Francis Schaeffer was the father of the modern Christian Right. An world-renowned evangelical in the 1970's, he was mentor to young religious "upstarts" like Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson and James Dobson — men who, in the 1980's, would combine their religion with conservative politics and bring it to the masses in the exploding media age. Francis died in 1985.
His son, Frank Schaeffer, followed in his father's footsteps. He spoke before religious followers at anti-abortion rallies. Cal Thomas — then the vice president of the Moral Majority — called him "the best speaker in America".
You may wonder why you have never heard of Frank Schaeffer — why he didn't follow the path of Swaggart and Robertson and Falwell and Dobson to become (yet another) rightwing Christian demogogue.
The reason is because…. he developed a conscience.
He acknowledges that he was "part of the self-pitying, whining, evangelical/fundamentalist chorus", but that was then. Today, he is an outspoken critic of the evangelical right.
Since President Obama took office I've felt like the lonely — maybe crazy — proverbial canary in the coal mine… As a former right wing leader, who many years ago came to my senses and began to try to undo the harm the movement of religious extremism I helped build has done, I've been telling the media that we're facing a dangerous time in our history. A fringe element of the far right Republican Party seems it believes it has a license to incite threatening behavior in the name of God.
Read the fascinating interview.