Friday, January 28, 2005

The "More" Promised on Tony Campolo

As mentioned below, Talking Donkey carries excerpts from an interview withTony Campolo. I like Campolo on economic and most social issues, but he struggles with a Christian response to gays and lesbians.

Be that as it may, that's not the issue I have with this interview. The issue that Campolo seems to have a shaky grasp on some facts. For example, in defending the idea of getting the church out marriage in the civil/legal sense, he says:
The reality is that when I perform a wedding, I have to end it, according to law, with these words, listen to the words: “By the authority invested in me by the state of Pennsylvania, I declare you husband and wife.” What right does a minister have to give up the authority of God and the authority of the church and become a civil servant at such a sacred event? Marriage is a sacred event, and I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but it should take place in a church and the government should only establish civil unions for both homosexuals and heterosexuals so that homosexuals and heterosexuals have the identical rights.
Wait, now. I'm a minister in the state of Pennsylvania. I've never heard that we're required to use that formulation. Not a big deal, but it does raise an eyebrow.

The next couple of paragraphs are of more concern. I've added some emphasis:
It's a superficial, pious hypocrisy when the heterosexual divorced people in churches stand up and say, “We don't want gays to get married.” I don't want them to get married either, but I've got to tell you, the Bible doesn't say anything about homosexual marriages...well, I shouldn't say that. Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexual marriages. He does say some very specific things about people that are divorced and who get remarried. I want to know why we can be so hard on people who are coming into relationships that Jesus never even mentions and so kind to people that are in marital relationships that Jesus specifically condemns.

Let me just say, if you want to put together a defense of marriage act, then let it be a defense of marriage act. But you're not defending marriage by going after 1% of the population, which is what the homosexual community consists of. You defend marriage by going after the 50% of marriages that take place in this country that end in divorce.
The Bible doesn't say anything about same-sex marriage. And Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexuality. Not word one. As for gays and lesbians being 1% of the community--even the conservative commentators put it at 3-5%.

Again, I appreciate where Campolo is coming from; I just wish he'd have a better grasp of the facts on the ground. This interview sounds like someone caught him in a airport terminal and asked for five minutes of his time.

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