Tony's Rant

The United Methodist Reporter has an article from their most recent edition that focuses on Tony Campolo and his assertion that the Religious Right is "frightening"

Some observations from Mr. Campolo:

  • "The Religious Right's takeover of U.S. media as representative of Christianity has been embarrassing, at best, and at times even frightening, Dr. Campolo said. Not only do Religious Right spokesmen such as Mr. Robertson and James Dobson misrepresent Christianity -- and especially evangelicals -- they are not held accountable regarding truth in broadcasting."
  • "Christian media often repeats a weak Freudian case for homosexuality that has been discounted by contemporary scholars: that homosexuality has its roots in a weak father and a domineering mother. That theory, he said, would be disproven by a cursory study of the population of Camden, N.J., a city with a 90 percent rate of single-mother families.
  • You would expect homosexuality would be the norm (there). The theory propagated by Christian radio has no basis. But once Focus on the Family says it, it's repeated everywhere. You dare not go against James Dobson."
  • "Left Behind has set a tone in this country against social action. The only thing that really matters is getting people saved and ready for the Rapture. But Scripture talks about the transformation of the individual under the power of the Holy Spirit and a transformed society marked with justice. Once again, go to the Bible. It’s a great source of theology."
  • "When we're being faithful to what Jesus said, we will transform society. Some people tell me that what I've been saying is 'dangerous.' When did Christianity become not dangerous?"

Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis and Brian McLaren are among evangelical leaders who have come up with a new term to describe themselves. They reject the term "Religious left" as an alternative to the the "frightening" religious right. Instead they're calling themselves "red-letter Christians." They take the message of Jesus seriously and try to make that the starting point for all their actions.

Like that "Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself." stuff.

The more evangelical, mainline, catholic -- any followers of Jesus who stay with that message first -- the better.


James Hutchins said...

I agree with "The more evangelical, mainline, catholic -- any followers of Jesus who stay with that message first -- the better"... but give me a break - these guys are no better than the religious right. The premise of your post (their reaction to the religious right) is THE motivation first for thier action. They don't like the religious right, the influence of the religious right and how they are leveraging Jesus for politics - which is fine... but let's not pretend the motivation is not political reaction.

Kirk said...

The outspoken nature of these theologians is, I agree, a reaction to their disagrement with the religious right's political agenda. They think the agenda is contrary to the message of Jesus. However, Tony is the one who usually adds emotion-grapping words like "frightening" into what really should continue to be a dialog that recognizes that love is still the most important thing.

James Hutchins said...

Got it. Thanks.

James Hutchins said...


I really like your blog although we disagree slightly on this. I posted a note on your blog over at UCCtruths.com.

Kirk said...

This could get interesting, don't you think? I'm sure we come from very different places when it comes to politics -- and judging from the site you linked to this one -- a very different place when it comes to our views of the United Church of Christ. Dialog that truly has love at its core is wonderful!

James Hutchins said...

I agree Kirk. I look forward to good discussions. But don't confuse my criticism of the UCC leadership with the UCC as a whole. I think we have one of the greatest denominations in the world with so much to offer. Although I do raise concerns about the leadership of the church on UCCtruths.com - it doesn't cleanly translate politically. I'm a Libertarian at the core and it's one of the reasons I choose to stay in the UCC. Our congregational polity lets a loose cannon Libertarian like me in with open arms. :)

Kirk said...

No matter who you are . . .

Rev. Chuck Huckaby said...

I used to listen to Tony Campolo every Saturday morning while driving to a discipleship class at New Life Presbyterian Church in Jenkintown.

All I remember is that it was HE who's frightening. I attribute that to the post trauma of listening to him for a year finally wearing out.

Really, it's the Campolo's and Siders of the world who 1) criticize the "right wing" for mixing the bible and politics and then they 2) propose to give governments sweeping tyrannical powers to confiscate enough money to fund their utopia.

And they say Anabaptists are pacificsts and that capitalism is violent?

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black...

Now that's frightening.

Kirk said...

Rev. Chuck
I'd say we don't agree about Mr. Campolo -- though I do believe he let's his emotions out front and center on most occasions.
What do you mean by "propose to give governments sweeping tyrannical powers to confiscate enough money to fund their utopia"?