Rod Dreher (born February 14, 1967) is an American writer and editor. He was a conservative editorial writer and a columnist for The Dallas Morning News, but departed that newspaper in late 2009 to affiliate with the John Templeton Foundation. He has also contributed in the past to The American Conservative and National Review. He wrote a blog previously called "Crunchy Con" at beliefnet.com, then simply called "Rod Dreher" with an emphasis on cultural rather than political topics.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in the small town of St. Francisville, Dreher holds a B.A. in journalism from Louisiana State University. Raised a Methodist, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1993. He wrote widely in the Catholic press, but covering the Roman Catholic Church’s child sex abuse scandal, starting in 2002, led him to question his Catholicism, and on October 12, 2006, he announced his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. Dreher is married and the father of three children. At the time, Dreher had argued that the scandal was not so much a "pedophile problem", but that the "sexual abuse of minors is facilitated by a secret, powerful network of gay priests" referred to as the Lavender Mafia.
On April 10, 2010, Dreher blogged about the abuse scandals (italics in the original):
They all did it – by which I mean, virtually the entire hierarchy is complicit to a greater or lesser degree in shuffling child-molesting priests around, or keeping them in some way in a position to commit their crimes. Why? Clericalism. The clerical class is what mattered most to these people, not the children and their families, to whom they were functionally indifferent... if anybody thinks Pope Benedict should resign, they should sober up and understand that there is almost certainly nobody under him who is untainted by this thing. This was the way the hierarchy operated for a very long time. At least this current pope seems to have at long last been enlightened about the scope of this catastrophe. But he is not doing enough to make it right. What is it going to take?
Dreher has written about religion, politics, film and culture in National Review and National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, Touchstone, Men’s Health, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He was a film reviewer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and chief film critic for The New York Post. His commentaries have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and he has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Court TV and other television networks.
In 2002, Dreher wrote an essay in National Review that explored a subcategory of American conservatism he defined as "granola conservatism", whose adherents he described as "crunchy cons." He defined these individuals as traditionalist conservatives who believed in environmental conservation, frugal living, and the preservation of traditional family values. They also express skepticism about aspects of free market capitalism and they are usually religious (typically traditionalist Roman Catholics or conservative Protestants). Four years later, Dreher published a book that expanded upon the themes of this manifesto. This book was Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party).
Dreher is known for writing about what he calls the "Benedict Option". This is named after Benedict of Nursia, and uses a phrase from Alasdair MacIntyre's 1981 book After Virtue. It is the idea that those who want to live with traditional morality should separate themselves to some degree from mainstream society and try to live in intentional communities or other subcultures.
On January 1, 2010, Dreher announced on his blog that he was starting work as publications director for the John Templeton Foundation. On August 20, 2011, Dreher announced on Twitter that he was leaving the Templeton Foundation in order to return to full-time writing. In 2013, Dreher published a book titled The Little Way of Ruthie Leming about his childhood in Louisiana and his sister's battle with cancer.
- I'm leaving newspapering – but not journalism
- Dreher, Rod (2006-06-05) All-American Anarchists, The American Conservative
- Web page titled "Our Speakers:/Rod Dreher" at the website of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau, retrieved March 18, 2009
- "Welcome to the new Rod Dreher blog". Rod Dreher.
- "Crunchy Con’s Conversion Crisis". Journey To Orthodoxy.
- The Gay Question: Amid the Catholic Church’s current scandals, an unignorable issue
- Dreher, Rod (April 10, 2010). "Ratzinger: "Bishop, take your time with that pedophile"". Beliefnet.com. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- Dreher, Rod (12 July 2002). "Birkenstocked Burkeans". National Review Online. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Crunchy Culture: Author Rod Dreher Has Defined A Political Hybrid: The All-Natural, Whole-Grain Conservative", by Hank Stuever. The Washington Post, May 3, 2006
- Linker, Damon (19 May 2015). "The Benedict Option: Why the religious right is considering an all-out withdrawal from politics". The Week. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- DeVille, Adam A. J. (14 July 2015). "Would Alasdair MacIntyre Live in a "Benedict Option" Community?". Catholic World Report. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Dreher, Rod (1 January 2010). "The last days of Crunchy Con". Archived from the original on 2010-02-06.
- "Rod Dreyer". Twitter. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
- "The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life: Rod Dreher: 9781455521913: Amazon.com: Books". amazon.com.
- Moosewood Republicans New York Times Book Review
- God, Guts, and Granola A critical review of Dreher's "Crunchy Cons" by Washington Times' editor R.S. McCain.
- Huh? Going After the Crunchies A critical review of "Crunchy Cons" by Jonah Goldberg of National Review.
- Hold the Granola A critical review of "Crunchy Cons" by Gilbert Meilaender in First Things.
- Has neoconservatism passed its 'Best-Before' date? By Russ Kuykendall A review of "Crunchy Cons".