Conservatives Debate Whether Fred Thompson Attended Church Frequently Enough

David Brody of CBN asks, and answers, a disturbing question: “Do you care if the President of the United States attends Church? My bet is the majority of Americans would say yes.” Not only do they care if he attends, but some are now keeping score as to how often. Brody links to an article at WorldNetDaily which questions whether Fred Thompson has attended church enough–with no discussion of whether he has ever played a priest, minister, rabbi, or even a character attending church on television. From WorldNetDaily (and indirectly found through Andrew Sullivan):

First, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson was reported to have said the Republican presidential hopeful is not a real Christian. Thompson shot back that he’s not only a Christian, but a member of the fundamentalist Churches of Christ.

Now a political science professor at a Church of Christ-affiliated college charges Thompson is a “lapsed member.” And he has issued a challenge on the Internet to anyone who can come up with evidence that Thompson, now an actor, is active in the Church of Christ.

Is the Hollywood star-turned-politician a true believer?

Thompson’s chances at capturing the GOP primary may rest on the answer, thanks to the growing electoral clout of Christian conservatives.

Professor Mark Elrod of Harding University said he doubts Thompson is “filling out an attendance card at a Church of Christ on Sundays.”

The political scientist says he hasn’t been able to find any information regarding the former senator’s actual membership in a local congregation in his home state of Tennessee.

“In our tradition,” Elrod said, “that’s called ‘being out of fellowship’ or a ‘lapsed member.'”

On his blog, the professor challenged the Church of Christ faithful to produce evidence they’ve seen Thompson “at an assembly of a Church of Christ (Stone-Campbell) in the last 20 years.” So far nobody has met the challenge.

Specifically, Elrod is soliciting any information about Thompson having:

Taught a Bible class,
Presided at the Lord’s table,
Served as a greeter,
Or led singing (“If it was 728b and you can prove it, I’ll give you $100,” he wagered, referring to the hymn, “Our God, He Is Alive,” which is considered an anthem in the Churches of Christ).
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  1. 1
    ME says:

    This is a boilerplate response to e-mails I have received about my Fred Thompson blog post that was cited on WorldNetDaily:

    The post from my blog should be read in its original context. I believe that any reasonable person could read my post and see that it is satirical and not meant to be taken seriously.


    This is reflected in an article in the Christian Chronicle about my blog post on Thompson as well.


    As the CC article suggests, the purpose of my post was to have some fun James Dobson’s assertion that Fred Thompson was not “Christian” enough. To suggest that I agree with Dobson about Fred Thompson, or anything else for that matter, is absurd.

    The “journalists” at WND obviously do not fall into the category of reasonable people – nobody at that online publication or anywhere else has asked me to comment on what I wrote on my blog back in March. To me, this is like taking something from The Onion as gospel and publishing it as fact. Real journalists check their facts – faux journalists believe everything they read on the Interwebs.

    The bottom line is I could really care less about where Fred Thompson or anyone else goes to church.

    And as a Harding employee, I certainly can’t afford to give away $100 for something as shallow as this.

    But the great irony of this is that I have been characterized as an intolerant Christian fundamentalist. A careful reading of my blog and other things I have written would clearly demonstrate that this is not the case.

  2. 2
    Don Jones says:

    Ron, unless you are Briar Rabbit stay out of that patch in the future. You can’t play the humor game with this hot potato.

    Fred probably is like a few million others. He attends church some Sundays, and he does not others. That is unless he is a SDA. Oh, look it up.

    Who cares? Get rid of the terrorist problem Fred. Should we ask him if he is a Muslim? Wow, would we elect a Muslim?

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:


    I was just giving you credit for the link, not suggesting you agreed with the the material at WND.

    Don Jones,

    This is not intended to either be humorous or critical of Fred Thompson. If anything, I’m taking his side on this one. Those who are familiar with this blog will realize that I’m presenting the views from WND to show how intolerant and off the wall they are, regardless if their target is a Democrat or a Republican such as Fred Thompson.

  4. 4
    Don Jones says:

    I agree. I was trying to make the religion and politics don’t mix, point.

    I guess you know more about that than I.


