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Frank Schaeffer Decries Double Standard

March 17, 2008

Obama’s Minister Committed “Treason” But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero

by Frank Schaeffer 

“When Senator Obama’s preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father — Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer — denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

“Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father’s footsteps) rail against America’s sins from tens of thousands of pulpits.  They tell us that America is complicit in the “murder of the unborn,” has become “Sodom” by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children.  They say, as my dad often did, that we are, “under the judgment of God.”  They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction.  By comparison Obama’s minister’s shouted “controversial” comments were mild.  All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton.

“Dad and I were amongst the founders of the Religious right. In the 1970s and 1980s, while Dad and I crisscrossed America denouncing our nation’s sins instead of getting in trouble we became darlings of the Republican Party.  (This was while I was my father’s sidekick before I dropped out of the evangelical movement altogether.)  We were rewarded for our “stand” by people such as Congressman Jack Kemp, the Fords, Reagan and the Bush family.  The top Republican leadership depended on preachers and agitators like us to energize their rank and file. No one called us un-American. 

“Consider a few passages from my father’s immensely influential America-bashing book A Christian Manifesto.  It sailed under the radar of the major media who, back when it was published in 1980, were not paying particular attention to best-selling religious books.  Nevertheless it sold more than a million copies.

“Here’s Dad writing in his chapter on civil disobedience:

“If there is a legitimate reason for the use of force [against the US government]… then at a certain point force is justifiable

“And this:

 

“In the United States the materialistic, humanistic world view is being taught exclusively in most state schools… There is an obvious parallel between this and the situation in Russia [the USSR]. And we really must not be blind to the fact that indeed in the public schools in the United States all religious influence is as forcibly forbidden as in the Soviet Union ….

 

“Then this:

 

“There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate… A true Christian in Hitler’s Germany and in the occupied countries should have defied the false and counterfeit state. This brings us to a current issue that is crucial for the future of the church in the United States, the issue of abortion… It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God’s law it abrogates it’s authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation …   

 

“Was any conservative political leader associated with Dad running for cover?  Far from it.  Dad was a frequent guest of the Kemps, had lunch with the Fords, stayed in the White House as their guest, he met with Reagan, helped Dr. C. Everett Koop become Surgeon General.  (I went on the 700 Club several times to generate support for Koop).

 

“Dad became a hero to the evangelical community and a leading political instigator.  When Dad died in 1984 everyone from Reagan to Kemp to Billy Graham lamented his passing publicly as the loss of a great American.  Not one Republican leader was ever asked to denounce my dad or distanced himself from Dad’s statements.

 

“Take Dad’s words and put them in the mouth of Obama’s preacher (or in the mouth of any black American preacher) and people would be accusing that preacher of treason.  Yet when we of the white Religious Right denounced America white conservative Americans and top political leaders, called our words “godly” and “prophetic” and a “call to repentance.”

 

“Take Dad’s words and put them in the mouth of Obama’s preacher (or in the mouth of any black American preacher) and people would be accusing that preacher of treason.  Yet when we of the white Religious Right denounced America white conservative Americans and top political leaders, called our words “godly” and “prophetic” and a “call to repentance.”

 

My dad’s books denouncing America and comparing the USA to Hitler are still best sellers in the “respectable” evangelical community and he’s still hailed as a prophet by many Republican leaders.  When Mike Huckabee was recently asked by Katie Couric to name one book he’d take with him to a desert island, besides the Bible, he named Dad’s Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, a book where Dad also compared America to Hitler’s Germany.

 

The hypocrisy of the right denouncing Obama, because of his minister’s words, is staggering.  They are the same people who argue for the right to “bear arms” as “insurance” to limit government power.  They are the same people that in the early 1980s roared and cheered when I called down damnation on America as “fallen away from God” at their national meetings where I was keynote speaker, including the annual meeting of the ultraconservative Southern Baptist convention, and the religious broadcasters that I addressed.

 

“Today we have a marriage of convenience between the right wing fundamentalists who hate Obama, and the “progressive” Clintons who are playing the race card through their own smear machine.  As Jane Smiley writes in the Huffington Post “[The Clinton's] are, indeed, now part of the ‘vast right wing conspiracy.’  

 

“Both the far right Republicans and the stop-at-nothing Clintons are using the “scandal” of Obama’s preacher to undermine the first black American candidate with a serious shot at the presidency.  Funny thing is, the racist Clinton/Far Right smear machine proves that Obama’s minister had a valid point.  There is plenty to yell about these days.”

