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January 31, 2012

Tony Campolo: If Evangelicals Vote Gingrich, Count Me Out

"The need for Red Letter Christians to no longer be labeled 'Evangelicals' became abundantly clear" with S.C. vote, he said.

Tony Campolo has long been one of America's most high-profile evangelical Democrats. From his 1976 campaign for Congress, to his service as spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton amid the Lewinsky scandal, to his work on the 2008 Democratic Party platform committee, his party affiliation has never been in doubt. And while others have questioned his evangelical bona fides (he experienced a heresy trial in the mid-'80s), he has always emphasized his identity as both an evangelist and as an evangelical, even as the two words have experienced their share of baggage. Even the name of his organization remains the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.

But EAPE isn't Campolo's only organization. In a post this week, Campolo says his more political group, Red Letter Christians, should stop using the e-word.

"The need for Red Letter Christians to no longer be labeled 'Evangelicals' became abundantly clear this past Saturday following the South Carolina Republican Primary," Campolo wrote, citing exit poll data that evangelicals in the state overwhelmingly voted for Newt Gingrich. "I, for one, am quite willing to join the 'forgive, forget and move on' crowd, but it does make me wonder if Evangelicals are going to sound believable when they say that they tend to vote Republican because of their religious commitments to the family."

Campolo says membership in Red Letter Christians requires traditional evangelical commitments like the authority of Scripture, the doctrines of the Apostle’s Creed, "a personal transforming relationship with the resurrected Christ." But, he says, "we want to be more non-partisan politically than appears to be the case for so many of our South Carolinian Evangelical brothers and sisters."

Comments

"Why are evangelicals not voting for Santorum?"
The NY Times reported that evangelicals voted: 37% Gingrich, 5% Paul, 38% Romney, 18% Santorum.

Jason,

I'm not sure. I think a lot of it is that he is old and angry and unfortunately that's similar to a lot of the South Carolina evangelicals. They want to take Obama down and Newt talks a tough game.
I'm a Santorum backer as I generally try to focus on the issues and I certainly like his social values as well as his fiscal policy designed to rebuild our manufacturing sector and help out middle class families even while not cow-towing to wall street and international corporations. I think his positions are steps in the right direction and prefer those steps to Paul's gigantic leaps.

let's see.. we have 2 Catholics, a Mormon, and a Baptist and only 5% of Evangelicals vote for the Baptist. does anyone believe Evangelicals actually vote according to spiritual principles? we've got a lot of people in this country labeled one way religiously and acting another Monday-Saturday.

"we want to be more non-partisan politically" Doesn't sound to me like he's non-partisan--he's advocating just what I would expect a liberal to advocate!

I also note that 38% of evangelicals voted for Romney. I find that much harder to understand than those who voted for Gingrich. I don't like what either political party is doing but I would like to find a TRUE conservative. I think Santorum may be closer to that than any of our options--but is he electable? I'll vote for any of them before Obama! But I suppose Campolo would object to that also.

Conservative Christians can be Democrats can't they? Why do we have to be labeled in the first place? I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Labels are a part of the problem. How about voting for the people that most align with your convictions and beliefs? The problem is that since our country (generally speaking) is becoming less conservative and less Judeo/Christian in their views and so are those running for public office, which leads voters to vote for those closest to their strongest convictions. Stop labeling and start building bridges as well as become active and not passive. That's my two cents and if there is change left over that's fine.

Count Campolo out of what? Sort of a misleading headline. Count him out of being an evangelical? He was and is an evangelical, especially by his own definition. Count him out of being a Republican? He never was and never will be. Count him out of being "non-partisan"? Please, he's always been a partisan Democrat and always will be.

This story is an example of a non-story. Nothing new here. Move on.


Tony Campolo is no one to chide Evangelicals. Further, why do Evangelicals have to follow some dictated party line? Tony would make being a Democrat a test for evangelical integrit, it appears! For more than political reasons I balk at Campolo's leading me anywhere.

