Dr. Tony Campolo, professor emeritus, stood before an audience in McInnis auditorium on Oct. 21 to speak about politics in the context of Red Letter Christianity. Red Letter Christianity is a term used in Campolo’s book Red Letter Christians, referring to the belief and following of the words of Christ in the New Testament.
“Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat,” Campolo said. “There is a tendency for people on the political left to transform Jesus into what they are, and for people on the political right to transform Jesus into what they are.”
Campolo explained that the word “evangelical” has become associated with the right-wing Republican Party. “They have tended to polarize us,” he said.
Campolo, who does not claim a particular political party, was disappointed in the presidential debate, especially concerning discussions on the war. Campolo disapproves of both solutions the candidates offered for the war in Iraq. “The (Iraqi) government is almost nonexistent, and it is evil,” Campolo said, disagreeing with Obama’s plan to remove troops from Iraq in several months, leaving the country without control. “Democracy is not just majority rules but when the minority is safe.” Campolo also disagrees with McCain’s plan to remain in Iraq as long as necessary. “The war in Iraq is costing $250,000 per minute,” he said.
“When is it a sign of weakness to admit that you’ve made a mistake?” Campolo said, referring to the war. “If America wants to be restored, then we must follow the Biblical principle. We need to humble ourselves and say we made a mistake.”
He suggests that a military force from another Arab country would be more effective in keeping control over Iraq because they understand the language and the culture. “It seems like the right answer to me,” he said. “Let the Arabs take care of the Arabs.”
Campolo then touched on the topic of illegal immigration within the U.S. “It’s doubtful if we could survive economically without them,” he said of the illegal immigrants who perform low-wage jobs. Campolo believes that every illegal immigrant should be allowed to apply for a green card, as oppose to waiting two years, but they should be fined $10,000 for breaking the law. The fine would be taken out of their earnings by 10 percent each year. In this way, Campolo said, “They go to work immediately but legally.”