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Campolo is criticized most often these days for his relationship with former president Bill Clinton and for his views on homosexuality. Those two points are actually tied together. It was Campolo's stance on homosexuality that first attracted Clinton. After a White House breakfast meeting that included several other evangelical luminaries, Campolo told the President, "You know, while I'm a conservative on this gay issue, I have to say that your attempts to bring justice to the gay community are much appreciated by me and by many other evangelical Christians."

Campolo believes that "same-gender marriages do not fit into biblical requisites, especially the first chapter of Romans." But he also strongly holds that evangelicals wrongly "offer almost absolute assurance that with proper counseling and prayer they can change the person's orientation." He calls such talk dangerous, and says it has destroyed families and led to suicide. He also asserts that it's not liberal and gay activists who make homosexuality a "defining issue," but "evangelical leaders who have to raise a lot money to support their ministries" by demonizing their opponents.

But what really gets him into trouble, Campolo says, is his wife's support of gay marriages. "There are those who would argue that because I do not have my wife in submission, I have forfeited the right to be a preacher of the gospel," he says. "My wife and I do agree, however, that the church has not handled the gay community with the kind of love and respect that Christians ought to be giving to these brothers and sisters."

Clinton told Campolo, "The next time you're in Washington, be in touch." Campolo took the remark as a nicety—until the President called him during his next visit. "I thought ...

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In the Magazine

January 2003

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