Tony Campolo is founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University.
Posts By This Author
Why Pastors Should Preach About Labor Unions
MOST OF US KNOW that there is something drastically wrong with the American economy. In 2017, the richest 10 percent of the population owned 77 percent of the nation’s wealth and the 20 richest Americans had more wealth than the entire bottom half of the American population. What is worse is that the new tax bill passed by President Trump and the Republican Congress will increase this imbalance. By 2027, according to the Tax Policy Center, 90 percent of its benefits will go to the richest of Americans. Because the changes will be incremental, they are not likely to be noticed by the vast majority of citizens until it is too late.
Financing these tax breaks for the rich is being accomplished in three ways. First, there will be cuts in benefits for the middle class, which that will mean less money for higher education, medical programs, and social security. Second, there will be dramatic cuts made to the programs that have heretofore provided a safety net for the poor, including cuts to the food stamps program, Medicaid, and housing subsidies. Third, there will be a huge increase in the national debt.
From the Archives: March-April 1995
MANY politically conservative evangelical Christians have been not too subtly transforming God into a transcendental member of the right wing of the Republican Party. It is not just a matter of their making a biblical case for their political agenda; they seem to be going further than that. They are giving the impression that anyone who disagrees with their agenda is outside the will of God. These people have been so effective in associating evangelical Christianity with right-wing Republicanism that to the secular press the word “evangelical” has come to mean the Christian Coalition.
This recent development has generated great consternation among many of us who, over the last few decades, have used the word “evangelical” to establish our own religious identity. We now have to ask, Can we continue to use that title? We hold to the orthodox theology of evangelicalism, but we are not about to buy into all the values and programs espoused by the Religious Right. ...
Pope Francis: Protestant?
Someone has said that Pope Francis is really a Protestant. He is, if Protestant is defined as someone who protests. His recent encyclical Laudato si' is a protest against the often irresponsible industries as they pollute the environment.
Pope Francis especially protests the ways in which coal is burned in the production of electricity. He is right to protest. What comes out of the smoke stacks of coal-fed electric power plants is linked to 50,000 deaths a year, according to Physicians for Social Responsibility. Because children and the elderly among the poor are the most vulnerable, the pope, following his namesake, St. Francis, has a special concern for those that Jesus calls "the least of these."
Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne: A Conversation About Politics
TONY CAMPOLO: Shane, I have a question to ask that may make you squirm a little bit. From hearing you talk and reading your books, you often seem to suggest that Christians not participate in the political process, and that political activism is somewhat futile. Have I understood your position correctly?
SHANE CLAIBORNE: The question for me is not are we political, but how are we political? We need to be politically engaged, but peculiar in how we engage. Jesus and the early Christians had a marvelous political imagination. They turned all the presumptions and ideas of power and blessing upside down.
The early Christians felt a deep collision with the empire in which they lived, and with politics as usual. They carelessly crossed party lines and built subversive friendships. And we should do that too. To be nonpartisan doesn’t mean we’re nonpolitical. We should refuse to get sucked into political camps and insist on pulling the best out of all of them. That’s what Jesus did—challenge the worst of each camp and pull out the best of each. That’s why we see Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, Pharisees, and Sadducees all following Jesus and even joining his movement. But they had to become new creations. They had to let go of some things. Jesus challenged the tax-collecting system of Rome and the sword of the Zealots.
So to answer the question, I engage with local politics because it affects people I love. And I engage in national politics because it affects people I love.
Governments can do lots of things, but there are a lot of things they cannot do. A government can pass good laws, but no law can change a human heart. Only God can do that. A government can provide good housing, but folks can have a house without having a home. We can keep people breathing with good health care, but they still may not really be alive. The work of community, love, reconciliation, restoration is the work we cannot leave up to politicians. This is the work we are all called to do. We can’t wait on politicians to change the world. We can’t wait on governments to legislate love. And we don’t let policies define how we treat people; how we treat people shapes our policies.
