Red-letter Christians is a small movement within Christianity, based on the belief that evangelicalism is exploited by right-wing politicians; and that a new liberal evangelical movement can be created, focusing on the teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly in regard to social issues.
The term Red-Letter refers to editions of the New Testament which have verses spoken by Jesus Himself printed in red letters. The movement considers the actual words of Jesus to be superior to all other verses in the Bible, especially with regards to liberal causes (such as homosexuality; since Jesus Himself never directly spoke on the topic, they consider His silence to take precedence over Paul's writings in Romans).
This movement was initiated by authors Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, and others who felt the Religious Right places too much emphasis on conservative values such as opposition to abortion and homosexuality, and not enough on promoting liberal values such as peace and the elimination of poverty.
The social issues valued by Red-Letter Christians include:
- more government spending for the poor
- tolerance of homosexuality
- silence or support for the legal status of abortion
In sum, Red-letter Christians are liberal Christians who downplay or ignore what Jesus taught against immorality and instead see tolerance towards all attitudes and behavior.