Once upon a time, long before he became Little Joe on the Ponderosa or a dad on Little House On the Prairie, Michael Landon starred in the forgettable I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Mercifully, he rarely referred to that role and definitely did not continuously relive that role in the years to come. In stark contrast, the perpetually outraged Frank Schaeffer continues to relive a role he insists on boring the world with: I Was a Teenage Rightwinger.
Schaeffer has not only spread ennui upon the land with articles on this worn theme, but also bores us to tears with memoirs and books on the same topic of being brought up by evangelical parents as a "rightwinger" until one day, HALLELUJAH, he saw the light to become a loony leftwinger. His stubborn insistence on reciting the same stale tale over and over and over again makes reading anything he writes feel like déjà vu all over again < /Yogi_Berra>. The most recent examples of I Was a Teenage Righwinger happened on the pages of Salon in both December and February with My horrible right-wing past: Confessions of a one-time religious right icon and I was a right-wing sidekick: What I discovered working for the anti-woman right. Since Schaeffer rigidly sticks with his shtick in his writings, they are fairly interchangeable so just to distinguish his December I Was a Teenage Rightwinger from the February version, the latter will be placed in italics:
I am a white, privileged, well-off, 61-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. The New York Times profiled my change of heart saying that to my former friends I’m considered a “traitorous prince” since my religious-right family was once thought of as “evangelical royalty.”
I was part of the right’s early antiabortion, anti-woman movement back in the 1970s and 1980s. I became the sidekick to my evangelist parents who were instrumental in founding the religious right. Then I left the movement, and as the New York Times notes, was branded a traitor. But unlike many Americans, I know where “these people” come from. I was one of them.
Can the December Frank sue the February Frank for plagiarism?
We were leaders participating in various meetings with Congressman Jack Kemp, Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr., when the unholy marriage between the Republican Party and the Evangelical Reconstructionist-infected “pro-life” community was gradually consummated. Dad and I — as did many other evangelical leaders like Jerry Falwell — met one on one or in groups with key members of the Republican leadership quite regularly to develop a “pro-life strategy” for rolling back Roe v. Wade.
Pride was one of my mother’s followers and began to write me fan letters in the 1970s after I’d emerged as a successful rabble-rousing antiabortion leader. By then I was doing the rounds, speaking at the biggest and most politicized churches of the day, including Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Baptist. I was even pursuing my own Evangelical media side project: the business of publishing and promoting far-right books.
A key part of the Schaeffer shtick is to make sure his audience knows how "important" he was.
You see, only in the Mafia, the British Royal family and big time American religion is a nepotistic rise to power seen as normal. And I was good at it. And I hated it while hypocritically profiting from it — until, that is, in the mid-1980s, I quit. These days I describe myself as an atheist who believes in God.
On the plus side, I’ve distanced myself from my shameful past and offered an alternative to this horrible kind of religion in a book excoriating this movement, “Why I am an Atheist who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace.” The bad news is that what I helped start is still shaping American politics.
Could you tell us yet again how you are an "atheist who believes in God?" More accurately, Schaeffer is a bore who believes in recycling.
Stand by for another tedious chapter in Frank Schaeffer's I Was a Teenage Rightwinger. Coming all too soon at a blog near you. Yawn!