Presidential Candidate with Church Ties Drops Out of Race

By Associate Editor Joe May

Fred ThompsonThe only U.S. presidential candidate with ties to the Lord’s church has ended his candidacy.

Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson announced Tuesday on his website that after a poor showing in Republican primaries, he is dropping his bid to be the second person affiliated with the church to occupy the White House.

“Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States,” the attorney turned actor turned politician turned actor again stated. “I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort.”

Thompson served one term as senator from his home state of Tennessee. He became well-known during the 1970s Watergate hearings for asking the question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” That query brought about the revelation that then-President Richard M. Nixon was taping all the goings-on in the Oval Office. Those tapes eventually led to the president’s downfall.

Thompson’s roots as a Christian became well-known when “Focus on the Family” founder and Nazarene Church member James Dobson said in a broadcast that he did not believe the former senator, who played District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC’s “Law and Order” was actually a Christian.

That prompted Thompson’s spokesperson to reply that the then-potential candidate was indeed a Christian having been “baptized into the church of Christ,” according to media reports at the time.

While the idea of a Thompson candidacy invigorated the Republican Party in mid-2007 when the former senator hinted he might be considering seeking the office, his perceived lack of action and energy once he announced soon caused most would-be supporters to look elsewhere for a candidate.

Thompson, who is divorced and remarried to a younger woman by whom he has two children, is apparently not active in the Lord’s church, though he does attend services with his elderly mother, who is a member of the body in Brentwood, Tenn.

The first and last member of the Lord’s church to occupy the White House was James Garfield, who studied at the feet of Alexander Campbell and taught at his college. He was also the first minister to become president. Woodrow Wilson, a Presbyterian preacher, was the only other evangelist to occupy the office.

Ronald Reagan was raised in the Disciples of Christ, but left that faith in adulthood. Lyndon B. Johnson was also a member of the DOC and some scholars have insisted that Abraham Lincoln was secretly baptized by a preacher in the Lord’s church, though that theory has largely been discredited.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

8 thoughts on “Presidential Candidate with Church Ties Drops Out of Race

  1. I’m trying not to be judgmental here, but it bothers me to see Senator Thompson described as a saint. True, he was sanctified once when he came up out of the water of baptism, but his recent life provides no evidence that he is trying to be a faithful Christian.

    Many of us in the church seem to have a strange fascination with celebrity connections. Some of us seem to delight in talking about all the actors, singers, politicians, athletes, coaches, etc. who are “members of the church.” That is an innocent pastime when the individuals are active, faithful Christians. It seems a little twisted, though, to glorify our connections with people who are not walking in the light.

  2. “The only U.S. presidential candidate with “ties” to the Lord’s church has ended his candidacy.

    Thompson’s spokesperson to reply that the then-potential candidate was indeed a Christian having been “baptized into the church of Christ,” according to media reports at the time.

    Thompson, who is divorced and remarried to a younger woman by whom he has two children, is apparently not active in the Lord’s church, though he does attend services with his elderly mother, who is a member of the body in Brentwood, Tenn.”

    These quotes from the original article did not paint Fred Thompson as an active member of the church. Sadly, he appears not to be. However, he does have “ties” and that may mean that he has some knowledge of the scriptures and might have been a good president.

  3. As a preacher I am appalled at this man being referred to as a saint. While I supported his candiancy based on his politicial viewpoints being conservative, his life style is not the faithful lifestyle God demands of His children. Just being baptized “into the church of Christ” is not enough to make one a saint. And one is not baptized into the church. One is baptized for remission of sins, then God adds that person to His church. We are baptized into Christ. Calling this man a saint with his lack of faithfulness to God and His word is akin to teaching once saved always saved. We know the Bible teaches one must be baptized and remain faithful in order to enter into heaven. That would include not being unscripturally remarried as he has appeared to have done. He may be a conservative in his political views I have not seen him being a strong defender of the faith in his teachings or lifestyle.

  4. I agree with the above comment by John Gaines.

    I personally think that Mike Huckabee (a former baptist pastor) exhibits more Christian values than the “member of the church,” Fred Thompson, who seemed to get so much press recently on church of Christ affiliated messageboards and news sites. “Brother” Thompson never had my support. Now that he is out of the race, I personally hope that his Christian supporters will now move toward supporting a candidate who really does not separate his faith from his politics.

    “Ye shall know them…”

  5. The word “saint” was used in the report merely to designate his affiliation with the church, just as “Christian” may be used of one who does not necessarily live up to the name. The report did indicate that Thompson was not active as a Christian. But since it has caused misunderstanding, the paragraph has been modified for greater accuracy.

    We thank the readers for their comments.

  6. This Paragraph in the article seems to be a bit misleading:

    Thompson served one term as senator from his home state of Tennessee. He became well-known during the 1970s Watergate hearings for asking the question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” That query brought about the revelation that then-President Richard M. Nixon was taping all the goings-on in the Oval Office. Those tapes eventually led to the president’s downfall.

    It seems to imply Thompson was a Senator in the 1970’s. He served as Senator from TN from 1994-2002. In The Watergate Hearing he served as Minority Counsel and is given credit for supplying Senator Howard Baker the question “What did the President know and when did he Know it?”

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