taking the words of Jesus seriously


Most Americans are disgusted with the ways this year’s presidential election is unfolding. The name calling is horrible. But beyond the personal attacks, both candidates are gearing their remarks and policies primarily to middle class voters. This is understandable because the middle class has been hurt by the government in Washington. Our political leaders have done little-to-nothing about the fact that the real income of middle class workers has shown almost no improvement for the last three decades, while the cost of living has dramatically increased.


While I, along with most Americans, are concerned about the plight of the middle class, Red Letter Christians are especially disturbed about the lack of concern for the poor as revealed in the rhetoric of the candidates.


Trump tells us that he’s going to create millions of jobs for poor people, but he doesn’t tell us how. What he does say is that he is going to give big tax breaks to the very rich. He proposes this with the expectation that the rich will use their extra money to invest in new entrepreneurial ventures that, in turn, will decant high paying employment for poor people. Some of us, however, remember that this was exactly the plan set into place by George W. Bush, and it led to the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Why does Trump think this plan will work if we try it again?


Hillary Clinton, on the other hand seems to be proposing that America continues to embrace the policies of President Obama. That may be a good thing considering that the unemployment rate over the last nine years has dropped from 8% to close to 4%, which is the lowest it has been for close to 40 years. The problem is that of the millions of jobs that have been added to the work force during Obama’s administration, most have been low paying jobs – close to the minimum wage.


What Red Letter Christians are waiting to hear is if either of these candidates has a plan to address the economic needs of such African American young men as those we see hanging out on street corners in most of our cities, and those other people of color who seem to have been left behind as the wealthy of our country have cornered America’s wealth for themselves. Again I ask, “have the poor been forgotten in this election?”



Signs of A Dictatorship


Since the second debate Donald Trump has declared that if he is elected he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton regarding the way she handled her emails and how she used her influence while serving as Secretary of State. He has said that if he won the presidency he would see to it that she would be put in jail.


This is what political leaders in banana republics do. Once in power such dictators prosecute and arrest their political opponents. That there has been little attention given to this matter by T.V. and radio pundits is, for me, a source of dismay.




And then there’s the matter of Trump’s treating of women. When it comes to Trump complaining that his crude talk and obscene language that denigrated women was only “locker room talk, ” he needs to be reminded that he wasn’t in a locker room when he made them. Furthermore, I was pleased that several NFL players spoke up and said that this kind of talk does not go on in their locker rooms.




Then there’s the matter of the possibility that Russia has hacked into the emails of the Democratic Party as well as into the private emails of the chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Whether or not Russia provided the emails of Mr. Podesta to the Trump people, there is no doubt that they were obtained illegally. That Trump would use this stolen property for his own advantage troubles me. That he willingly participates in the invasion of Mr. Podesta’s privacy is very sad.




On another matter, if Hillary wants to know why close to 80% of Evangelicals will vote against her, all she has to do is to read what the platform of her party says about abortion. Evangelicals, overwhelmingly are pro-life and view abortion as infanticide. Many of them are one issue voters and knowing that the next president will appoint Supreme Court justices who will vote on challenges to legalize abortion is enough to get many of them to vote for Donald Trump.


These are matters that concern Red Letter Christians.

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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