Ralph Lauren Campolo
|Like the folks over at Stupid Church People, Baptist Minister Tony Campolo is a person I hold in high regard. He's not afraid to talk about issues that the church is dangerously silent on, nor is he afraid to be on the supposed wrong (i.e. liberal) side of those issues. Several years ago he famously began sermons about poverty by saying, "I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night." It's hard not to like someone like that. |
Tony, alongside his wife, Peggy, is also known for participating in public discussions about the place of gays and lesbians within both the church and society. Their views are very different on the subject. Tony's stance is a bit more conservative. He argues that homosexuality is a sin in practice (though not in orientation), but does not support the church's attempts to change homosexuals into straight people. Peggy, in contrast, argues that the church's traditional teaching on homosexuality is mistaken, much like the church's traditional teaching on slavery and the role of women was mistaken.
At any rate, Stupid Church People have posted a two part discussion between Tony and Peggy on the issue of homosexuality, from a recent meeting hosted by The Shepherd Initiative. You can download both parts here.
Here's a nice quote from Tony from the discussion:
My empathy for the suffering of gay and lesbian people came a hard way. I was in high school and there was a boy in our high school who was gay. We’ll call him Roger. We really made life difficult for Roger. A large city school, West Philadelphia High, we ridiculed him, we mocked him, we humiliated him in every way we knew how. On Fridays after PhysEd when we all went into the showers, Roger would never go in with us because he was afraid. When he did take his turn we waited for him and when he came out of the showers we had our wet towels ready and we would whip them at his little naked body and sting him. And we thought that was funny.