In the past few days, my Facebook feed has been overrun by comments and articles about Tony Campolo’s (that’s a pic of us and some friends at the first Faith Forward gathering, back when it was CYNKC) “coming out” as encouraging the full inclusion of LGBTQ folks in the church. I’m hopeful that this moment is indeed in a tipping point in the true acceptance of all people in the church regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
But I’m not surprised by Tony’s announcement. After all, for many years he’s been telling us that whatever we do to our LGBTQ sisters and brothers, we do to Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from his chapter in the 2013 book Faith Forward, which I edited with Melvin Bray (and don’t forget to check out our new book, Faith Forward, Volume 2):
Encountering Jesus in the other, regardless of whether that person is white, a person of colour, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, trans- gender, Christian, Jew, Muslim, or secular humanist, is what has made me into a social activist. I am coming to realize that Jesus waits to be discovered in every person, and that whatever is happening to that other person is happening to the Jesus I love. If the other person is hungry or naked or sick or an undocumented immigrant or in prison, increasingly I can sense the presence of Jesus in that person, and that person’s oppres- sion becomes intolerable. I must address it. If I see the other as a victim of racism or sexism or homophobia or poverty, I experience a compulsion to respond and cry out for justice. If the violence expressed toward the “sacred other” via capital punishment or war is something that I experi- ence, I feel a need to cry out,“Stop! In the name of Jesus! Stop!”