Tony and Peggy Campolo recently discussed the controversial topic of homosexuality during a Perspectives session. Much of Eastern’s student body, faculty and administration were on hand to hear the pair compare and contrast their differing views.
Tony’s view of homosexuality is not, perhaps, the traditional “evangelical” stance. Most evangelicals dismiss homosexuality as one of the worst sins and feel that the lifestyle of homosexuals is biblically inappropriate. Therefore, many homosexuals feel unwelcome within the confines of the church.
But Tony argues that the church must be more accepting of homosexuals, learning to love and not denounce them all of the time.
“Jesus is more specific on divorce and remarriage,” Campolo said. “The church is so ready to condemn a couple that Jesus never condemns but allows divorces that he condemns.”
I found this to be a powerful insight, and it was refreshing to hear a Christian talk about these issues through a more “liberal” lens.
However, Campolo does believe that Romans 1 condemns homosexual acts, and this “clear statement” has been part of Methodist-Wesleyan and Roman Catholic traditions for many years. Campolo believes, therefore, that homosexuals should live a life of celibacy.
Peggy Campolo has slightly different views and believes that Romans 1 was, in fact, Paul speaking to the hedonistic people of Corinth. She believes he was addressing idolatry and the orgiastic culture of the time.
Therefore, Peggy believes that homosexuals are part of God’s divine plan of diversity and should be treated as equals. She is “ashamed and troubled” by the criticism and discrimination perpetuated by Christians throughout the years.
Besides their differences, Tony and Peggy agree on many things. They agree that homosexuals should not be in the closet within the church. They are both upset with the treatment that the church has given homosexuals, and they are upset that homosexuals do not have the same rights and privileges as everyone else.
Both believe that homosexual marriage should be legal and that Christians could do a better job of loving and embracing them.
My personal views of homosexuality are more along the lines of Peggy’s. I believe that these people are not exempt from the grace of God and that our creator has made everyone different, and that homosexuals are another part of His creation.
I also believe that Christians have done a poor job of reaching out to these people and making them feel welcome.
It is our duty to be a city shining on a hill and to live in love, but when I look at the treatment of homosexuals by Christians, I do not see the love that Christ embodies. I see fear, judgment and, at times, hatred.
I think it is important for more people to hear what the Campolos have to say. In today’s world of Christian bigotry and homophobia, it was refreshing to hear educated, grace-filled opinions.