Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Tony Campolo: "Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hi-Jacked!"

Tony Campolo has been an outspoken advocate and activist for social justice from a biblical perspective for years. Here is an excellent interview with him from BeliefNet, where he rightly points out that God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, and Jesus cannot be co-opted into endorsing anyone’s campaign. No matter what Pat Robertson says.

The overemphasis on faith in this year's American Presidential campaign has been troubling me deeply. George W Bush, the "Christian" candidate has been less than Christ-like as he attacks and mis-represents Democratic challenger, John Kerry. Many American Christians seem to hear only Bush's Christian rhetoric as if being a Christian means little more than praying every day and reading the bible supplimented with "My Utmost for His Highest."

John Kerry has also been very inarticulate regarding his faith. He often falls back on the "my religion is a private issue" response which suggests to his critics that his faith has little or no bearing on his public policy decisions. I'd like to see him emphasize the compassion of Jesus for the poor and most vulnerable. I'd like to hear him give a similar speech that Bill Clinton gave to the historic Riverside Church in NYC, where Clinton points out that Jesus would probably be more interested in helping people out of poverty than in giving the most wealthy 3 percent a tax cut (go to the c-span website and enter "Clinton Riverside Church" in the search).

I guess I'm troubled by the full-throated support many Christians are giving Bush simply because he knows their lingo, strokes their fears, and makes them feel powerful. But Jesus wasn't about dominating power or the unfettered pursuit of wealth. Jesus told us that we can't serve God and mammon, and that the first will be last and the last will be first in the kingdom of God. I hear none of this from either Presidential candidate. So it makes me wonder what "God" the candidates speak of in their speeches, and on what, truly, is their faith based?

No comments: