It seems like Democrats are always trying to find a way to either silence Christian Conservatives — How dare you bring religion into politics? — or turn Christianity into government social program. Nonetheless, it never occurred to me that Democrats would use the red letters in some people’s Bibles as the basis for a political organization.
When I first heard of the expression “red letter Christian”, I discovered it related to the fact some folks only take the words of Jesus (highlighted in red in some Bibles) seriously. Since Jesus Himself told us to take the whole Word of God to heart, I thought that rather odd.
Matthew 5:17-20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
17Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.
18For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished.
19Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Nonetheless, I still did not appreciate the full extent of this oddity. Then I decided to do a little research for this comment from Tony. Because Tony was sounding to me like a Red Letter Christian, I decided I had better acquaint him with the irony of that position. Then I discovered Red Letter Christians had become a political organization. Huh! When will we ever hear any complaints from Democrats about Liberal Christians mixing religion with politics?
Anyway, what I missed others have noted with a bit of queasiness. In 2007, Christianity Today featured a little debate they titled When Red Is Blue. The first part is Why I am not a Red-Letter Christian by Stan Guthrie. The second part is Tony Campolo’s Response (Campolo is one the founders of Red Letter Christians).
Since I had never before heard of Red Letter Christians, I suppose I should be relieved; they cannot be very effective. Nonetheless, the fact they exist at all is sad. One of Jesus’ names is the Word of God. For examples, see John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13. For the Being that created all things, the Bible is such a small thing. Yet to make God manageable, some would reduce even that to few red letters.