A career out of criticizing your parents

Seems like this is pretty much what Frank Schaeffer has done. Here’s an article on it.

If a man will take his family to task publicly in this way, I think I know pretty much all I need to know about the man. It’s not like his father was Eichmann or Goebbels. His father took some controversial and conservative stands. But it was all within the pale.

It is true that Francis Schaeffer, IMHO, got a little bit too close to the edge for my tastes. Once I saw portions of his two films, I began to move away. He was a hero of mine in college. His books kept me sane as I took philosophy courses and debated theism and Christianity with my professors and fellow students, particularly his book Escape from Reason.

But then Schaeffer began to do what we all tend to do when the debate gets hot. He took the angle against his opponents, “if you believe this then you will also believe and do this” even if his opponents had demonstrated no such inclination. If someone was pro-abortion, then it would follow that they must ipso facto be supporters of eugenics and inclined to statism. Well, maybe there is some consistency in trajectory here. But the person does need to commit the crime before we arrest him.

Soon Schaeffer began to cordon off the church from the public square as a worthy debating partner. There was an incipient paranoia and suspicion that set up churches for conflict and hostility to the host culture. Schaeffer had been a way to engage culture and foster debate. Now it was all war. Well, maybe that was appropriate, but I didn’t think so at the time. I still don’t. Schaeffer was no longer seen as thoughtful but a screech. Everett Koop joined him and they both became so marginalized that they fit under the wings of Jerry Falwell, a man I respect on his own terms but a place where Koop and Schaeffer did not belong.

In the meantime, there’s Franky. He’s Ron Reagan’s twin. Two sons who have ridden their fathers’ coattails and made some real money by simply being a critic of their dads.

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