Heart-ache: James Dobson says Fred! isn’t a Christian

posted at 2:17 pm on March 28, 2007 by Allahpundit

Or not his kind of Christian or not Christian “enough” or whatever. It’s this sort of thing that led me to support McCain, enthusiastically, in 2000.

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.”

If Rudy hangs around I’ve got a feeling Dobson’s going to read those leaves again and find that social-con Fred! is Christian enough after all. Dobson’s candidate of choice appears to be Newt, but Newt ain’t getting nominated so he can either warm up to Thompson or resign himself to an Inauguration Day that looks like this:

hillary-thumbs.jpg

Thought he’d see it my way.

Given the choice between supporting a Dobson-approved “Christian” candidate or supporting Fred!, the Freepers make their choice.


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Dobson has been a voice crying in the wilderness for a long time and has done fantastic work for the kingdom of God. He calls them as he sees them which makes the drive-by media crazy.

I’m gonna take a wait and see attitude and just enjoy the primary season which by the way starts next near.

Mojave Mark on March 28, 2007 at 5:47 PM

He needs to understand that the media is looking to pounce on any missteps he may make.

Very true. And all of us would do well to remember that we are looking at this story through the media’s eyes.

Dobson can never win with the media. He needs to stay away from them.

Rightwingsparkle on March 28, 2007 at 5:51 PM

He isn’t a politican nor does he claim to be.

I mean that in the sense that he is involved in politics and a particular party.
I’ll take your word on the minister part.

SouthernDem on March 28, 2007 at 6:14 PM

“We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians,” Schneeberger added.

So, the run of the mill Catholic, Lutheran, Greek/Russian/Eastern Orthodox, Methodist, Baptist, whatever, are NOT Christians according to Dobson?

Silly me. I thought belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God was sufficient to be called a Christian. I must be some sort of heritic, then.

Who knew, eh?

georgej on March 28, 2007 at 6:31 PM

We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians,” Schneeberger added.
So, the run of the mill Catholic, Lutheran, Greek/Russian/Eastern Orthodox, Methodist, Baptist, whatever, are NOT Christians according to Dobson?

Silly me. I thought belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God was sufficient to be called a Christian. I must be some sort of heritic, then.

georgej on March 28, 2007 at 6:31 PM

Evangelical isn’t a denomination; people in all those denominations could be Christian by what he was saying. The point is that there’s a difference between being a nominal Christian and having a relationship with Jesus, which is what evangelicals tend to mean when they say “Christian” or “evangelical.”

tikvah on March 28, 2007 at 6:49 PM

Send St. James to Darfur to preach to the Janjaweed. We don’t need him.

Drum on March 28, 2007 at 7:03 PM

>Dobson has been a voice crying in the wilderness for a long time and has done fantastic work for the kingdom of God.

Oh please. If the kingdom of God is the same as the kingdom of Focus on the Family, then I guess you’re right, otherwise, I can give you a whole list of conservative Christians who are fairly concerned that JD’s mix of the Gospel with politics may have lost more than a few souls.

Drum on March 28, 2007 at 7:08 PM

I don’t see where he was speaking for God. He was giving his opinion on whether he thinks Thompson is a Christian or not.

And that is something known for sure by two – Fred Thompson and God. Dobson has absolutely no business saying such a thing. It’s a slander and frankly, it’s disgraceful behavior for a prominent Christian man.

If Dobson had questions about Thompson’s faith, he should have asked Thompson before running off his mouth to the media.

Slublog on March 28, 2007 at 7:19 PM

Evangelical:

The term ‘evangelical’, in a lexical but less commonly used sense, refers to anything implied in the belief that Jesus is the Messiah. The word comes from the Greek word for ‘Gospel’ or ‘good news’: ευαγγελιον evangelion, from eu- “good” and angelion “message”. In that strictest sense, to be evangelical would mean to be merely Christian, that is, founded upon, motivated by, acting in agreement with, spreading the good news message of the New Testament.

Christian:

A Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as the Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God,who was crucified and died at the end of his earthly life, and then on the third day, rose from the dead, and later ascended into heaven with the promise to return.

Source: Wikipedia

tikvah wrote: “The point is that there’s a difference between being a nominal Christian and having a relationship with Jesus, which is what evangelicals tend to mean when they say “Christian” or “evangelical.””

Please don’t take this personally, but who is James Dobson to tell me that *I* am not a Christian? Who died and made him Pope? Or Patriarch Or Archbishop of Canterbury? How dare he usurp JESUS?

georgej on March 28, 2007 at 7:29 PM

Slublog: “And that is something known for sure by two – Fred Thompson and God. Dobson has absolutely no business saying such a thing. It’s a slander and frankly, it’s disgraceful behavior for a prominent Christian man.”

Exactly!

georgej on March 28, 2007 at 7:30 PM

A Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as the Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God,who was crucified and died at the end of his earthly life, and then on the third day, rose from the dead, and later ascended into heaven with the promise to return.

The distinction here between roman catholic teaching and protestant teaching is that Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and rose again for their justification. Justfication is by faith alone, apart from works of the law.
Wikipedia has edited out the soteriological implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which of course is the point of the whole thing.

