'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked': An Interview with Tony Campolo

Speaking out on gays, women and more, a progressive evangelical says 'We ought to get out of the judging business.'

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In short, there's a whole group of issues that are being ignored by the Religious Right and that warrant the attention of Bible-believing Christians. Another one would be the environment.

I don't think that John Kerry is the Messiah or the Democratic Party is the answer, but I don't like the evangelical community blessing the Republican Party as some kind of God-ordained instrument for solving the world's problems. The Republican Party needs to be called into accountability even as the Democratic Party needs to be called into accountability. So it's that double-edged sword that I'm trying to wield.

Are the majority of evangelicals in America leaning conservative because they see their leaders on TV that way? Or is there a contingent out there that we don't hear about in the press that is more progressive on the issues you just talked about?

The latest statistics that I have seen on evangelicals indicate that something like 83 percent of them are going to vote for George Bush and are Republicans. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's just that Christians need to be considering other issues beside abortion and homosexuality.

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These are important issues, but isn't poverty an issue? When you pass a bill of tax reform that not only gives the upper five percent most of the benefits, leaving very little behind for the rest of us, you have to ask some very serious questions. When that results in 300,000 slots for children's afterschool tutoring in poor neighborhoods being cut from the budget. When one and a half billion dollars is cut from the "No Child Left Behind" program.

In short, I think that evangelicals are so concerned with the unborn-as we should be-that we have failed to pay enough attention to the born-to those children who do live and who are being left behind by a system that has gone in favor of corporate interests and big money.



So as an evangelical, I find myself very torn, because I am a pro-life person. I understand evangelicals who say there comes a time when one issue is so overpowering that we have to vote for the candidate that espouses a pro-life position, even if we disagree with him on a lot of other issues.

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