At Front Page Mag, Mark Tooley has written a pretty scathing critique of the work of Franky Schaeffer (he now goes by “Frank Schaeffer”), the son of the late theologian/Christian cultural critic Francis Schaeffer. The piece is tough on Franky, but it does remind us that left-wingers can be just as “fundamentalist” as right-wingers. Here is a taste:
Schaeffer’s knowledge of American history seems mostly confined to the worst analysis of Harold Zinn. America was always rotten, based on a “Calvinistic theology of retribution and hate” in the north and slavery in the south. “We never had this country,” Schaeffer concludes, without defining “we,” which presumably includes himself and a few other isolated, noble souls.
Schaeffer’s father, a Presbyterian theologian and commentator, strongly critiqued America’s failures. But he did so with hope of renewal, based on God’s love, and knowing that not all dead white men in American history were necessarily evil. The younger Schaeffer, who’s largely lost his faith, of course offers no hope because he doesn’t really believe in it. He offers only fury, smugness, and despair. The father believed all of humanity is sinful but God offers redemption. The son, so obsessed in rejecting his father’s faith, seems to locate evil only in people identifiable with his father: virtually all Americans, but especially Christians, conservatives, gun owners, and “white trash.”
The older Schaeffer, who loved rather than hated, is still revered by millions even decades after his death. The son, although on MSNBC and in The Huffington Post, will be mercifully forgotten, unless, we can pray, he too seeks redemption. In the spirit of this season, let’s hope he does.