TONY CAMPOLO: So you are not calling for noninvolvement in politics. Instead, you are warning Christians not to put their trust totally in political powers. You are calling them to exercise an ongoing involvement with the political process, to constantly speak truth to power in those places where power seems to be asserting itself in ways that are contrary to the will of God.
Tony Campolo: Newt's Surprising Evangelical Fan Base
The need for Red Letter Christians to no longer be labeled "evangelicals" became abundantly clear this past Saturday following the South Carolina Republican Primary. Most Evangelicals claim to be politically non-partisan, and say they only identify with the Republican Party because the Republicans are committed to "family values."
The truthfulness of that claim became questionable this past Saturday when South Carolina Evangelicals voted in surprisingly large numbers for Newt Gingrich, in spite of the fact that he's hardly a model husband in their eyes. Not only is he on his third wife, having had divorce papers served to one of them while she was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a mastectomy for breast cancer, but, if his second wife is to believed, wanted an "open marriage" so that he could have a sexual affair on the side.
Now Mr. Gingrich has been converted to Catholicism, and has, as part of his conversion, confessed his sin and asked for God's forgiveness. Evangelicals will say that this being the case we should forgive, forget and move on "to other concerns." I have to ask, however, why they didn't do this when a Democratic president repented of his sin?
My Response to Sojourners' Article About 'The Family'
I very much appreciated all the good things that Lucy Bryan Green had to say about "The Family" in the June 2011 issue of Sojourners m
Growing Where We're Planted
Christian Zionism: Theology that Legitimates Oppression
Haiti: God's Love is Greater
I'm the Older Brother
The Perils of Well-Meaning But Short-Sighted Generosity
Another Reason for Being a Red Letter Christian
The Sad Truth about the Surge
Energy, Consumerism, and the Economic Crisis
Moving the Abortion Debate Beyond Partisan Purists
In books and speeches, I have often said that God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I have contended that to make either party "The God Party" is idolatry. This, however, does not mean that Christians should abandon political activism. It has been said that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Consequently, I have long called for Christians to be involved in both political parties, striving to be the "leaven" that [...]
Pro-Life Democrats Call for an Abortion Reduction Plank
As a pro-life Democrat, and a member of the party's platform committee I will be pressing for the inclusion of an abortion reduction plank in this year's platform. Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, recently unveiled the organization's "95-10 Initiative," which she believes could reduce abortions by 95 percent over the next 10 years. While I am not that optimistic I do believe that abortions could be reduced significantly if we would address the economic [...]
U.S. Foreign Policy Versus the Great Commission
Samuel Huntington, the Harvard political scientist and the author of The Clash of Civilizations, contends that unless things change, we are facing an era marked by religious wars.
Just about every military struggle between 1945 and 1995 was over political-economic ideologies. This was true of revolutions in Latin America and Southeast Asia led by Leninists and Maoists trying to establish Communist regimes, or by the CIA endeavoring to overthrow governments that [...]
Exciting SBC Alternative Not Without Shortcomings
During the closing days of January, more than 15,000 Baptists from 30 different Baptist denominations gathered together at the Convention Center in Atlanta. Although all Baptist groups were invited to join in what was called The New Baptist Covenant, official representatives from the largest Baptist group in the U.S., the Southern Baptist Convention, were conspicuously absent. [...]
A Proposal for "Illegal Aliens"
The Hebrew Scriptures clearly call for the children of Israel to make room for the alien. The Israelites are reminded that they, too, were once aliens in a strange and distant land.
[For the Lord your God]
Rumblings from the New Baptist Covenant
They came to the Georgia World Congress Center by the thousands. They represented thirty different Baptist groups from across the nation, along with an array of representatives from Baptist groups from abroad. This gathering, held January 30 to February 1, 2008, marked the historic beginning of what is being called The New Baptist Covenant. This is not a new "super" denomination, but rather, is an association of separate Baptist denominations that are committing to work together to further [...]