Wednesday, March 28, 2007

James Dobson: Christians ain't Christian (and that means they're going to Hail!)

From Dobson Offers Insight on 2008 Republican Hopefuls by Dan Gilgoff US News and World Report Online 03//28/07

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. (my emphasis)
When I first saw this story referenced at Josh Marshall's with that quote, "I don't think he's a Christian", I thought, "Is Dobson saying that Fred Thompson is Jewish?" And Dobson, currently the single most influential leader of the Christian Right, clearly meant what he said about Thompson not being a Christian as a negative thing.

But a Dobson spokesman explained that, no, he didn't mean that Thompson was from some "non-Christian" faith. Rather, Dobson just thinks that most Christians aren't Christians:

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." (my emphasis)
In the United States, "evangelical" doesn't mean all Protestants, as it does in Europe. It refers specifically to those who believe in the "born again" variety of Christianity, which includes fundamentalists and Pentacostals but is not limited to them. It doesn't include Catholics.

Just to be clear: when Christian Right fans hear Dobson say of a national leader that he's not "a Christian", what most of them are hearing is, "he's practically a Jew". And, believe me, despite their alleged love for Israel - as long as Israel is fighting self-destructive wars, that is - being Jewish is not a good thing in their eyes.

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