  5. 5
    Nathan LaHue, Concord NH says:

    I’m a member of the church of Christ, and I ain’t voting for Freddy T. I have to say Ron Paul is the man for the job in all fairness.

    Fred Thompson is a neocon globalist not unlike McCain.

    Although Fred Thompson is tougher than McCain and Giuliani on border enforcement, which isn’t saying much seeing how they line up with Barack Obama, he had a rather lackluster record on immigration while in the Senate. As one commentator notes: “Overall, Americans for Better Immigration gives [Thompson] a career grade of C; on chain migration, C; visa lottery, C-; reducing unnecessary visas, F; on reducing asylum fraud, C-; on reducing amnesties, D; and on interior enforcement, C+. Although he was tough on border control, he was lacking in almost every other area.”

    Fred Thompson also supports affirmative action, and ideologically worships free trade, regardless how much it harms America. Historically, conservatives have opposed free trade, but Thompson, like others, has been “neoconned” into backing it.

    He furthermore is a “fellow” at the American Enterprise Institute, one of the largest (and most sinister) neocon think-tanks, which demonstrates where his true loyalty lies. If you did not receive the Burkean memo, the transformation of the Middle East to liberal democracy is Jacobin, not conservative. There is not a single thing conservative about the membership of AEI. They are neocon / neoliberal globalists.

    Why are neoncons backing Thompson? Ideally, being ex-Trotskyites themselves, neocons would prefer a liberal candidate, like McCain, Giuliani or Romney. But they see that conservatives deplore these candidates, and now are going to try to peddle Fred Thompson, who is just socially conservative enough and just tough enough on the borders, even if it is feigned, to woo naive GOP voters. But let’s hope this nefarious neocon plot fails.

    Let’s pray that the more real conservatives learn about Fred Thompson, the more unacceptable he will appear. Use your BRAIN America, and not fall for sharply dressed, full set of ‘sexy’ hair (Romney/Edwards), nor for someone who ‘Acts’ on TV.

    A Dean of a College I know was touting a large RUDY sign. I asked him why Rudy, and he said, “Because he’s from MY state…I gotta support the home team!”. This guy has a MASTERS DEGREE and TEACHES! He has no friggin clue. I encourage all of you to not vote on ‘popularity’ but rather on who is the best candidate for the job. Fred Thompson will KEEP US IN IRAQ FOR A LONG LONG TIME according to his Fox News interview. Please research for yourselves America. It should make you puke if you truely knew who some of these people are.

  6. 6
    Don Jones says:

    “Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the ‘American grain.’ It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked.

    In case you think I can roll it out like you do, I must admit that is cut and paste from the Internet dictionary. A definition of neocon. I figured it was a new con game and it may well be.

    If you boil down all you pontificated you just said you don’t like Fred. How would you know? There is not enough real meat in your folderal to make a hamburger. Do you wear corduroy jackets with elbow patches?

    Get off that soap box and talk to the folks.

  7. 7
    Nathan LaHue, Concord NH says:

    Plagerism is the highest form of flattery Don.

    Besides, I hate corduroy. Elbow patches? Way to young for that jazz.

    “Don’t Like Fred”….never said that. Lets just say that I don’t trust him. Especially with the likes of Mary Matalin (former counselor to Vice President Cheney) who will be advising Thompson. Far less than seven degrees of separation from Carl Rove…….

    Good job BTW on that right click – copy – paste thing. It does wonders for looking smart 🙂

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Nathan does go beyond saying he doesn’t like Fred. Regardless of which side you are on, his support for Ron Paul does appear to be based on significantly different foreign policy views than those of Fred Thompson.

  9. 9
    Phil Nunley says:

    It is my opinion that a man who calls himself a christian is not one who wears his religion on his sleeve. A man can be judged by his words and his actions. Words and actios speak louder than anyone who “sees” someone attend a church service. Obviously, “seeing” someone at church services is a poor judgement of who the man really is. I don’t believe that this professor at Harding should be making those kinds of judgements regarding any man’s claim to being a christian. Let Mr. Thompsons words and deeds speak more to who he is rather than what someone else considers “what looks like” a christian as being.

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