He ought to consider the fact that Christians are not part of the secular humanist world and they stand as "salt" to challenge any candidate or party that they believe is hostile to men made in the image of God or thinks that the Christian faith is somehow linked at the hip with the humanist agenda. The Emerging Church is simply the New Modernism, being little more than postmodernism garbed in Christian verbiage. Finally, I suppose that Tony would find Obama more to his liking than Newt?

Thanks, but no thanks, Tony!

Happy to see "Red Letter" Christians drop "Evangelical". The two terms are not compatible. Their notion of authority of Scripture is to pick and choose. And while the Republican party may not fall in line with Biblical principals in every way, the Democrat party is quite opposed to almost all Christian ideals, and in American politics party trumps person every time.

Democrats are the faithful supporters of Abortion (excuse me, Choice) with 50 million babies Choiced to death since 1973. Democrats are the faithful supporters of gay marriage, and homosexual promotion in the schools (I pity California). Democrats are in the forefront of any attempt to limit the speech or influence of Christians. How Campolo can wear this label and promote Democrat issues while claiming to be an evangelical is beyond me. I would be thrilled to Count Campolo Out. He needs to say he is a liberal secular humanist, not representative of a Bible believing evangelical, and leave it at that.

Dear Mr. Lloyd -- You miss the point. Campolo opened the door for criticism when he criticized evangelical Republicans for the way they voted. This is nothing new. It would be more authentic and honest for the "Red Letter Christians" to give up on the notion that they are non-partisan. Below is the list of bloggers on Red Letter Christians. Anyone want to bet how many Democrats are listed below? How about "virtually every one"?
Contributors

Aaron Graham
Andrew Himes
Andrew Marin
Andy Alexis-Baker
Ann Fedeli
Anonymous
Bart Campolo
Bert Montgomery
Brett McCracken
Brian McLaren
Chris Heuertz
Chris Lahr
Christian Piatt
Christopher Cocca
Chuck Gutenson
Cole Schneider
Colin McCartney
Craig M. Watts
Dan Haseltine
Dan Martin
Danielle Tumminio
David Zimmerman
Enuma Okoro
Erin Echols
Gareth Higgins
Greg Dill
Hugh Hollowell
Ian Ebright
James L. Evans
Jamie Arpin-Ricci
Jarrod McKenna
Jason Hess
Jenny Rae Armstrong
Jeremy John
Jim Wallis
Jimmy Spencer Jr.
Joe McCullough
Joe Perdue
Joel Van Dyke
John Harris
John Janzen
Jon Huckins
Jonathan Chan
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Joshua D. Ambrosius
Kate Ausburn
Kathy Kelly
Katrina Smith
Kay Campbell
Kent Annan
Kerry Dixon
Kevin Herr
Kurt Willems
Leroy Barber
Leslie and Gary Johnson
Lisa Rea
Lisa Sharon Harper
Logan Mehl-Laituri
Lynne Hybels
Marcia Pally
Margaret Feinberg
Margot Starbuck
Mary Albert Darling
Matt Anslow
Matt Rindge
Michael Kimpan
Mimi Haddad
Morf Morford
Morgan Guyton
Noah Echols
PAPA Fest Family
Paul Alexander
Peter Heltzel
Rich Nathan
RLC Editor
Romal J. Tune
Roy Goble
Sarah Howell
Shane Claiborne
Sheldon C. Good
Spencer Burke
Tobias Roberts
Tony Campolo
Troy Jackson
Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
Will Braun

Here's a thought: How about voting for the candidate who is most committed to preserving, protecting, and defending the U.S. Constitution? Guess that would be too radical.

The problem with the so-called Red Letter Christians is that focusing only on the words of Christ (those printed in red letters in some Bible editions) ignores surrounding context, and also the fact that Jesus was "sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Those who take such a designation can therefore ignore the rest of Scripture. Since Jesus never said anything about homosexuality (He didn't need to; a homosexual would have been stoned to death in Israel, so there weren't any), that gives them permission to support it. They fail to realize that the words of Paul in Romans 2 holds just as much weight as the words of Jesus, since He wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Campolo would rather align himself with Obama and democrats who support abortion and homosexual practice than he would with Christians who voted for Gindrich who opposes government funded abortion and homosexual practice. In any case, I'll stand for righteousness and against wickedness.

