I believe if James were writing his epistle today, he would go beyond clothing [the poor]. He would demand that we take care of the sick and the shut-in as part of expressing our faith. Most religious groups see it that way.

What do you say to religious conservatives who argue that those kind of biblical exhortations are directed at individuals, not the government?

What is the government if it’s not individuals acting collectively on behalf of the common good? That’s what we are. So I would not argue with that point. I would agree.