A Book Review: Red Letter Christians by Tony Campolo

I learned about this book while reading my latest issue of Relevant magazine.  I decided to buy a copy because I have become more politically and socially aware in the last year of my life.  The subtitle of this book is “A Citizens Guide to Faith & Politics” and I can definitely say I think Tony Campolo did a great job in holding true to that.  While he is up front about his political leanings and adamant about certain issues, he seems to do a pretty good job of helping his reader understand both sides of the issue.  I must admit that the quote from President Clinton on the top front of the cover kinda threw me for a loop.  But it forced me to own up to my judgemental attitude towards a man who, despite his moral failings, has probably done more positive things than he is often given credit for. 

Tony addresses a wide variety of issues in this 224 page book and it could be aptly viewed as a primer for present day politics in America.  After a short intro citing increased reticence in a majority of Christians to label themselves as “Evangelicals” along with a straying from the recorded words of Jesus himself as the reasoning for the creation of the term “Red Letter Christians,” Tony spends time on Global Issues.  Covering issues such as the environment, the war, and the AIDS pandemic, he highlights the important part America plays in the globalized community that is now our reality.  It is interesting to me that he chooses to put these chapters first in his book.  Based on his writing, I think it is safe to say he did that intentionally to help his readers widen their perspective on what is important.  Next Tony tackles the Hot-button Issues that for some are the single most important issues of any election: gay rights, abortion, and increasingly, immigration before covering Economic Issues and Government Issues.  Here he covered issues such as minimum wage, wasteful government, and political lobbyists.

As a passionate person, I tend to get riled up when these issues are discussed.  That said, I didn’t read this book to illicit feelings.  I read this book to be a little bit more informed about the issues at hand.  Tony did not let me down on that.  I appreciated his even handed approach to the issues especially since he did not come across as dispassionate or disinterested.  I recommend this book to anyone who has a growing desire to understand more about the political arena in America today from a faith based stand point.

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