Monday, September 24, 2007

Yet another evangelical's take on Fred

A lot has been made with regard to James Dobson's apparent refusal to support Fred during the primaries; but this evangelical takes a different stand:

Southern Baptist Leader Defends Fred Thompson

September 25, 2007

Richard Land, the President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (which is part of the influential Southern Baptist Convention), tells The Brody File that the criticism leveled at Fred Thompson by James Dobson and others is a tad bit over the top. Recently, Dr. Dobson, Founder of Focus on the Family, said he wouldn’t support Thompson for a number of reasons including Thompson’s stance against a one size fits all marriage amendment. Read more on that here. As for Dr. Land’s comments, here’s what he told me:

“I’ve received phone calls and emails from Southern Baptists about Senator Thompson. They are all furious at Doctor Dobson. They just feel that first of all there was a mischaracterizing of his positions. Do I wish that he supported the marriage protection amendment? Of course I do. To say that he is for 50 different views of marriage in 50 different states is a gross mischaracterization of his position. Secondly, do I wish that he attended church every Sunday? As a Baptist pastor, of course I do. But does that make him a person of unbelief? That’s harsh and unwarranted.”

The split between Dobson and Land on Thompson is a microcosm of what’s going on right now within the Evangelical movement. There are those who think Thompson is the guy and others who don’t.

Dr. Land and Dr. Dobson both believe that there should be a federal marriage amendment to the constitution that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Plain and simple. Fred Thompson agrees but argues that if a state legislature passes a gay marriage law and the Governor signs it, then gay couples should be allowed to marry. So how does Dr. Land reconcile his position that seems to differ from Thompson’s?

David, the problem with these cotton picking conviction politicians is that they follow their convictions and Fred Thompson has been for a long long time a very staunch federalist and it’s hard to convince conviction politicians to change their minds.”

“It’s (Thompson’s marriage amendment position) a problem. I think Southern Baptists have an ethical issue in which they need to deal. They may face a situation where they have a choice of three candidates. One they agree with 95% of the time, one they agree with 80 percent of the time and one they agree with 10% of the time. It may come to pass that they’re faced with a choice.”

In the end though, Land is still a Thompson supporter. I asked him what it is about Thompson that appeals to him and many other Evangelicals.

“Fred Thompson grew up in a very modest means in a small town in America just like Ronald Reagan grew up in very modest means in a small town in Illinois. You acquire not only an understanding of but a respect for everyday folk when you come from the background that you don’t get otherwise and people sense it. That this is a guy who respects me, a guy who understands that we are the backbone of this country, we are the salt of the Earth and he not only understands us, he’s one of us. He’s a successful one of us but he’s one of us and they trust a guy like that. They give a guy like that a larger margin of error. Nobody gets everything right but its core values. My assessment is that this guy is a whole much like Reagan including his Teflon quality. The press has been beating up with him for these types of gaffes and he continues to climb in the polls.”
Amen, Rev.!

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