallis frequently lectures before prestigious conferences and meets with world leaders.

He has called the war in Iraq "unjust" and said President Bush's tax cuts have "betrayed" the poor.

Wallis and Brown met some years ago after being introduced by Blair and quickly became fast friends.

Brown, the son of a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, wrote a glowing forward to Wallis' new book and the author has said that "Christian" thinking is hardwired into him - particularly in his desire to increase global funding for developing countries.

Brown is widely expected to be named successor to Blair when the prime minister eventually steps down.

Wallis makes the latest addition to a list of high profile advisors and associates.

Last week, Brown announced that Alan Greenspan, who has just retired as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, would become an unpaid economic adviser, meeting regularly with him to discuss global economic change and other issues.

Greenspan joins a circle that includes Democratic Party media consultant Bob Shrum, a close friend and advisor of Brown's, and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who has repeatedly praised Brown's policies at the British Treasury.

Brown is a leader who takes a "hands-on" approach to making policy and likes to surround himself with forceful intellects like Greenspan, Mark Wickham-Jones, a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol, said Wednesday.

The Greenspan association was also meant to be a signal that a government under Brown would be economically responsible, he added.

"It's an extraordinary sign to financial sectors, to the financial markets, that he can be trusted."

Conservative shifts

As Brown preps himself for a long-awaited future role as prime minister, the man who hopes to prevent that occurrence, Conservative Party leader David Cameron, continues his efforts to make the party electable after three successive defeats to Blair's Labor.

He has announced several moves appearing to indicate a shift towards the political center.

In addition to calling for several symbolic powers held by the Queen to be curtailed, he says he also wants lawmakers to be given the final say when British troops are sent into action.

It has also emerged that several openly homosexual Conservative activists have been invited to apply for a "priority list" of candidates to contest winnable constituencies in the next general election.

Although this group represents a small fraction of the 500 or so potential candidates approached, the move is seen here as an attempt to make the party a more accurate reflection of the country's makeup.

Currently, there are around a dozen openly homosexual and lesbian lawmakers in Parliament, including two Conservative legislators.

One of those approached for a place on the "priority list" is Iain Dale, a former chief of staff to a senior Conservative lawmaker.

Dale said society was changing rapidly, with people becoming more open, and that his party was simply reflecting that change.

The Tories would now be able to reach a section of the population that they had excluded in the past, he said.

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