December 3rd, 2007
06:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Thompson: 'The Lord is OK with me'

Watch Thompson direct his fire at rivals Romney and Huckabee.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson Monday said he didn't need to apologize for his faith, despite concerns from Christian conservatives that he does not express his religious beliefs enough on the campaign trail.

"As far as faith is concerned, I have not made any secret as to where I am. I am a Christian," Thompson said, noting that, while he doesn't attend church while at home in McLean, Virgina, he did attend church with his mother when he visits Tennessee. "I have no apologies to make about my religion or my relationship to Jesus Christ or God."

In a column in USA Today Monday, David Domke, a University of Washington journalism professor, said Thompson has not done better in the polls because "he lacks a religious niche" and "Christian conservatives have not been amused or enthused" by his lack of church attendance and the few times he talks of his faith on the campaign trail.

Thompson dismissed those comments, saying "I'm OK with the Lord, and the Lord is OK with me as far as I can tell."

In the wide-ranging interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the Tennessee senator also dismissed recent surveys out of Iowa and New Hampshire that show he has slipped significantly behind the frontrunners.

“I've been running consistently second in the nation-wide polls," the Tennessee senator said. "I've been running pretty consistently close in South Carolina, so our campaign is where we need to be."

"I think a lot of people expected me to blow a lot of people away when I got in the race. I knew better than that, and of course it hasn't happened," Thompson continued.

Full story

Catch the full interview on the Situation Room at 4, 5, and 6 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa • New Hampshire • South Carolina
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Mike, New Braunfels, Texas

    Everyone don't forget that while our Constitution dictates that no religious test is officially mandated for a President, each of us individually can perform whatever test we want for whomever we want to vote for. Many people in this country place great value on someone with the general integrity and morale character of a Christian. Others may place value on other religious affiliations or lack thereof. Still others may place a test on race or gender. The key thing is that each of us can personnally place whatever tests we want on a candidate. It just happens that in the case of the U.S. a majority of the population is affiliated with Judeo-Christian face, it is these values upon which our country was founded.

    December 3, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Bill, Alabama

    Fred Thompson has to learn that in order to satisfy the Republican religious right, you have to be the "baddest terriorism fighter" and the "biggest Bible thumper" in town. They won't accept anything else.

    December 3, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. m. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Enough Already!! Grilling a politician about his or her religious beliefs and making a decision as to their ability to run the government based on that is at best twisted logic. Why don't these evangelicals ask real questions that enable one to glean a person's qualifications to run a local, state or federal government rather than id they were trying to become a deacon of their local church? If they did perhaps we would get better qualified governmental administrators than the group of incompetents that the religious right has put into office over the last 8 years. Fred's correct in asserting that he's OK with his God and that's where it should end.

    December 3, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. lava, North Pole

    Who wrote this article? A first grader? It's full of mistakes: "said he he didn't need", "while he doesn't not attend church", "he talk of his faith".

    As for Fred – yeah, right you are doing "very well".

    December 3, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    I heard he was a Mormon. Or maybe a Muslim.

    December 3, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Pat Rushing, Atlanta, GA

    How sad that Thompson felt the need to have to trot out some bogus public declaration of his faith to satisfy the dolts he must please to win primaries.

    I don't care for Thompson, but am automatically suspicious of anyone eager to flash their "Christian" bonafides for public approval.

    Thompson, whatever his other assets or defects, is pretty much like Reagan on this – a non-church-goer who talked in general terms about God and faith. Bush was far more "religious" than Reagan, a church-goer, but as an old-line "high church" Episcopalian never generated much heat with the religious wing-nuts – who loved Reagan, oddly enough.

    But since Bush, they're spoiled, and think every candidate must genuflect before their "Mecca" and use the right lingo. What a crock. And I'm a "born again" Christian, by the way.

    Maybe we'll stop getting phonies in political office when we stop demanding they lie to us. We get what we deserve.

    December 3, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Matengula, Houston, Texas

    CNN – please hire professional writers for your web postings too. Someone with a high school diploma could write better than this posting. A quick job like this which clearly was not checked by any one is not respectful of your readership. I am embarrassed to look for news from CNN now – poor grammar, spelling errors and just bad English.

    December 3, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Lisa, Kansas

    With everyone wanting to take God out of everything, why is this an issue? Why should he defend his religion to the people when they won't defend their own? Going to church doesn't make you a christian. How you live your life (by living by God's word) and the good things you do while you on are this earth, makes you a christian.

    December 3, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Joe

    As a republican, I am a bit unhappy about what we have here. I'm not enthusiastic about Giuliani, he makes me feel like a hypocrite for being anti-Clinton. I'm not enthusiastic about Romney, he has truly flip-flopped horribly. I'm not enthusiastic about Thompson, because, his greatest attraction is that he isn't Giuliani or Romney. Huckabee is interesting, but I have real problems with this ideas on taxes and what it means. Ron Paul is also interesting, but too extreme.

