Dr. Tony Campolo, a world-renowned sociologist, author and speaker, visited Belmont on Wednesday to address “Citizenship and Faith,” the first topic in a Speaker Series covering subjects pertinent to Belmont’s hosting of the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate. Campolo admitted that as a Christian he has difficulty falling completely in line with either major political party; rather than claiming a Republican or Democratic party platform, he instead chooses to base his beliefs on the “red letter” words of Jesus as found in the New Testament, the topic of his most recent book, Red Letter Christians: A Citizen’s Guide to Faith and Politics.
Campolo said, “There is this tendency to recast God in the political ideologies to which we’re committed. We’ve got to transcend that. To do that is idolatry. It’s idolatry to turn the God that is into a God that is a projection of our own values.”
In his hour-long lecture, Campolo addressed four hot button issues in the current election season: the war in Iraq, abortion, gay marriage and immigration. While recognizing the positions of the major political parties on each issue, Campolo offered alternative ideas that he believes best represent the heart of the Christian message. At the end of his talk, Campolo then opened the floor to questions from the packed room in MPAC.
Campolo, a professor emeritus of sociology at Pennsylvania’s Eastern University, is the founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) and the author of 35 books. A media commentator on religious, social and political matters, Campolo has appeared on CNN and MSNBC as well as television programs like “Politically Incorrect,” “The Colbert Report,” “Nightline,” “Crossfire” and “Larry King Live.”