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.
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."