@John. Adulterers were stoned to death too, but do you honestly think there weren't any in Israel? I'm sure there were plenty of homosexuals too.

I wonder how the exit polls determined someone is an evangelical? Did they get to self-identify, or was this label placed on them by a pollster?

Typical East coast elitist non-sense. It's easier for Campolo to look down his nose at white southerners who disagree with him than it is to confront the immorality within his own party.

It's unlikely that there were any homosexuals in Israel.In any event, though Jesus never addressed the issue, Paul certainly did -- and Paul wrote under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit who is fully God, as Jesus is. As for Campolo, if he wants to shed the evangelical label, let him. I think many evangelicals long ago dismissed him, Jim Wallis, and their kind as belonging to that fold. It is sad, because Tony is a great writer and speaker, and has led people to the Lord before. Alas, with too many people, politics can trump faith.

As a retired professor from a central Ohio Christian university, I heard Tony Campolo speak several times in chapel and at commencements. I would question not only his liberal politics but the designation of him as an "evangelist". Not once did I hear him clearly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the pulpit to a rather large student body. Rather it was his usual screed of one liners and liberal political agenda in the style of a
"Christian" Rodney Dangerfield- very cute and funny but lacking in Biblical content and gravitas.
I have always believed that we should consider the source and the Campolo source leads to a blind alley. Discernment and courage are called for in this day of confusion and deceit.

As a student struggling with his sexual identity in the audience at one of Campolo's chapel talks at a Christian university not far down the road from your own, David, it was amazing to hear Campolo offer compassion to homosexuals when the rest of Christendom was on the stone 'em bandwagon. I'm looking at who walks out the radical love and grace of Jesus, at whose life reflects that of the Savior's, and that will be the man - or woman - who gets my vote. As a social conservative I'm sad to say none of the candidates impresses me in the least.

Not sure why anyone should care what Campolo says or thinks. the man has proven he is so far left and barely a christian if at all that his opinion is worhtless.

On the "Bridging the Gap" site, Tony Campolo is cited as quoting (with apparent approval) the words of a youth group to their elders: “We are not going to make a strong statement on this [a homosexuality issue]. We are going to be open to a variety of answers, and we don’t like that you have come down so strong with one answer. And the last thing we want to say is it’s not that long of a time before all of you will be dead.” It is astounding that such a statement should be quoted with every indication of approval on that blog by Campolo. If those young people had discovered the transcending power of the love of Christ, they had a strange way of showing it.
Mr. Campolo,like others on the "Bridging the Gap" website is full of what they call "generous spaciousness" except for those attempting to take a traditional moral stand on homosexual behaviour.

The republican party is with out doubt the far lesser of the two evils! If a sound believer can stand in the seat of the scorner with good conscience then there is something wrong with their profession! You would find far more tolerance among those who traditionally stand with Republicans then you would among democrats. If you are ignorant of Satan's devices then the supreme court means nothing to you! If we loose this court to Christ haters your freedoms will be on the verge of obliteration! If seeing Christian parents under the threat of losing their children because social services decides that it is wrong to teach that there is a hell for those who die in their sins and that Christ is the way , the truth and the life by all means vote for Obama. For those who think this is not true just ask the many believers who had to go to court and fight for their rights! How foolish this generation is. May God have mercy on your sin and folly!

Here's what I'm thinking after reading all the comments. Most of you sound off as mean spirited and hateful. Either, it's your intention or you don't care. Regardless, you project a deep seeded anti-Christ character deficiency by delivering a wicked assault upon a brother in Christ who happens to hold a different view than yourself. It made me think of Stephen being stoned to death while Paul stood by and watched in Acts. Although he wasn't a Chritian at that time, you are not as easily dismissed. Instead of proving that the evil one is still working his will through your speech and actions, make every effort to edify and build up the church you say you "love" so ferverously. Just sayin...