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.