PRCalDude on March 28, 2007 at 7:38 PM

So what if Thompson isn’t a Christian! Though I’ve probably got the context all out of wack (PRCalDude can help me here), but didn’t Martin Luther himself make some quip about preferring to be ruled by a wise Turk over a stupid Christian? The point being that we’re not looking for Pastor in Chief, but President. Granted, this isn’t to say that a “wise Turk” (i.e. Muslim) in American politics is something we can wink at in 21st century America.

Drum on March 28, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Here is the quote:

“[But] I don’t think he’s a Christian; at least that’s my impression,

First of all I am always suspicious when there are brackets like that in a story. That usually means they are taking something out of context. And if you look at the quote, I really don’t see anything wrong with it. I mean, I personally don’t think Hillary is a Christian. That is MY impression. Is that wrong to say??? She doesn’t act like it, she doesn’t support things that I think Christ would. Can I (or Dobson) not have an opinion on that? I don’t get the impression that she is a very good wife either. Can I say that???? I may be wrong on both counts, but that is my impression.

You guys just let the media suck you in sometimes.

Rightwingsparkle on March 28, 2007 at 8:09 PM

You guys just let the media suck you in sometimes.

Oh, so disagreeing with you and with James Dobson makes us mindless media-led zombies?

Don’t be insulting, RWS. Please.

Slublog on March 28, 2007 at 8:15 PM

I’ll bet Dobson also thinks he’s not black enough.
Clean and articulate, but not Christian enough.
Give me a break. Here’s my impression of my foot, guess where.

Kini on March 28, 2007 at 8:15 PM

And as for the “taking things out of context” thing, the quote from the spokesman later in the article makes it clear that Dobson meant what he said.

When I was a reporter, it was always my experience that people who claimed to be ‘taken out of context’ or ‘misquoted’ said what they said, and regretted seeing it in print.

Always.

Slublog on March 28, 2007 at 8:16 PM

Damn, Hillary looks like she could swallow a grapefruit, whole.

Well, you didn’t actually think it was the granny glasses and that ripe hippy smell that originally attracted Clenis to her did you?

austinnelly on March 28, 2007 at 8:24 PM

So what if Thompson isn’t a Christian! Though I’ve probably got the context all out of wack (PRCalDude can help me here), but didn’t Martin Luther himself make some quip about preferring to be ruled by a wise Turk over a stupid Christian? The point being that we’re not looking for Pastor in Chief, but President. Granted, this isn’t to say that a “wise Turk” (i.e. Muslim) in American politics is something we can wink at in 21st century America.

Drum on March 28, 2007 at 7:47 PM

I totally agree. I’ve said as much myself. I’d prefer an atheist with common sense over a Christian with none. This isn’t a theocracy that needs to be ruled by other Christians. God didn’t make a covenant with the signers of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776 that he would be our God and we his people.

PRCalDude on March 28, 2007 at 8:28 PM

Looks like Dobson needs a $400,000 indulgence from Fred!

pedestrian on March 28, 2007 at 8:33 PM

Oh, so disagreeing with you and with James Dobson makes us mindless media-led zombies?

No, but I don’t understand why you are so ready to believe how a MSM magazine puts this. Anyone who has ever been interviewed knows how this goes. I was interviewed with the Dallas/Ft Worth paper a few years ago. The story was a positive one and they still quoted me out of context.

And once again you are taking a quote about the Dobson quote from the very same MSM magazine who wants to make sure their impression sticks.

I’d like to hear from Dobson myself before I make a judgement.

Rightwingsparkle on March 28, 2007 at 8:39 PM

So how do you explain the quote from the FOTF spokesman? Was he misquoted as well?

Slublog on March 28, 2007 at 8:45 PM

I’d like to hear from Dobson myself before I make a judgement.

I’ve seen Dobson on TV and read one of his books. He could have said something like this.

I remember when he famously bungled this question, “What would you tell your son if he told you he was gay?”

Dobson: “I don’t know what I’d do.”

Really? You wouldn’t tell him to take up his cross and be celibate? This is a leader of millions of evangelicals?

PRCalDude on March 28, 2007 at 8:50 PM

One problem with having as President a Christian on the model of James Dobson is that he’d probably be too soft on muslims. In regard to foreign policy, I’ll usually prefer an evangelical Christian over a left-liberal, but if I really had my choice of Presidents, I’d appoint the one who promised to tell muslims, “I am the Lord your god, and me only shall you serve. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that I am your Lord. As for the rest of you, depart from me, you accursed, into the fire prepared by J. Robert Oppenheimer and his assistants.”

Kralizec on March 28, 2007 at 9:50 PM

Well gee Whiz, color me the LDS person surprised.

How often we have noted that who is or who isn’t Christian won’t be judged here, but just case in point, someone isn’t the “right” sort of Christian for Dr. Dobson. His right to judge that?

He hasn’t got the right. That is the real point. Dr. Dobson’s brand of Christianity wasn’t around when Christ was either, so he is going to be waiting to see if his offering is right, just like the rest of us.

