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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Morris Chapman Gives Some Love To Freddy T

Fred Thompson has found more love from Southern Baptist leaders. An article in the Tuscaloosa News quotes Morris Chapman, President of the Executive Committee of the SBC, as saying...
"Another Southern Baptist called Fred Thompson the Ronald Reagan of the South, and I think he has some of that appeal. He is a magnetic personality. He seems to articulate his opinions clearly. He seems to be unflappable."
As I've documented in past posts, Richard Land of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has spent most of his summer crushin on Hollywood Fred.

Past remarks from Dick Land include

"I'm around a lot of Baptists," Land said. "They find Fred Thompson to be a tantalizing combination of charisma, conviction and electability. He's got a Reaganesque ability to connect with ordinary folk that is powerful."

Land added: "He also has the same Teflon coating that Reagan had: Bad stuff just doesn't stick."

"This is Fred Thompson's race to lose" he said. "I have never seen anything like this
grassroots swell for Thompson. I'm not speaking for Southern Baptists, but I do believe I have my hand on the pulse of Southern Baptists and I think I know where the consensus is."

"Fred Thompson reminds me of a Southern-fried Reagan...To see Fred work a crowd must be what it was like to watch Rembrandt paint."
In the same Tuscaloosa News article, Marc Ambinder offers us a nice quote from Land on Romney....
"Clearly you have very significant segments of the population in the Southeast who are evangelical Christians, Southern Baptists and other faiths," said Richard Land, who heads the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. "Most of them want to know what the religious perspectives of the candidates are, and it's important to them. It's not determinative, but it's important."

While Land thinks Romney's religion could be a problem, he said the former governor's pro-life stance might prove more important.

"There is no issue that matters more to most evangelicals than the issue of the life of the unborn," Land said.
If no issue matters more to Southern Baptists than abortion then why are Land and Chapman so quick to jump on the Fred Thompson bandwagon?

Like Romney, Thompson also has a spotty abortion record. First, there is the report that Thompson was hired by an abortion-rights organization to lobby the first Bush administration. But more importantly, in 1994 Thompson wrote that the "ultimate decision" about abortion is a woman's and that government should not intervene. On other questionnaires, Thompson declared his opposition to both criminalizing abortion and a constitutional amendment "protecting the sanctity of life."

At least for Romney's sake, he claims to have had traveled down Damascus Road. Meanwhile, James Dobson has gone so far as to question whether Freddy T has ever had a salvific experience.

Nonetheless, Scott Helman of the Boston Globe recently declared:
Dissatisfied with the current crop of GOP contenders, these conservative leaders say Thompson, despite new questions about his record on abortion, possesses the right combination of electability and conservative values -- the two ingredients they believe are necessary to energize evangelical voters and keep the White House in Republican hands in 2008.
"It's almost as if the man and the moment met," said Richard Land, who speaks for more than 16 million people as head of public policy for the nation's Southern Baptists.
Why does it seem that Land's first priority is Republican success in '08?

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Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

If Republican success in '08 is Land's first priority, he's due for a bad surprise, I think. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska could be in jail by then. It looks as if Attorney Gen. Gonzalez, at least, will be impeached. And the GOP's presidential hopes are so dim that Newt Gingrich is wisely staying home. (I expect him to run in '12 after Dems have had some trouble cleaning up the mess the GOP has left us.)
I could wish that Hillary was not frontrunner for the Dem. nomination, but even she seems well able to beat anyone in this GOP lineup.

6:19 AM

Blogger ElhananWinchester in Pinstripes said...

My great problem with Fred Thompson is the same as my problem with George Bush--these men have not been scripturally baptized. Like the SBC leaders, I don't think we can compromise our principles. Bush is a pedobaptist; while he claims to be a born again believer, he has never been obedient to baptism by immersion after salvation. And Fred Thompson, as a member of the Church of Christ believes in baptismal regeneration. That means, he trusts in works for salvation. I can't believe Richard Land is gonna stand for that.

10:24 AM

Blogger Tim said...

"Why does it seem that Land's first priority is Republican success in '08?"

Well, that's a silly question. Land's first priority is Republican success in '08. Whoever said it wasn't? Really BDW, get with the program! ;)


3:50 PM

Anonymous Chuck said...

I, and probably Land as well, am interested in Republican success because the Republican party better reflects my convictions and views on abortion, homosexuality, and marriage.

Clear enough?

7:56 PM

Blogger healtheland said...

"At least for Romney's sake, he claims to have had traveled down Damascus Road." What on earth are you talking about? Romney is a MORMON. MORMONS deny the deity of Jesus Christ, that God is an omniscient omnipotent sovereign spirit ... are you aware of that?

8:45 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...


As the head of a religious NPO, should Land be promoting a Republican candidate for President? As far as his tax-exempt status goes - Land has to be very careful. Hence, that's why he does the whole "I don't endorse candidates" spill before he offers his praises toward Thompson....

They are the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission - with emphasis on the word "ethics." I assume it's fine for you to actively campaign for Republican success - but it seems a consistent Christian ethic and the law requires Land to remain neutral....


I know Romney is a Mormon. I used "Damascus Road" to describe a Romney's conversion experience from being pro-choice to pro-life. Despite his seemingly pro-choice past, Thompson remains mum on the issue.

By the way, where in South Georgia are you from? I grew up in Vidalia.

10:56 PM

Anonymous Chuck said...

I'm sure he's being careful.

I think Michael's comments, indicating his Democratic party status, is illustrative of why we Baptists have difficulty coming together across political lines.

You see, it's inconceivable to me how a Christian who takes God's Word seriously and holds it highly authoritative can come down on the Dem side, with its stance on the major moral issues I mentioned. Jimmy Carter included.

I won't judge such a person's salvation, but I must admit I'll have difficulty joining them in some effort such at the NewBapCov.

9:04 AM

Anonymous Chuck said...

I just realized I may have misread Michael's comment to indicate his party status.

My apologies, brother. "Progressive" bi-focals, like many things labeled "progressive" can mess you up. lol


9:11 AM

Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Chuck, you have nothing to apologize for--at least to me. I AM a Democrat, although often a disgruntled one who is almost as frustrated with the Democratic Party as with the GOP. :-) But my comments had to do with how badly I think the GOP is going to lose this time, not with supporting the Dems.

I did not expect this, not even after November '06. I expected the GOP to quickly rally around 1-3 strong candidates and I expected them to be able to take on the Dems. It just doesn't look like that now (of course, much can change in 16 months!). Hillary has the highest negatives (including from me!), and even she seems poised to beat anyone in the current lineup. I base that on speaking with GOP strategists who are afraid that many of the GOP faithful will stay home in Nov. '08. One said that if Hillary gets at least the number of votes that Kerry (who ran a dismal campaign) did, she'd win.

Now, I think the country would be better off with Obama or Edwards as president (or even better with Kucinich, but I am not kidding myself on his chances), but they need to work hard if either is to close the gap with Hillary and secure the Nomination. (I also think that either Obama or Edwards would have an easier chance against any GOP nominee.)

That's just my sense of how things are shaping up, not an endorsement. I think Land is in for a huge disappointment in '08.
I also think BDW is right that he is abusing his office in semi-endorsing candidates, but this is such routine old news, now, that I no longer have much comment to make.

8:24 PM


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