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Frankie Schaeffer: Are We Really That Unpatriotic?

Frankie Schaeffer evidently doesn’t like some of the things some of us have been saying about Obama and patriotism:

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.

My guess is that, if he bothers to poke around this site (and especially this,) he’ll probably come to the same conclusion about me too.  But he needs to consider a few things.

The first is that a Christian’s first allegiance is to God, not his or her country or any other human institution.  Orthodox caesaro-papism (Frankie Shaeffer is now Orthodox) doesn’t change that.  (And that can get ugly, too.)

The second is that the whole “religious right” business, for its abysmal failure in “bringing America back to God,” has at least put the stall on many of the uglier forms of statism that we have seen in, say, countries that claim to be based on Marxist-(fill in the blank) principles.

Third, with Mike Huckabee’s failure, Evangelicals don’t have a “dog in the hunt” this year.  So Schaeffer and others of his idea can rest easier.  Evangelicals will have to vote defensively this year, which I can live with, if others can’t.

As far as Francis Schaeffer (Frankie’s dad) is concerned, the only book of his I have read is Escape from Reason.  I don’t like Schaeffer’s Reformed theology, which is why I haven’t gone into his works further.


3 Replies to “Frankie Schaeffer: Are We Really That Unpatriotic?”

  1. Shame on Frankie Schaeffer for blaspheming his father when he is no longer here to defend himself. Frankie needs serious help and much prayer. May he ask for God’s forgiveness in repentance and may he be forgiven.


  2. I’m not sure I’d refer Frankie’s treatment of his father’s memory as “blasphemy” but it’s pretty rough.

    It’s always tricky to properly represent your ancestors’ positions you don’t agree with. I’ve had to wrestle with this with my own, especially at My procedure is to present what they did in at least a neutral light, make your objections succinct, and move on.

    I think Sondra’s right in that Frankie has gone far beyond that.

    Fortunately, Francis Schaeffer left a large body of writings with which he can defend himself. What we need to do is to examine his life and actions, compare them with Frankie’s, and decide for ourselves. My guess is that Frankie fears the results of that decision more than anything else.


  3. Francis Schaeffer’s Christian Manifesto is not “America-bashing” at all. It did not advocate violence, but it did systematically present the history of Christians in a way to show that it is right and the domain of Christians to speak up against evil as defined by the Bible. That includes when lawmakers sanction evil. Because we participate in choosing our leaders, we share responsibility for what they do. I wonder how Frankie drifted so far.


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