James Dobson questions Fred Thompson’s faith:
“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.
Thompson is a Christian, having been baptized into the Church of Christ. I’m not sure what makes Dobson say this. A few have claimed that, despite Thompson’s statements to the contrary, he is pro-choice. Now that doesn’t make him a non-Christian, but maybe in the Dobsonian mind it does. I don’t know.
A Dobson spokesperson elaborates for us:
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.”
Well then Dobson should have said “I don’t think he’s an evangelical Christian” instead of saying Thompson isn’t a Christian. One doesn’t have to be an evangelical or speak openly about one’s faith to be a Christian.
But this does bring up an interesting question: What role will Dobson play in the 2008 elections. Although he stopped short of endorsing Newt Gingrich, Dobson did say he is “brightest guy out there” and “the most articulate politician on the scene today.” What impact this will have remains to be seen.
UPDATE: Speaking of Newt Gingrich, A.C. ponders why he is a “better” Christian than Thompson in Dobson’s view:
Now, I’m no one to judge someone’s morality and both Thompson and Gingrich would likely benefit by increasing their church-going and/or bible study but differentiating between the two and putting Gingrich on top? That’s more than a tad wacky.
Is it because Gingrich came on Dobson’s show and kissed the ring and apologized? Is that what excuses his sins and grants his special dispensation for conducting his own extracurricular affair while conducting an impeachment of a President over the same thing?
Gingrich is a thrice married, admitted adulterer who discussed divorce with his first wife while she was undergoing cancer treatments.
I don’t get it either. I like Newt. I think he’s a much better man than he gets credit for and is one of the smartest, most savvy House speakers ever. He clearly was demonized by the mainstream media. But geez, his personal life would suggest that he’s something of a jerk. Now that doesn’t disqualify him from getting my support. Far from it. My favorite candidate in the race right now is Rudy Giuliani, after all.
Thompson’s personal life story probably includes some less-than-saintly details as well. Indeed, I had a few laughs about it yesterday. But it isn’t nearly as scandalous, at least as far as I know, as Gingrich’s.
I like both Newt and Thompson, and I would have no problem voting for either (although I doubt very seriously that Newt could ever get elected). But when Dobson bashes Thompson for not being Christian enough and then sings the praises of Newt Gingrich, he does sound somewhat divorced from reality.