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18 Comments
  1. Donald R. McClarey permalink
    March 17, 2008 5:54 pm

    Franky Schaeffer really has it in for his late Dad doesn’t he? The voters can decide if the late Francis Schaeffer’s writings are the equivalent of a minister calling on God to damn America in his Christmas sermon in 2007.

  2. Christian Prophet permalink
    March 17, 2008 6:00 pm

    It’s not at all about race. Barack Obama is in serious trouble if a spotlight is shined on his THEOLOGY. See:

    http://miraclesdaily.blogspot.com/

  3. March 17, 2008 6:01 pm

    I find it interesting that he thinks Right wing Fundamentalist and the Clinton Machine are behind this. THis stuff is the public record and I think it is apparent that the Conservative version of Star Magazine WOrld net Daily is not the only ones talking about this.

    “All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton.”

    Really is that all he said? For an alternative of what is up go see Rod’s piece at Crunchy Con

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2008/03/the-insanity-of-black-liberati.html

    I think it should be probed and I don’t consider myself part of the right wing/Clinton Machine.

    It might as well be probed now. If there is anything we should know it is better for the country to find out now than in the last days of a general election. It is also good for Obama too

  4. March 17, 2008 6:27 pm

    One thing also. I think this double standard talks is kinda of silly. As someonme that supported Huckabee we surely went through similar questions as to Fatih and public office.

    Ross Douthat that works tat the racist right wing/Clinton tool(Atlantic magazine) has two posts that I think sums it for me

    Denominations and Double Standards

    http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/03/denominations_and_double_stand.php

    and

    Falwell and Wright

    http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/03/falwell_and_wright.php

  5. March 17, 2008 8:30 pm

    Forgive the lengthy response, but I took the liberty of exploring what Schaeffer was getting at in the last paragraph which his son had cobbled together:

    There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate. The Christian is not to take the law into his own hands and become a law unto himself. But when all avenues of flight and protest have closed, force in the defensive posture is appropriate. This was the situation of the American Revolution. [...]

    A true Christian in Hitler’s Germany and in the occupied countries should have defied the false and counterfeit state and hidden his Jewish neighbors from SS troops. The government had abrogated its authority, and had no right to make any demands.
    This brings us to a current issue that is crucial for the future of the church in the United States, the issue of abortion. [...] Christians must come to the children’s defense, and must come to the defense of human life as such. The defense should be carried out on at least four fronts:

    First, we should aggressively support a human life bill or a constitutional amendment protecting unborn children.

    Second, we must enter the courts seeking to overturn the Supreme Court’s abortion decision.

    Third, legal and political action should be taken against hospitals and abortion clinics that perform abortions. [...]

    Francis Schaeffer goes on to advocate putting pressure on institutions that provide abortions by introducting legislation cutting off taxpayer funding. He also supports non-violent civil disobedience and picketing of the abortion clinics. The next sentence is contained in a separate chapter:

    It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God’s law it abrogates it’s authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation.

    What is the appropriate response? — Not just “mere words”:

    Those who have responsibility as Christians, as they live under Scripture, must not only take the necessarily legal and political stands, but must practice all the possible Christian alternatives simultaneously with taking stands politically and legally. . . . [to] show that there are Christian alternatives.

    Francis cites as such alternatives the existence of crisis pregnancy centers. He also criticizes as utopian those who use ONLY the alternatives and do not take the appropriate legal and political measures; and likewise believes it wrong and incomplete to pursue political-legal policy without adopting Christian alternatives.

    I guess we can now debate which party has taken Francis Schaeffer’s advice to heart, in pursuing legal-political action AND staffing crisis pregnancy centers and providing alternatives to abortion?

  6. March 17, 2008 8:31 pm

    Sorry, I neglected to insert the proper blockquotes there. “There does come a time when force, …” [to] “Third, legal and political action should be taken against hospitals and abortion clinics that perform abortions” are Schaeffer’s, not mine.

  7. Donald R. McClarey permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:31 pm

    Bravo Christopher! Well done!

  8. Blackadder permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:33 pm

    Frank Schaeffer says his father called for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. I doubt it. The passages he cites are at best ambiguous on the point, and if juicier quotes were out there you better believe he would have used them. Having actually read some of Schaeffer’s stuff (and having parents who were involved with the early evangelical movement he was a part of), I find it hard to believe that he had violence on his mind. And I can’t imagine him ever telling people to say “God damn America.”

