Tony Campolo

September 28, 2017

Tony Campolo Slams USA at “Social Justice Day” Chapel

Last week students and faculty at Eastern University in Pennsylvania heard from Tony Campolo, a progressive pastor and prominent Christian Left fixture who counseled President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Campolo, now a sociology professor at American Baptist Churches USA-affiliated Eastern University, presented a microcosm of the liberal political ideology present within the evangelical community in his September 20th chapel address dedicated to “Social Justice Day”.

The politically liberal pastor quoted the Old Testament Book of Esther, referencing Mordechai’s statement “in the midst of a national crisis, that ‘perhaps you were born for such a time as this’. I’m saying to you students, faculty ‘perhaps you were born for such a time as this. I’ve been around a long time but the crises that are facing our nation have had such a painful effect.”

Campolo raised President Trump’s address to the United Nations, implying that the threatening statements made to “destroy North Korea” pose a greater danger to the U.S., than the actual threat posed by the totalitarian rogue regime’s testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. “The response that our nation has sent forth is: ‘mess with us and we will destroy you, there will be nothing left of you – I’m not exactly sure that that’s the Christian response!” Campolo stated and went on to list issues; he defined as pressing problems for our times:

  • The growth of “Islamophobia” in American society as a backlash response to the security problem evidenced by the rise of ISIS and transnational terrorism in general over the past 16 years since 9/11. Campolo however dismissed the threat of terrorists as one imagined and caused by the fearful ignorance of Americans, asking: “what are we going to do in response to the threat – and I put threat in quotes, ‘the threat of Islam’, because we do feel threatened!”
  • The social problem of dealing with illegal immigrants known as “undocumented workers”. He argued for defending the DACA program and explained why immigrants who are here illegally should be treated the same as those here legally. Campolo answered his question: “why do they come in illegally?” by asserting that American laws purposefully make the naturalization process more complicated by sending the message that “you better not come to this country unless you have a wallet full of money” finishing on this subject by demanding: “we have to change the system, people!”
  • The cultural problem of “homophobia” that he said has been caused by conservative Christian “radio and television preachers who are supposed to be preaching Christ are basically propagating fear that these gays are going to undermine the American family.” He joked that “it’s the heterosexuals that are getting divorces, the homosexuals want to get married, if you can’t see the humor in that – you have no sense of humor at all!”
  • The racism problem evident by the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia which he said was the “moment that lifted the veil” subtly alleging that there are many white supremacists who are connected to the conservative movement. Campolo invoked the debate about preserving historical monuments throughout the South, asking “do we listen to those who have been hurt by these symbols or do we only listen to those who preach hatred on the airwaves?”

“Right now, we’re on an ego trip as a nation and we need to humble ourselves” Campolo assessed. “We don’t even known what this country is about…for instance, how many of you know that in the Declaration of Independence, Native Americans are referred to as ‘merciless savages’?…these are the people from whom we stole the land!”

Campolo continued to criticize the U.S. Constitution saying: “the Constitution, which everyone says is so wonderful, which the Supreme Court is dedicated to uphold, it refers to African-American people as being two-thirds human…the U.S. Constitution doesn’t declare you to be a whole and complete person, this is the U.S. Constitution and people are ready to fight and die to preserve the Constitution and the Supreme Court says we have to be faithful to the Constitution.” “There are parts of the Constitution that I want to be faithful to but there are parts of the Constitution that I want changed!” Campolo concluded to applause.

In referencing the “Three-Fifths Compromise” of 1787, Campolo did not mention that the formula for counting slaves in determining the size of state populations for legislative representation and taxation had been proposed by delegates from northern states in order to limit the congressional representation of slave-holding states, whose slave populations could not themselves vote.

After exclaiming perceived faults of the Founding Fathers, Campolo returned to criticizing the President. The Trump administration’s policies of law enforcement measures against illegal immigrants were then compared to the forceful removal of Native Americans in the ‘Trail of Tears’ enacted during the formative stages of the nation’s history by President Jackson.

Campolo charged: “before we decide where we are going to go, we better find out where we came from…and we are not facing up to our own history – our own origins, our own nature…”

In conclusion, Campolo invoked a “passage which interestingly enough the U.S. Congress in its founding, established as its national verse – there is a verse that is supposed to stand for America but it’s not a verse we want to here right now.” He then quoted 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 verse 14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” This scripture is usually used by Christians to call for repentance to Biblical values, however in this case Campolo seems to use it to call for political action in the name of social justice. “Let me say it loud and clear, we here at Eastern University, student and faculty alike including me, have become bystanders in the midst of a revolution and we pretend that we’re innocent – but bystanders are never innocent!” Campolo declared, ending with a call for action: “To not act, to not be involved, to not be involved in doing the things to solve the problem will prevent you from understanding the problem, you need to go back to your political science classrooms and ask ‘what can we do?’”

