Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Frankie Schaeffer

While Frankie is not nearly as famous as his dad, Francis Schaeffer, the tale he is telling is just as monumental. I don't think he is giving us any sour grapes --- hope that is not the case. But at the same time, I don't like the story I'm hearing either. If this is even remotely true, some of the core of our Pop Christianity is beginning to crumble. The wake of disillusionment is potentially very serious.

Below is from Rob Boston at his Americans United for Separation of Church & State blog. While I am a firm believer in the historic Baptist principle of church/state separation from both a Biblical & a practical level, this is the sort of stuff that, if true, gives credence to the complaint that churches are just after power & why we need to be more vigilant than ever to preserve the proper roles of gov't & His church.

How will we undo this damage done to us by our own? When folks like Schaeffer begin telling us that we have been lied to, manipulated, & all-around played by these Hucksters of the Word, it is time to start listening. My fear is there are some who are so blinded by the partisian politics of it all that they simply refuse to acknowledge the facts.

Frank Schaeffer shared his father’s opinions and, as an adult, worked alongside him. He had an insider’s view of the rise of the Religious Right. Father and son were there at the movement’s birth and worked with some of its biggest names.

What does Frank Schaeffer think about the Religious Right these days? Let’s just say he’s not a fan. He refers to Robertson as “a lunatic” and says Dobson is “a power-crazed political manipulator cynically abusing his followers.” He calls the late Jerry Falwell an “unreconstructed bigot.”

Consider these choice quotes from Schaeffer’s recently published book, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back:

* “What I slowly realized was that the religious-right leaders we were helping to gain power were not ‘conservatives’ at all, in the old sense of the world. They were anti-American religious revolutionaries.”

* “Pat Robertson…would have had a hard time finding work in any job where hearing voices is not a requirement.”

* “Dad could hardly have imagined how they would help facilitate the instantly corrupted power-crazy new generation of evangelical public figures like Ralph Reed, who took money from the casino industry while allegedly playing both sides against the middle in events related to the Abramoff Washington lobbyist scandal.”

* “Long before Ralph Reed and his ilk came on the scene, Dad got sick of ‘these idiots’ as he often called people like Dobson in private. They were ‘plastic,’ Dad said, and ‘power-hungry.’”

* “There were three kinds of evangelical leaders: The dumb or idealistic ones who really believed. The out-and-out charlatans. And the smart ones who still believed – sort of – but knew that the evangelical world was sh*t, but who couldn’t figure out any way to earn as good a living anywhere else.”

* “Dad seemed lost in a depressed daze. He had recently been saying privately that the evangelical world was more or less being led by lunatics, psychopaths, and extremists, and agreeing with me that if ‘our side’ ever won, America would be in deep trouble

Ouch. Opponents sometimes accuse Americans United of being too critical of the Religious Right, but these days it seems some of the most pointed barbs are coming from people like Schaeffer, Whitehead and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. (Thomas, a former Moral Majority employee, coauthored Blinded by the Might: Why the Religious Right Can’t Save America in 2000.)

In a recent interview with Whitehead, Schaeffer discussed his break with the Religious Right, remarking, “I personally came to believe that a lot of the issues that were being latched onto by the Christian Right, whether it was the gay issue or abortion or other things, were actually being used for negative political purposes. They were used to structure a power base for people who then threw their weight around.”

He continues, “The other thing I began to understand is that in dismissing the whole culture as decadent, in dismissing the public school movement as godless, in talking about anybody who opposed them as evil, the Religious Right was only a mirror image of the New Left….What gets left out is a basic discussion about the United States and the reality of living here, the freedoms we enjoy and the benefits of a pluralistic culture where people are not crushing each other over beliefs.”
. . .


foxofbama said...


Good stuff on Franky; GArry Wills is a must read for you as his concluding chapters get to the Point of What Rove did to America with Richard Land's help.
And on the Schaeffers, Charles Marsh is must reading for you in Wayward Christian Soldiers as he describes a pivotal moment in the 70's where Francis the Dad broke with Billy Graham on Inerrancy in the Lausanne Statement.
Today, check my blog on God and the SBC and South Carolina; and see how it is playing nationally with the Newsweek Religion Blog; and my comment there.

If we could just get a majority to think like me and you......

foxofbama said...

Sure could use your help inflecting values and dogma voters at it inflects Frank Page, Huckabee and Obama at my blog.
Feel free to do a blog of your own on the topic and we'll crossblog if inclined at all.