  9. Blackadder permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:38 pm

    And it look as though I was right. The thing is, what Frank Schaeffer has done in this article can’t be excused on the grounds of ignorance. The idea that a man would lie about his own father like that… Words fail me.

  10. March 17, 2008 8:47 pm

    “If there is a legitimate reason for the use of force [against the US government]… then at a certain point force is justifiable.

    Here’s that quote again, in context:

    If there is a legitimate reason for the use of force, and if there is a vigilant precaution against its overreaction in practice, then at a certain point the use of force is justifiable. We should recognize, however, that overreaction can too easily become the ugly horror of sheer violence. [...]

    What kind of force is Francis Schaeffer envisioning, then, to counter the forces of secularism and the culture of death?

    At this point in history, protest is the most viable alternative. … after all the normal constitutional means of protest have been exhausted, then what could be done? At some point, Christians could refuse to pay some portion of their tax money. Of course, this would mean a trial. Such a move would have to mean the individual’s choice under God. Happily, at the present time the Hyde amendment has removed the use of national tax money for abortions, but that does not change the possibilty that in some cases such a protest would be the only way to be heard. One can think of, for example, tax money going to Planned Parenthood . . .

    Francis Schaeffer goes to advocate resisting entanglement and interference with the secular state through home-schooling or private [religious?] schooling.

    Guess which party leans on the side of home-schooling and vouchers for private schooling?

  11. JohnB permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:56 pm

    What a disgrace. I can understand why the HuffPo would publish this drek, but why VN?

  12. March 17, 2008 9:10 pm

    Franky Schaeffer appears to be obsessed with violating the 4th and 8th Commandments whenever it comes to trashing his parents in pursuit of whatever his political agenda is.

  13. JohnB permalink
    March 17, 2008 9:42 pm

    So in this article Schaeffer attempts to string together quotes from his father who died in 1984, and can’t respond to the attack, in order to defend Barack Obama.

    Look, I don’t think Obama believes what his pastor believes, but this line of defense is appalling and ridiculous. Obama screwed up here; anyone who has followed his campaign has known that his church could be a problem for him, and he certainly knew it. If you are going to run as the post-racial candidate, you can’t have a member of your advisory team spouting black nationalism.

    I’m sympathetic to the Pastor; he has reasons (some valid, some laughably invalid) for his positions. There are plenty of congregations with similar beliefs. Wright should never have been put in this position by Obama.

    Nevertheless, taking cheap shots at a guy who died 24 years ago does not help Obama out of this mess, and it speaks poorly of his supporters.

    Obama can still pull out of this if he apologizes, hedges about how aware he was of his pastor’s views, and gives a great speech tomorrow. If anyone can do it he can.

  14. Stuart Buck permalink
    March 17, 2008 10:04 pm

    Besides Franky Schaeffer’s obvious disloyalty and dishonesty, he has a strange view of how many evangelical churches have their own pastor:

    Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father’s footsteps) rail against America’s sins from tens of thousands of pulpits.

    So every right wing preacher in America has “tens” of pulpits? Since when?

  15. jpf permalink
    March 18, 2008 9:24 am

    Frank Schaeffer says his father called for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. I doubt it.

    If he did, if Obama’s minister did, so what! Why should this goverment be immune from the fate of all other human and earthly governments/institutions that have existed since time immemorial?

    “[W]hat country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787

  16. Blackadder permalink
    March 18, 2008 9:33 am

    Jpf,

    Quod licet jovi, non licet bovi.

  17. jpf permalink
    March 18, 2008 12:49 pm

    Blacky:

    Unfortunately, a piece of paper such as the Constitution, will never serve as an adequate method of preserving the rights of us “cows”. The only thing that will ever protect us and our rights from our “gods” or leaders is the threat of rebellion. To protect human rights and affectuate positive change peace resistance has sometimes worked, Ghandi and King, but more often than not it has taken more forceful action or resistance.

  18. Donald R. McClarey permalink
    March 18, 2008 1:05 pm

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

    Thus spake Thomas Jefferson whose sole military feat during the American Revolution was seeing how swiftly he could flee Richmond when a British raiding party approached during his tenure as governor of Virginia. If he had served some time in combat in the Continental Army I doubt if he would have spoken so glibly about the “blood of patriots”.

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