To view Campolo’s chapel address in its entirely, visit the Eastern University web site by clicking here.

15 Responses to Tony Campolo Slams USA at “Social Justice Day” Chapel

  1. L says:

    May God help us if even the Baptists have become liberal. I disagree that we can categorize liberal Christians as “evangelicals” since that term means those who take the Bible literally, not figuratively, believing it is the inerrant Word of God. It is quite evident that Campolo is liberal and touts liberal views. The photo alone is evidence that he does not take the Bible as inerrant.
    While I do not believe we should treat anyone unfairly, I do not agree with his statements on Islam. In his speech, Campolo says there is no threat from Islam/ISIS. I’m surprised that Campolo doesn’t recall 9-11 and the families permanently devastated by that event…or pay more attention to those families who are hurting because their children have left to become part of ISIS. This shows a callousness unfitting clergy, liberal or conservative. There most definitely has been a threat to us from Islam and look where ignoring it got us on 9-11.
    In his closing speech, Campolo says, “you need to go back to your political science classrooms and ask ‘what can we do?’” But it is he who needs a brush-up on history if, as the author here shows, Campolo didn’t get his history right (Constitution’s 3/5 Compromise; BTW we can’t “change” the Constitution, only amend it. Otherwise quite a few of us would not only like to change the 3/5 Compromise, but the whole allowing-importation-of-slavery-till-1820 thing!) Furthermore, this statement reveals a reliance on man more than God. Should we really go back to political science class to deal with Christian issues? Or should we be seeking the Face of God? Who has the power or insight concerning anything here on earth…God or man?! What can we do? Campolo answered it himself…2 Chronicles 7:14 Humble ourselves and pray…seek God’s Face. (not the political classroom!)

    • Penny says:

      well said!

    • Charles says:

      He is “American Baptist Church USA”, that is different than ‘Southern Baptists” here is a link from Human Rights Campain on all denominations “Faith Stances on LGBTQA”

      Hope this helps. I had to read them all, I found out that there are two Lutheran and two Presbertarian denominations also. they have officially spit over this issue and the United Methodist are in the process of splitting. they are meeting to see if they can stay together. They have formed a “Commision on a Way Forward”, who have been meeting for some time and will conclude their work sometime next year and have a special General Conference in Feb. 2019.

      • Jeffrey Walton says:

        There are far more than just two Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations. Major Lutheran groups include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), North American Lutheran Church (NALC), Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Major Presbyterian groups include the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) and a host of smaller reformed bodies. While some of these denominations do hold divergent views about human sexuality, many of their splits pre-date those disputes.

  2. Gregg says:

    What’s with all the stoles at this press conference? Are they performing some kind of sacrament?
    Why doesn’t the woman in the bishop’s attire on the right of the picture go ahead and wear a mitre?

    Looks like an attention grabbing photo-op, and nothing to do with Christian worship.

    • Jeffrey Walton says:

      Hi Gregg, this photo was from a Human Rights Campaign press conference that Campolo spoke at on Capitol Hill. The participating clergy were asked by the organizers to wear clergy attire in order to identify them as such. That being said, yes, it is kind of amusing when you see clergy or bishops speaking at a press conference and seemingly dressed for the coronation of a Holy Roman Emperor.

  3. Jim says:

    Tony is one of the best speakers I’ve heard. However, he has strayed way off the theological reservation. He worships the idol of social justice while demonizing those who disagree with his leftist political views.

  4. Thomas More says:

    Tony Campolo rejected the Bible when he endorsed homophilia. Its really a shame because he used to be a fine preacher. Nowadays he sounds more like a politician and a demagogue.

  5. Dave Gingrich says:

    Campolo sounds like he has America-phobia, evangelical-phobia and Republican-phobia. He would deny it, of course. Very sad for him.

  6. I agree. I was one of his students. I am ashamed to admit it.

    • Bones says:

      That’s not surprising. It doesn’t take much for you people to disown and cut off people who have a different opinion than you.

  7. John McAdams says:

    Is he really so ignorant as to use that “three-fifths of a person” canard? (Did he really say “two thirds?”)

    Counting slaves as a full person would have increased the power of the slave-owning states in the South. The slaves were going to have zero voting power regardless.

  8. Bones says:

    And the response to Tony Campolo’s issues that he’s raised is a bucket load of ad hominem.

  9. I didn’t know people were still listening to Campolo.

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