But linking Rushdoony to present-day evangelicals involves connecting a dubious series of dots. In the case of the New Yorker’s Bachmann profile, the dots included the fact that she attended law school at Oral Roberts University, where professors taught her to seek “legal means and political means” to change laws that conflicted with biblical values. It also pointed to her admiration for the evangelical theologian and bestselling author Francis Schaeffer, who died in 1984. No matter that Schaeffer specifically condemned Rushdoony’s proposal that Old Testament law should govern America.
What Douthat does is tear apart the bulk of Lizza’s conspiracy theorizing, showing that he even gets Schaeffer entirely wrong. (…)
Unlike Lizza, Douthat’s blog gives his readers Schaeffer’s actual views to consider, not a parody of them. The man was closer in thought to Thoreau or Martin Luther King, Jr., than to any advocate of armed terrorism. He notes that most New Yorker readers take Lizza’s article at face value, and since they know nothing about evangelical thought, believe most of what he says. If Bachmann’s mentors are shown to be essentially nutty zealots, then she too must be the same.
He shows that Lizza incorrectly tied her and Schaeffer to a Christian Reconstructionist named R.J. Rushdoony, who really does favor a Christian theocracy, although even Schaeffer dismissed him as an advocate of “bad theology and bad politics alike.”