OxymoronJuly 12, 2006
Tony Campolo has a great column called "Being an Oxymoron." Here are a few highlights:
A few weeks ago I was a guest on Steven Colbert's popular television show, The Colbert Report. He introduced me as an Evangelical who is liberal on social issues. Then he added, "He's a living oxymoron!"Amen! This is a great piece. Some might find Campolo's positions to be oxymoronic, but that is how Christian beliefs have been viewed since the beginning. Jesus often confounded the powerful as he turned the ideals and values of the world upside down. If only more Christians would embrace the complexity of being a follower of Jesus.
Sadly, his words reflect the way Evangelicals are regularly perceived. Here in the United States, Evangelical Christians have become so married to the Right wing of the Republican Party that it is hard for those outside our faith community to imagine that a significant minority of Evangelicals have socially liberal politics.
... I'm one of those pro-life Christians who is convinced that the outrageous number of abortions each year are more due to right-wing economic policies than to Roe v. Wade. In a society where many poor women must work outside the home at a ridiculously low minimum wage just to survive, yet have no access to daycare for their children, we should not be surprised if they seek abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Yet many of the Religious Right Christians who share my pro-life sentiments tend to oppose enacting legislation that would enable poor women to give birth and keep their children. No wonder one of our critics says, "Evangelicals are people who believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth." Too often it seems like we care about protecting the unborn, but we're not willing to provide for the born.
... The Bible speaks more about justice that it does about anything else--except for love. But in the end, justice is nothing more than love turned into social policies. It is my own commitment to justice, inadequate though it might be, that makes me the kind of person I am. To that end this Evangelical is more than willing to be labeled a social liberal, even if it does make me a living oxymoron.