by: Tony Campolo on December 11th, 2012 | 1 Comment »
The Red Letter Christian movement prescribes a lifestyle that adheres to the teachings of Jesus, which are highlighted in many Christian Bibles with red letters. Jewish people are quite willing to regard Jesus as a great teacher, and Muslims acknowledge Him as a prophet. Of course, Red Letter Christians see Him as more than that because we view Him as the One who saves us from our sins and initiates the Kingdom of God here on earth. In spite of our differences, however, the teachings of Jesus represent a value system that those of us who are spiritual progressives can readily affirm. Almost all of Jesus’s teachings can easily be embraced by the followers of Tikkun.
During the next four years, we pray that the president will address some crucial concerns that we have about what is happening to the poor. There was a lot of talk about helping the middle class, but neither candidate gave much attention to the needs of the poor during the campaigns leading to the election. We want to remind the president that there are millions of Americans who have been left without medical insurance, and millions of children. It is imperative for the president to address this matter.
In the compromises, which are inevitable given the pressure to balance the budget and cut the national debt, we urge the president not to undo the safety net that has enabled the poor to survive in the midst of our affluent society. Food stamps, Pell grants, Support for Dependent Children must not be curtailed. In order to finance these programs, we urge those in government to cut military spending, which is obscenely extravagant and incredibly unnecessary in its present form.
To those who cry out for expanding the military as a means of establishing national security, I can only repeat what the general who led the British troops into Iraq a decade ago once told me: “When will you Americans learn that your security is more dependent on the friends that you make than on the armies you deploy?” It’s time for us to make friends by putting our huge national financial resources into programs that alleviate hunger, that provide economic uplift for the poor of the world, and focus on the reality that there is enough in the world to meet everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s wants.
As a peacemaker, President Obama has to be more active in the Middle East as well as in Africa by being a broker between nations. In this respect, he should tap former President Jimmy Carter for some help, as Carter has proven to be a leader in peacemaking.
Finally, it’s time for President Obama to make some bold moves to address the needs of the African-American community. It seems to us Red Letter Christians that Obama was afraid of being labeled a “president with black favoritism” and thus he did very little – actually less than George Bush – for the African-American community. It’s time for him to do more for them.
Finally, we want to see what most Americans want – a legitimation of non-documented immigrants and a comprehensive immigration policy that is just and fair.
These are not pipe dreams. These are realistic aspirations that we Red Letter Christians share with spiritual progressives in other religions, as well as the secular humanists who share our values.