By Alex Bush

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2009 ( – Prominent members of the Evangelical left have endorsed a bill before Congress that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as official categories to “hate crimes” law.

Liberal evangelist Tony Campolo, founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, joined a Capitol Hill rally this week organized by the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group, which also distributed supportive statements by Christian ethicist David Gushee, Sojourners’ Jim Wallis and Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter. The rally additionally touted legislation that would protect transsexualism in the work place.

“We Evangelicals who have such a high view of scripture should want justice for gays, lesbians and transgendered persons,” said Campolo, “Justice is love translated into social policy … This [legislation] is a chance to practice that love.”

However, Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, responded to the support of Compolo and the others for the bill, asking, “Why are self-proclaimed evangelicals echoing the secular culture by endorsing ideologies wrapped around ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘sexual identity’? 

“Increasingly the Evangelical Left is indistinguishable from the secular Left.”

Critics of hate crimes laws say that they are redundant and attempt to criminalize thought and speech rather than criminal actions. They also warn that clergy and others who support traditional marriage potentially could be prosecuted for “hate” if “sexual orientation” is made to be a protected class.  Campolo said, however, that Clergy can say what they want “as long as it does not promote violence.” Tooley, on the other hand, responded that the hate-crimes law is unnecessary since, “All victims of violence are already rightly protected by law, no matter the motive of their assailants.”
Tooley further said that “Christians of all traditions are called to transform the culture, not conform to it. But the Evangelical Left repeats arguments from The New York Times’ editorial page and seems to think such cultural conformity will win applause.” He quipped: “History shows that accommodationist Christians are ultimately irrelevant Christians.”

To express concern:

Dr. Tony Campolo
Phone: 610-341-5962
Fax: 610-341-4372

Dr. David Gushee
Email: [email protected]

Rev. Jim Wallis
Phone: 202-328-8842 or 1-800-714-7474
Fax: 202-328-8757
E-mail: [email protected]

Rev. Joel Hunter
Phone: 407-949-4000
Email: [email protected]


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