Q&A Friday #62: James Dobson On Fred Thompson

Question: “What do you think of Dr. James Dobson’s statement that Fred Thompson’s failure to declare his Christianity could lose him support among evangelical Christians? Personally, I’d rather have someone who’s led an upstanding life all along, even privately, than someone like Gingrich or McCain who fortuitously “discovers” Jesus just in the nick of time to pull his floundering political career from the crapper.” — Cartman

Answer: I like Dobson, but I think he was way out of line with his comments about Thompson.

‘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, so what is Dobson even basing this on? Moreover, who is James Dobson to decide whether someone is a Christian or not?

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To tell you the truth, this sounds like the sort of dumb thing that someone like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell would say because they thought Fred Thompson wasn’t paying enough attention to them. I expect better from Dobson.

I consult for the Duncan Hunter Campaign through TCV Media.

Update #1: James Dobson is saying that his comments were taken out of context,

Focus on the Family issued the following statement today regarding a story that appeared Wednesday on the U.S. News & World Report Web site quoting the ministry’s founder and chairman, James C. Dobson, Ph.D:

“We welcome the opportunity to clarify Dr. Dobson’s remarks that were first reported in Dan Gilgoff’s online article titled ‘Dobson Offers Insight on 2008 Republican Hopefuls: Focus on the Family Founder Snubs Thompson, Praises Gingrich.’

“At the outset, it’s important to note that this headline is an outright mischaracterization of the views Dr. Dobson expressed. His words weren’t intended to represent either an endorsement of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich or a disparagement of former Sen. Fred Thompson. Dr. Dobson appreciates Sen. Thompson’s solid, pro-family voting record and his position that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.

“In his conversation with Mr. Gilgoff, Dr. Dobson was attempting to highlight that to the best of his knowledge, Sen. Thompson hadn’t clearly communicated his religious faith, and many evangelical Christians might find this a barrier to supporting him.

“Dr. Dobson told Mr. Gilgoff he had never met Sen. Thompson and wasn’t certain that his understanding of the former senator’s religious convictions was accurate. Unfortunately, these qualifiers weren’t reported by Mr. Gilgoff. We were, however, pleased to learn from his spokesperson that Sen. Thompson professes to be a believer.

…”In conclusion, we would caution friends of our ministry not to believe what they read about Dr. Dobson in the secular media today. Never in the 30-year history of this ministry has there been more misreporting and outright distortion of his beliefs and teachings. It is apparent that those who represent a liberal worldview seek to marginalize him and confuse our friends.

“Anyone who ever has a question concerning what they read about Dr. Dobson or Focus on the Family is encouraged to contact us for clarification. The chances are they have been misinformed.”

As I alluded to earlier, these comments were not the sort of thing that I normally to expect to hear from a reasonable guy like James Dobson. So, when he says that he was taken out of context, I believe him.

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