Frank Schaeffer

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Frank Schaeffer
Born (1952-08-03) August 3, 1952 (age 67)
Champéry, Switzerland[1]
Other namesFrancis Schaeffer[2]
Francis A. Schaeffer[2]
Franky Schaeffer[2]
Occupationauthor, film director, screenwriter and public speaker
Parent(s)Francis Schaeffer, Edith Seville

Frank Schaeffer (born August 3, 1952) is an American author, film director, screenwriter, and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels depicting life in a strict evangelical household including Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

While Schaeffer was a conservative, fundamentalist Christian in his youth, he has changed his views, becoming a liberal Democrat and a self-described Christian atheist.[3][4] He lives north of Boston.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Schaeffer converted from Presbyterian Calvinism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity in 1990[5] and gave lectures on his reasons for rejecting conservative Evangelical Protestantism. He has criticized the traditional positions of the Orthodox Churches on matters of sexual morality.[citation needed]

In 2006 Schaeffer published Baby Jack, a novel about a US Marine killed in Iraq. He is also known for his non-fiction books related to the Marine Corps, including Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps, co-written with his son John Schaeffer, and AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country, co-authored with former Bill Clinton presidential aide Kathy Roth-Douquet.

In 2007 Schaeffer published his autobiography, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, in which he goes into much more detail regarding what it was like to grow up in the Schaeffer family and around L'Abri. In 2011, he published another memoir, called Sex, Mom, and God, in which he discusses growing up with his parents and their role in the rise of the American religious right and argues that the root of the "insanity and corruption" of this force in US politics, and specifically of the religious right's position on abortion, is a fear of female sexuality.[6]

The two memoirs form the first and third book of what Schaeffer calls his "God trilogy". The second one, Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) (2010), describes his spirituality as it exists since abandoning conservative evangelicalism. The first half contains critiques of both the New Atheists and of Christian fundamentalism.

Starting with his 2014 book Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God, he has described himself as an atheist, saying that even though he attends church every weekend and prays,[3] "I do not always believe, let alone know, if God exists. I do not always know he, she, or it does not exist either, though there are long patches in my life when it seems God never did exist."[7] Schaeffer has stated that one of his goals of his book is to "unhook [young Evangelicals] from allegiance to the Bible."[3]

Political views[edit]

Schaeffer has gone from being a conservative Republican to becoming a liberal Democrat.[3][4]

When Schaeffer was young, he and his father attended meetings with Jack Kemp, as well as presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.[4] Schaeffer has stated that he helped produce Reagan's book "Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation."[4]

Schaeffer has written: "In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are (the theme I explore in my book Crazy For God)."[8] He added that he was a Republican until 2000, working for Senator John McCain in that year's primaries, but that after the 2000 election he re-registered as an independent.[8]

On February 7, 2008, Schaeffer endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, in an article entitled "Why I'm Pro-Life and Pro-Obama."[9] The next month, prompted by the controversy over remarks by the pastor of Obama's church, he wrote: "[W]hen my late father – Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer – denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr."[10]

After the 2008 Russian-Georgian War, Schaeffer described Russia as a resurgent Orthodox Christian power, paying back the West for its support of Muslim Kosovar secessionists against Orthodox Serbia.[11]

On October 10, 2008, a public letter to Senator John McCain and Sarah Palin from Schaeffer was published in the Baltimore Sun newspaper.[12] The letter contained an impassioned plea for McCain to arrest what Schaeffer perceived as a hateful and prejudiced tone of the Republican Party's election campaign. Schaeffer was convinced that there was a pronounced danger that fringe groups in America could be goaded into pursuing violence. "If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters... history will hold you responsible for all that follows."[12]

Soon after Obama's inauguration, Schaeffer criticized Republican leaders:

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. Today no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today's wholly negative Republican Party.[8]

In an interview on October 23, 2009, Schaeffer said his and his father's (Francis) position on abortion was co-opted by people looking for an issue that could shift political power within America.[13]

In 2012, Schaeffer criticized the Republican Party's pro-life position on abortion, something which received criticism from Rod Dreher and other conservative Christians.[14]



  • Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace, self-published, 2014. ISBN 978-1-49595501-3
  • And God Said, "Billy", Colorado: Outskirts Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-478-70001-2
  • Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics—and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway, Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-306-81928-5
  • Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-306-81854-7
  • How Free People Move Mountains: A Male Christian Conservative and a Female Jewish Liberal on a Quest for Common Purpose and Meaning (with Kathy Roth-douquet), New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-123352-4
  • Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, New York: Carol & Graf Publishers (September) 2007. ISBN 978-0-7867-1891-7
  • Baby Jack: A Novel, New York: Carol & Graf Publishers, (October) 2006.
  • AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service—and How It Hurts Our Country (with Kathy Roth-Douquet), New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-0-06-088859-6
  • Voices from the Front: Letters Home From American's Military Family, New York: Carol & Graf Publishers, 2004. (Third of Military Trilogy) ISBN 978-0-7867-1462-9
  • Faith of Our Sons: Voices From the American Homefront — The Wartime Diary of a Marine's Father, New York: Carol & Graf Publishers, 2004. (Second of Military Trilogy)
  • Zermatt: A Novel, New York: Carol & Graf Publishers, 2003. (Third of Calvin Becker Trilogy) ISBN 978-0-7867-1259-5
  • Keeping Faith: A Father–Son Story About Love and the U.S. Marine Corps (with son John Schaeffer), New York: Carol & Graf Publishers, 2002. (First of Military Trilogy)
  • Saving Grandma: A Novel, New York: Berkley Books, 1997. (Second of Calvin Becker Trilogy)
  • Letters to Father Aristotle, Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 1995.
  • Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion, Brookline, MA: Holy Cross, 1994.
  • Portofino: A Novel, New York: Macmillan, 1992 (first of Calvin Becker Trilogy) ISBN 978-0-7867-1716-3
  • Sham Pearls for Real Swine, Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1990-05-02.
  • Is Capitalism Christian? (editor), Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1985. ISBN 978-0-89107-362-8
  • Bad News for Modern Man as Franky Schaeffer, Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1984.
  • A Modest Proposal (with Harold Fickett), Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1984.
  • A Time for Anger: The Myth of Neutrality, Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982.
  • Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts, Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982.


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Schaeffer, Frank (2008). Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. Da Capo Press. p. 26. ISBN 0-306-81750-0.
  2. ^ a b c Francis Schaeffer on IMDb
  3. ^ a b c d Winston, Kimberly (June 13, 2014). "Frank Schaeffer, Former Evangelical Leader, Is A Self-Declared Atheist Who Believes In God". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Oppenheimer, Mark (August 19, 2011). "Son of Evangelical Royalty Turns His Back, and Tells the Tale". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  5. ^ McGrath, Alister E. (2013-11-01). "Chapter 5: Faith and Tradition". In McDermott, Gerald R. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology. Oxford Handbooks Series. Oxford University Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780199335992. Schaeffer converted to Greek Orthodoxy in 1990
  6. ^ Smiley, Jane (July 8, 2011). Jane Smiley reviews Frank Schaeffer's 'Sex, Mom, and God'. The Washington Post.
  7. ^ Piatt, Christian (May 13, 2014). "The God-Believing Atheist: A Q&A with Frank Schaeffer". Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Schaeffer, Frank (March 8, 2009). "Open Letter to the Republican Traitors (From a Former Republican)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  9. ^ Schaeffer, Frank (February 7, 2008). "Why I'm Pro-Life and Pro-Obama". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  10. ^ Schaeffer, Frank (March 16, 2008). "Obama's Minister Committed 'Treason' But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  11. ^ Schaeffer, Frank (August 12, 2008). "Why Russia Invaded Georgia: Payback Time from the Orthodox World to the West". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  12. ^ a b Schaeffer, Frank (October 10, 2008). "McCain's attacks fuel dangerous hatred". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  13. ^ "God In America - Interview: Frank Schaeffer". God in America. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  14. ^ Dreher, Rod (November 30, 2012). "Frank Schaeffer: Go To Hell, Pro-Lifers". The American Conservative. Retrieved April 2, 2016.

External links[edit]