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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fred Thompson's Faith Challenged by Theocrats

Pam Spaulding has more.

Can any of these GOP candidates pass the religious test set by the powers that be in the fundie wing of the party? I'm having a good laugh as former Tennessee Senator and L&O actor Fred Thompson is the latest one to get roughed up.

A while back Daddy Dobson charged that the possible GOP presidential candidate wasn't a "real Christian" to which Thompson responded that he was a member of the fundamentalist Churches of Christ, which opposes divorce, believing that sexual infidelity is the only grounds for divorce and remarriage. Dobson later claimed his remarks were "mischaracterized", but that didn't end the questioning of Thompson's faith.

Professor Mark Elrod of Harding University (a Chuch of Christ-affiliated college) asserts that Thompson is a lapsed member, and isn't "filling out an attendance card at a Church of Christ on Sundays." Elrond hasn't been able to find any evidence that Thompson has an active membership and any local congregation in Tennessee.

Go read the whole thing on Pam's blog..

When James Dobson was quoted in US News challenging Fred Thompson's faith, he later backed down by going to Worldnet Daily and whining that the evil "secular media" misquoted him.

US News

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a possible presidential bid by former Sen. Fred Thompson while praising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is also weighing a presidential run, in a phone interview Tuesday.

"Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for," Dobson said of Thompson. "[But] I don't think he's a Christian; at least that's my impression," Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party's conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Thompson, took issue with Dobson's characterization of the former Tennessee senator. "Thompson is indeed a Christian," he said. "He was baptized into the Church of Christ."

In a follow-up phone conversation, Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger stood by Dobson's claim. He said that, while Dobson didn't believe Thompson to be a member of a non-Christian faith, Dobson nevertheless "has never known Thompson to be a committed Christian—someone who talks openly about his faith."

"We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians," Schneeberger added. "Dr. Dobson wasn't expressing a personal opinion about his reaction to a Thompson candidacy; he was trying to 'read the tea leaves' about such a possibility."

Thompson has said he is leaving the door open for a presidential run and has won plaudits from conservatives who are unenthusiastic about the Republican front-runners. A Gallup-USA Today poll, released Tuesday, showed Thompson in third place among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, behind former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

While making it clear he was not endorsing any Republican presidential candidate, Dobson, who is considered the most politically powerful evangelical figure in the country, also said that Gingrich was the "brightest guy out there" and "the most articulate politician on the scene today."


Mark said...

This is a boilerplate response to e-mails I have received about my Fred Thompson blog post that was cited on WorldNetDaily:

The post from my blog should be read in its original context. I believe that any reasonable person could read my post and see that it is satirical and not meant to be taken seriously.

This is reflected in an article in the Christian Chronicle about my blog post on Thompson as well.

As the CC article suggests, the purpose of my post was to have some fun James Dobson's assertion that Fred Thompson was not "Christian" enough. To suggest that I agree with Dobson about Fred Thompson, or anything else for that matter, is absurd.

The “journalists” at WND obviously do not fall into the category of reasonable people – nobody at that online publication or anywhere else has asked me to comment on what I wrote on my blog back in March. To me, this is like taking something from The Onion as gospel and publishing it as fact. Real journalists check their facts – faux journalists believe everything they read on the Interwebs.

The bottom line is I could really care less about where Fred Thompson or anyone else goes to church.

And as a Harding employee, I certainly can’t afford to give away $100 for something as shallow as this.

But the great irony of this is that I have been characterized as an intolerant Christian fundamentalist. A careful reading of my blog and other things I have written would clearly demonstrate that this is not the case.

Markh said...

Trying to win the love and loyalty of the Theocrats is never an easy assignment.

When their tenets of faith and public policy are detailed, non-negotiable, and require all or nothing commitment, I seriously wonder whether the Apostle Paul could win their endorsement.

Billy Graham wouldn't make the cut, based on his public statements in the past few years.

Pastor Billy has said he doesn't believe in degrees of sin..... James Dobson doesn't want to hear stuff like that.

Sorry Fred, you can aspire to holiness, but it will never, ever be enough.