The other day in a discussion forum, someone shared this quote from a speech made by the well-known theologian and sociologist, Tony Campolo. Campolo began his speech by saying “I have three things to share with you today. First, I’d like to tell you that while you were sleeping last night 30,000 kids died because of starvation and diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t even give a ****. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said **** than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”
Here is what I said in response to that quote:
I must say that while the Campolo quotation does make a profound point, I would disagree about the underlying message presented. It is not necessary or right for preachers and theologians to use principles or methods that are in opposition to the character of God such as profanity, even if it does convey a point in a remarkable way. I know that from this response I sound like I am of the same mentality as the audience that Campolo was addressing. Yet, I am deeply concerned about the plight of others, and this concern does not take a backseat to whether someone utters profanity. But that does not mean profanity is acceptable. I’m sure that God was pleased that Campolo was trying to get people concerned about the needless suffering and death of children, but I wouldn’t say that he was pleased that he made the point in the manner he did. And why should we not be upset when a theologian speaks like this in addition to being upset about the plight of 30,000 kids? Let me make it clear, I am not getting hung up about profanity. I am concerned about anything that is in opposition to God’s character that we attempt to use to promote his kingdom. And I could point to a million other examples besides profanity.
So what do you think? Am I totally off base here, or is there actually a problem with what Dr. Campolo said?