Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fred Thompson's Religious Background

Finally some people are doing some digging due to the Dobson remarks. Unfortunately they don't really clear anything up in terms of him being actively religious, nor as non-religious as pretty much any lapsed Catholic. For me, this isn't a deciding issue - even though I am very much orthodox conservative Roman Catholic, I tend to look more for the real world skills and morals in a President than the spiritual ones. The last really pious guy we got was a disaster (Jimmy Carter).

The 106th Congressional Record listed Thompson’s religious affiliation as "Church of Christ (Stone Campbell)." In an interview with the U.S. News and World Report this week, Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo said: "Thompson is indeed a Christian. He was baptized into the Church of Christ."

Corallo did not immediately return calls from the Chronicle seeking additional information about the politician and Law and Order actor’s religious background.

David Pinckley, treasurer of the Pulaski Street Church of Christ in Thompson’s hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., said the two grew up together.

[The Rest of the Story]

"We went to school together, played football, went to church for many years here in Lawrenceburg," Pinckley told the Chronicle on Friday.

"I don’t know his religious status right now, but we were both baptized around 1951 … 1952 maybe," Pinckley added. "We were either 10 or 11 years old then. He was baptized at the First Street church in Lawrenceburg. It’s a non-institutional church now, but it wasn’t then."

Thompson spoke in 1997 at a fund-raising event at Freed-Hardeman University, a Henderson, Tenn., college associated with Churches of Christ. Thompson used his speaking fee to create an endowed scholarship at Freed-Hardeman for history and political science students, said Stephen Morris, assistant professor of political science and university counsel.

The Robert and Ruth Thompson academic scholarship – named after Thompson’s parents – offers freshman scholarships worth between $2,500 and $5,000. His father is deceased, but Ruth Thompson lives in Franklin, Tenn., and remains a member of the Church of Christ, Pinckley said.

Thompson’s faith became an issue in the national media when Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a Thompson candidacy in an interview with U.S. News.

Courtesy of Tammie Ross and Bobby Ross Jr of the Christian Chronicle

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