    That leaves me with one candidate. The candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton. So, all I know for the moment is that I'm voting in the democratic primary for Barack Obama. I hope republicans here will listen. Try Thanks.

    December 3, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. claudia austin tx

    dear fred,
    the best thing you can do for yourself is to continue NOT attending "church"

    doubt my word for it? take a look at at bible-truths. com if you really want to make a difference.


    December 3, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Mike, New Braunfels, Texas

    Satan himself could run a good government. I'm sure he has a well defined plan for American and has very strong stands on all the issues. Therefore, I for one am interested in a person's religious beliefs, although it won't necessarily qualify them or disqualify them for the office of President. It's just one of many things to consider when deciding on my candidate. It's important to me, and to many other Americans.

    December 3, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Tippy, Weed calif

    we need to get this God thing out of

    Remember we are making inroads with
    teaching people it just a big lie

    December 3, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. THOMAS BILLIS las vegas nv

    The Christy boys are at it again.If the Bible reads the way these guys interpert it Jesus would have been selling space to the money changers in the Temples.It is not only that they make a mockery of religion they are running for President in a country that is based on man made laws not the Bible.If they win do they get annointed or sworn in?

    December 3, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Joan, Cincinnati, OH

    Why does it matter what religion this man is???! If he is the best person (most qualified/most pertinent experience) for the job, then that should be enough. Right now we've got a President who believes God guides his decisions, and he's turned out to be the worst United States leader ever! Please vote based on qualifications, not on whether the person sits on a pew Sundays in a church.

    December 3, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Mike Mazz, Long Island NY

    The fact that there is no such thing as god and it is all just a fable...makes me think less of him just for the fact that he mentions it. My guess is that he doenst believe really but he has to say something to make the crazy uneducated religious right like him

    December 3, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Jeff Flowers, Orange Park FL

    I don't want to vote democrat but the GOP has become a party ruled by religious lunitics. Sometimes it feels like they are trying to decide who should run for pope instead of who should run for president.

    December 3, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Mark W, Dallas Texas

    On this issue, as well as Romney's Mormonism, several have reminded readers that Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America states "No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office title."

    They go on to say that because of that candidates should not be expected to explain their religiosity. However, just because there is no Constitutional "test" does not mean that voters cannot consider religion. And, clearly, many do. Therefore, any candidate must approach the religion questions frankly, just as they will probably face questions about their business dealings, personal finances, marriage, and other personal issues.

    Personally, I'm baffled why its so important to so many folks that our President needs to talk about Jesus so much, but clearly it is important. I expect that will change in time.

    December 3, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Mike, Epworth Iowa

    How about calling him Fred Thompson, Mr. Thompson, Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, Former Senator Fred Thompson, anything but Law and Order Star. By emphasizing his current occupation, your implication to me is that he is a TV star and knows nothing of politics. Whether or not you or I support him and his efforts, you should give him equal treatment as to the other candidates. Give the gentleman credit for his legal and Senate background and refer to him properly.

    December 3, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    The Lord may be, but I'm not, so go take a nap, and leave the election to the sane people.

    December 3, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. Steve, Jasper, AR

    I'm tired of the prevalent idea in this country that only a Christian can have morals. I guess Giuliani gets a pass as "America's Mayor". The Republican claim to ownership of the Christian litmus test is passe. I'd rather have a president with real morals and empathy for their fellow humans than one that wears their religion on their sleeve, talks a good line and is fake like Bush.

    December 3, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. aj huntington ny

    c'mon lava you know that it's a low budget operation in most newsrooms and barely- out- of- teenage years interns do most of the grunt work and as is apparently the case here, blog work

    December 3, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  22. Anne Detroit, MI

    Fred is a non-factor in my future voting leanings, but one thing for certain. I don't hear the regular left-leaning commenters defending his right to have any religion he wants, they way they do, say the Muslims who are incarcerated in Gitmo . For the Islamo terrorists, well, we'd better be tolerant and accomodating, but an American running for office? NO, we will not tolerate the slightest hint of Christian belief!

    December 3, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Don, Houston

    So why do so called Christians love Ronald Reagan so much? He never went to church. In fact he rarely saw his kids or his grand children. So much for family and Christian values being better than everyone elses. Bunch of Hypocrites.

    December 3, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Carlos E Casuso

    It is very sad to hear a candidate for the Presidency of this great nation justify extreme methods of "interrogation" if it is commensurate with the faced threat. Mr Thompson: We as a nation can never justify torture.

    December 3, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  25. Rick, Sioux Falls, SD

    Why does CNN still call Thompson a "Law and Order" star? Please refer to him by his rightful title: "Hunt for Red October Star." Otherwise, just call him candidate or senator. Let's raise the level of reporting, CNN.

    December 3, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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