Noelie on March 28, 2007 at 11:33 PM

Thank you Mr. Dobson. This will drive the independents in the Fred! direction, like maple syrup to pancakes. You, on the other hand, will hardly consider Mrs. Clinton Christian enough, come Nov. ’08.

Entelechy on March 29, 2007 at 12:07 AM

This news ought to make the Dems very nervous. First Guliani, and now Thompson–two solid candidates with clear daylight between themselves and the religious right, which has obviously taken over the country if their preferred candidates are all in the lead across the board–[scuse me--wassat?--they're not?]. Never mind. Anyway, it all equates to electability.

Anyway, like I was saying, the Dems could care less about Guliani, and Thompson’s religious creds, because the Dems have jumped into bed with the atheist nutroots, who would KILL THEM if they any of their anointed [ooh, bad word choice] candidates started talkin’ about their prayerful side, and how important their faith is, etc., etc, barf.

One of the above paragraphs is my opinion depending on the day.

smellthecoffee on March 29, 2007 at 12:16 AM

I have questions.
1. Who is Dobson? Never heard of him.

2. Why is any religion a requirement to be in the race for President?

3.If a candidate that does not subscribe to any religion is closer to your views on politics than those that do photo ops in your chosen denomination, which will you vote for?

4. Are we voteing for a pastor or a president?

MalkinFan on March 29, 2007 at 12:46 AM

Ian nailed it with the first comment

EricPWJohnson on March 29, 2007 at 1:51 AM

but Newt ain’t getting nominated so he [Dobson] can either warm up to Thompson or resign himself to an Inauguration Day that looks like this:

From Allahpundit’s introduction to this thread

Allah,

I Love the way you made your point, placing that photo of Empress Hillary where you did!

Great job, and clever!

William

William2006 on March 29, 2007 at 3:14 AM

For people who think Dobson is irrelevant, you all sure have a lot to say about the man. I don’t listen to Dobson, but I know that he does have a decent following with the religious right. His opinion is just that, his opinion. Way to attack and alienate even further the religious right. Hope everyone is excited about another eight years of a Clinton in the Whitehouse. AP has never passed on an opportunity to further instigate the animosity people on the right have with their step-sister. Maybe that is another reason he doesn’t like AC.

jeffNWV on March 29, 2007 at 8:34 AM

Way to attack and alienate even further the religious right. Hope everyone is excited about another eight years of a Clinton in the Whitehouse. AP has never passed on an opportunity to further instigate the animosity people on the right have with their step-sister. Maybe that is another reason he doesn’t like AC.

Many of us are members of the religious right and the issues we have with Dobson are based in the belief that he does not speak for our faith.

So I’d hardly call us ‘alienated.’

Slublog on March 29, 2007 at 8:36 AM

Hrmm…I guess Thompson doesn’t have enough divorces to be a true Christian?

Thank you Mr. Dobson for clearing that up for us.

/sarcasm

Benaiah on March 29, 2007 at 9:09 AM

>His opinion is just that, his opinion.

You’re kidding, right? When Dobson sneezes, millions of Christians get colds. It’s not “just an opinion.” Though Focus on the Family can’t endorse a candidate (and retain its tax exemption) Dobson surely sways the sentiments of millions of voters. Political influence has become the main emphasis of his organization. The radio show is 75% how to keep a cleaner home, raise kids, and love your husband, with the other 25% being, “Oh my God!! America has never been this challenged by satanic forces as it is this week with X bill and Y Senator!!! Call your congressman now!!!”

Drum on March 29, 2007 at 10:52 AM

You’re kidding, right? When Dobson sneezes, millions of Christians get colds. It’s not “just an opinion.” Though Focus on the Family can’t endorse a candidate (and retain its tax exemption) Dobson surely sways the sentiments of millions of voters. Political influence has become the main emphasis of his organization. The radio show is 75% how to keep a cleaner home, raise kids, and love your husband, with the other 25% being, “Oh my God!! America has never been this challenged by satanic forces as it is this week with X bill and Y Senator!!! Call your congressman now!!!”

Drum on March 29, 2007 at 10:52 AM

yep. It’s unbiblical legalism. He also misunderstands government, common grace, and eschatology, yet at the same time influences millions of Christians.

PRCalDude on March 29, 2007 at 12:00 PM

>we use the word ‘jackass’ to refer to anyone who claims exclusive use of the word ‘Christian’ for just his own tiny little sect of Christianity.

And that’s putting it mildly.

Dr. Dobson is displaying exactly the type of un-Christlike ultra-elitism that we see in all the goofy “anti-whatever” groups, whether they be anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic, or whatever.

There are a lot of self-proclaimed Christians that spend an awful lot of time on being anti. I would suggest stopping the obsession and actually studying the Bible and trying to emulate Jesus (who would have been persecuted and crucified by a lot of today’s self-proclaimed Christians if he had lived in our time).

Doghouse on March 29, 2007 at 2:17 PM

I’m a pepper, he’s a pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too…..
For the record, put me down for whatever Dobson ain’t.

honora on March 29, 2007 at 3:50 PM

Comment pages: 1 2