Delusions of Grandeur?

It sounds like James Dobson isn’t too happy that Fred Thompson is thinking about running for president.  Dobson called up reporter Dan Gilgoff at US News & World Report to proclaim that Thompson is not a Christian — and to heap praise on thrice-married serial adulterer Newt Gingrich.  Maybe this is a doctrinal difference, but it sounds like pure arrogance to me.

“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.”

I’m no fan of Fred Thompson’s politics, but this is a low blow.  Does Dobson really think he’s the final arbiter of who is or isn’t a Christian?  If so, I know a guy named Jesus who just might take issue with him.  More likely, he’s just mad because Thompson hasn’t kissed up to him the way Gingrich and John McCain have.

16 Responses to “Delusions of Grandeur?”

  1. Susan says:

    “Does Dobson really think he’s the final arbiter of who is or isn’t a Christian?”

    Nah, he’s just stirring up the thousands of people who do think he is.

  2. Kathy says:

    Yeah, and laughing all the way to the bank, most likely.

  3. ALmod says:

    I remember a time when James Dobson was someone I respected. He actually used to make sense back then. I don’t know if maybe he’s getting old and senile or what. At least he’s not showing clips of himself working out and claiming that he can bench press a ton– yet.

  4. Songbird says:

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

    I guess I know where that leaves me.

  5. bystander says:

    Since when is a person considered to be a Christian if he has been baptised in to a church? Is my car a Christian because it has been baptised in a carwash?

  6. Tom Hilton says:

    This exclusivist use of ‘Christian’ is something that threw me a when I first encountered it in the late ’90s, and has been a pet peeve of mine ever since. Unfortunately, they’ve been largely successful in imposing their definition on common usage.

  7. Kathy says:

    So — do we take the word back, or do we come up with another term to describe people who actually try to follow the teachings of Jesus?

  8. ALmod says:

    I dunno. I kind of like the thought of being a “rebel.”

  9. Renee says:

    I’m a “follower of Jesus” (FOJ). It’s really hard for me to identify myself as a Christian when that term has been hijacked by Dobson and his ilk!

  10. bill says:

    I want to be even more radical. I refuse to let Dobson hijack the term “evangelical” Christian. I consider myself and evangelical, meaning someone who aspires to bring others to Christ by befriending them, supporting them, loving them and sharing Christ with them.

    This gay hating, Family clinic doctor murdering, mean spirited faith that is contrary to the gospel is not evangelical Christianity in its pure sense. My friends in that spectrum need to spend more time in Matthew Chapter Five and less time misinterpreting The Revelation.

  11. Kathy says:

    Andrew Sullivan has been using the term “Christianist” to describe Dobson and his ilk because it reflects the political ideology that has twisted their faith.

  12. Del says:

    It is time for the periodic retelling of the Cute Thing My Kid Said, at about age nine. I scolded him for something or other, saying, “That’s not a very Christian way to behave.” Bewildered, the poor child said, “But Mom, we’re not Christians. We’re Episcopalians!”

    True Story. I swear. I think I’ve already posted it here twice but maybe it will be new to some.

  13. Kathy says:

    Del, I have a feeling James Dobson would agree with your son. :)

  14. Mumsy says:

    Dr. D’s statement is obviously calculated to steer the flock (gaggle, herd)away from Thompson. Just makes me want to know more about Thompson. Bible says you will know them by their LOVE, not their politics.

  15. Kathy says:

    Mumsy, I agree. I just wonder about Dobson’s reason. Is it ego, or does he really believe what he says?

  16. [...] Dobson has a real problem with Fred Thompson. Back in March, he called the US News & World Report to say that Thompson didn’t fit his definition of Christian [...]

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