taking the words of Jesus seriously


If there was any doubt that the name “Evangelical” has become politicized, news reports about recent primaries should have settled the question.


The word “Evangelical” has been used by both Fox News and CNN to identify a block of voters seeking to destroy the Affordable Health Care Act that has provided health coverage for the 44 million Americans who live below the poverty line. They also were identified with candidates who had prejudicial attitudes toward Muslims.


There is little doubt that the word Evangelical has come to mean extreme right wing politics to the general public. That’s why I am asking if the label “Evangelical” is useful for many of us.


Would it be better to call ourselves Red Letter Christians?


We Red Letter Christians are a movement that, in accord with what Jesus said in Matthew 25, wants to make room for needy immigrants in America. We seek social politics that serve those whom Jesus called “the least of these.” We reject the disparaging language used by one of the leading “Evangelical” candidates when referring to women. Red Letter Christians are committed to sharing the love of Christ with Muslims, therefore we turn away from rhetoric that paints all Muslims with a broad brush of negativity. Furthermore, we do not believe we can communicate Christ’s love if we are identified with the politics of an “evangelical” candidate who calls us to be suspicious of all Mexican people.


Red Letter Christians oppose the death penalty and seek alternatives to war when talking about the severe problems of the Middle East. We question America’s too easy acceptance of military action as a primary response to international conflicts.


These are some of the reasons we are hopeful that you will adopt a new name to identify yourself–“RED LETTER CHRISTIANS.” And you can check back here daily to hear from women and men who strive to follow the red letters of Scripture with you.


About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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