We aren’t Christians.
This is rather funny/pathetic.
Think of Dr. James Dobson as a self made archbishop of US evangelicals - the US evangelical pope- only preaching to a way smaller crowd. A guy with a lot of money, mailing lists and his own media bully pulpit.
Dr. James Dobson decided to phone Dan Gilgoff of US News and World Report to chat about presidential candidates. Gilgoff is one of the few reporters that has managed to score an interview or two with Dobson, and Gilgoff got a book out of them.
Dr. Dobson was eager to talk about Republican presidential candidates and possible candidates. He made this comment about maybe candidate Fred Thompson, a former senator known for his portrayal of a DA on NBC’s Law & Order. Dobson:
“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,”
Didn’t take long.
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.”
Gilgoff calls Focus on the Family for a clarification. (This guy is an experienced religion reporter and understands religious people babble in different sub texts)
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 Christianâ€”someone who talks openly about his faith.”
“We use that wordâ€”Christianâ€”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.”
If you want to be a literalist y’all, reading tea leaves is forbidden in the bible, we are now in the basement of sub-texts.
You can’t make this stuff up. Next…
Kudos to Christianity Today weblog for catching this little sideshow.
Lisa Miller writes that Dr. James Dobson exhibited “Lear-like fury” in a letter he and other leaders sent to the board of the National Association of Evangelicals about its employee Richard Cizik. She quoted part of that “furious” letter: “If [Cizik] cannot be trusted … then we respectfully suggest that he be encouraged to resign his post.” Fury? Hardly. What’s more, although most in the media failed to note it, the board reiterated its support for a broader social agenda than just the single issue of global warming Cizik has been emphasizing. We applaud that decision. In fact, we assisted the NAE in writing its well-rounded call to civic responsibility two years ago. It’s a shameâ€”almost worthy of Lear-like furyâ€”that Miller didn’t see fit to report that fact.
Senior Vice President, Government and Public Policy
Focus on the Family
Colorado Springs, Colo.
We had a post up here at connexions about the letter and a wee chat about the US National Association of Evangelicals board meeting, Dr. James Dobson, his friends, climate change, Rev. Richard Cizik, and so on and so on.
US political evangelicalism. Drama, drama, drama.
CT weblog is correct. This is the pot calling the kettle black. It’s hard not to notice some dripping sarcasm.
Uh, or is it possible that there’s a phenomenon known as pack journalism, wherein reporters tend to quote each others’ sources, follow up on each others’ stories, and feed the same narrative? And it’s also possible, as George Gerbner postulated, that mass media coverage cultivates attitudes about people that do not correspond to reality. That media outlets keep covering Cizik’s environmental views means that reporters find those views interesting. It doesn’t mean that Cizik talks about the environment 37 percent of the time. And that reporters seldom quote Cizik on same-sex marriage and abortion may simply mean that they have others in their Rolodexes that they prefer to call on those subjects.
Focus on the Family executives often complain that reporters distort how much effort they devote to politics and give short shrift to all of the organization’s efforts in parental advice, counseling, and other areas where it “focuses on the family.” It’s a bit ironic, then, that Minnery thinks Cizik is Johnny One-Note.