Right Wing Watch is monitoring a growing rift between James Dobson, co-founder of Focus on the Family, and a faction of evangelical Christians over the U.S. presidential candidacy of Fred Thompson.

Thompson supports a constitutional amendment to allow states not to recognize other states’ gay marriages. In an e-mail to religious-right leaders that was leaked to the media, Dobson accused Thompson of being “opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage.”

In other words, Thompson’s antigay position wasn’t vicious enough for Dobson. Or, seen yet another way, those who differ in small ways from Dobson are somehow guilty of failing to “protect marriage.”

But Thompson already had the support of Richard Land, head of the public-policy section of the Southern Baptist Convention. Land called Dobson’s rant a “gross mischaracterization” of Thompson’s position and a “harsh and unwarranted” smear against a person of faith.

Dobson and his followers regularly mischaracterize gay people’s calls for justice and mercy, and they issue harsh and unwarranted smears against gay-tolerant people of faith as a proven method of religious-right fund-raising. Are some evangelicals finally waking up to Dobson’s greed and selfishness?

While a handful of evangelicals line up behind Thompson, Newt Gingrich hopes for Dobson’s blessing.

Addendum: According to People for the American Way, Gary Bauer has joined Land in corralling support for Thompson while quietly encouraging the unelectable Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee to withdraw.

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