'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.'
I'm saying, let's be faithful to the Bible. You can make your point, but there are those of us equally committed to Scripture who make a very strong case that women should be in key leaderships in the Church. We don't want to communicate the idea that to believe the Bible is to necessarily be opposed to women in key roles of leadership in the life of early Christendom.
What position do you wish American evangelicals would take on homosexuality?
As an evangelical who takes the Bible very seriously, I come to the first chapter of Romans and feel there is sufficient evidence there to say that same-gender eroticism is not a Christian lifestyle. That's my position.
So you mean homosexual activity?
That's right. What I think the evangelical community has to face up to, however, is what almost every social scientist knows, and I'm one of them, and that is that people do not choose to be gay. I don't know what causes homosexuality, I have no idea. Neither does anybody else. There isn't enough evidence to support those who would say it's an inborn theory. There isn't enough evidence to support those who say it's because of socialization.
I'm upset because the general theme in the evangelical community, propagated from one end of this country to the other--especially on religious radio--is that people become gay because the male does not have a strong father image with which to identify. That puts the burden of people becoming homosexual on parents.
Most parents who have homosexual children are upset because of the suffering their children have to go through living in a homophobic world. What they don't need is for the Church to come along and to lay a guilt trip on top of them and say "And your children are homosexual because of you. If you would have been the right kind of parent, this would have never happened." That kind of thinking is common in the evangelical Church and the book attacks on solid sociological, psychological, biological grounds.
Well, beyond that, they seem to offer an absolute solution to the problem. They are saying, "We can change every gay. We can change every lesbian." I have heard enough of the brothers and sisters give testimonies of having changed their sexual orientation to doubt them.I believe them. But that's rare: people who stand up and say, "I was gay but Jesus came into my life and now I'm not homosexual anymore."