Wednesday, June 13, 2007

But you got to have faith

[Update below]

Despite persistent evidence that a large number of Democrats take issue with science, battling over who is the bigger religious nut remains the province of the GOP. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is troubled by nascent presidential GOP candidate Fred Thompson's seeming lack of faith.
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.
And now the hunt is on to discover Thompson's ecclesial bone fides.
Professor Mark Elrod of Harding University said he doubts Thompson is "filling out an attendance card at a Church of Christ on Sundays."

[T]he 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).
These are the qualifications, it is to be noted, which concern the Christian right. And who among cannot be charmed by a little wagering when it come to questions of faith?

But the real question for Christians about a future president? Well, you probably already knew:
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.
These are indeed dark times.

Update: Damn! I got burned by those idiots at Whirled Nut Daily, which I guess makes me just as dumb or dumber. I should have known. That's what happens when posts get punched up quickly and without much ado. Mark Elrod stopped in to let me know that his original post was satirical and that WND reported it is a real challenge -- bet and all -- since it rather conformed to their particular view of things anyway. In fact, WND'ers probably thought Elrod's challenge was a fine idea. Apologies to Dr. Elrod, but he must take some amusement in the fact that his riposte was treated as a feasible and reasonable part of the GOP Christian political vetting machine. In fact, Elrod's challenge is not at all distinguishable from anything that James Dobson might do himself. Therein lies the subtle beauty of it, really.

Nonetheless, I feel dumber for it all.


Blogger Mark said...

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.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a bit funny to see that Elrod has gotten his rhetorical pitchfork hung on his own britches.

12:35 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:05 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...


Apologies for being burned by the Whirled Nuts. I should have known.

But one might easily argue that the reason your article can be and has been taken in an authentic light, and certainly why WND thought it was, is because your satire is not much, if at all, removed from the actual concerns of Christian voters. No one in this country is at all surprised when the religious right demands and expects fealty to their beliefs. It is well known that the majority of this country will not consider voting for anyone who does not believe in God. It is this de facto litmus test in American politics that renders your satire hardly satirical at all.

Still, the WND connection should have alerted me.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Mark said...


It was a fair assumption that since I teach at a religiously and political conservative school that I was serious about my challenge involving FT. I have received a fair share of angry emails from WND readers who took me seriously.

I'm sure this has many of my colleague's scratching their heads because I am considered one of the more liberal members of the faculty.

8:32 PM  

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