James Dobson has already tossed John McCain under the bus. Now it’s Fred Thompson, the former senator and TV actor who’s thinking about getting into the race for president.
For Dobson, Thompson is not only not Christian enough to get his support, but he’s not, apparently to Dobson, Christian at all. For his part, Thompson says he’s indeed a Christian, one who was baptized into the Church of Christ.
At this rate, the only folks that Dobson will be able to deem qualified to run for president will be himself, and possibly his spokesman, Gary Schneeberger. And Newt Gingrich.Dobson, who has tremendous influence over many evangelical Christians, took on the role as kingmaker in presidential politics back in 1996 when he vowed never again to vote for or support a political candidate who was “squishy” on abortion.
This January, he said that he won’t support John McCain “under any circumstances.” He went on to tell radio talk show host Jerry Johnson that he’s “praying” we don’t get stuck with McCain, who Dobson claims is “not in favor of traditional marriage.”
This week, U.S. News and World Report reported that Dobson was appearing to throw “cold water” on Thomson’s potential bid, “while at the same time praising Newt Gingrich, who recently appeared on Dobson’s radio program and apologized for being an adulterer.”
From the March 28 article:
“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.”
Dobson has since said Thompson has to do more than just say what his religion is –