Thomas, Cal 1942–
Thomas, Cal 1942–
Born December 2, 1942; married; children: four. Education: Earned degree from American University.
Syndicated columnist and journalist. National Broadcasting Company (NBC), copy boy, started in 1961, later became radio and television reporter; Fox News Network, New York, NY, host of After Hours, then political commentator. Previously worked with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), CNBC, and NBC. Military service: U.S. Army, worked for the Armed Forces Radio.
(With Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr.) Target-group Evangelism, Broadman Press (Nashville, TN), 1975.
A Freedom Dream, Word Books (Waco, TX), 1977.
Public Persons and Private Lives: Intimate Interviews, Word Books (Waco, TX), 1979.
Book Burning, Crossway Books (Westchester, IL), 1983.
Liberals for Lunch, Crossway Books (Westchester, IL), 1985.
Occupied Territory, Wolgemuth & Hyatt (Brentwood, TN), 1987.
The Death of Ethics in America, Word Books (Waco, TX), 1988.
Uncommon Sense: A Layman's Briefing Book on the Issues, Wolgemuth & Hyatt (Brentwood, TN), 1990.
(With others) Gays in the Military: The Moral and Strategic Crisis, general edited by George Grant, Adroit Press (Franklin, TN), 1993.
The Things that Matter Most, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
(With Ed Dobson) Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America?, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1999, published as Blinded by Might: Why the Religious Right Can't Save America, 2000.
The Wit & Wisdom of Cal Thomas, Promise Press (Uhrichsville, OH), 2001.
(With Bob Beckel) Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War that Is Destroying America, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.
Author of a biweekly column for the Los Angeles Times, beginning in 1984. Contributor to USA Today.
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist and journalist. Born on December 2, 1942, he started working in mass media a teen. By the age of eighteen, Thomas was working as a copy boy with NBC and eventually worked his way up to radio and television reporter after graduating from American University and serving in the U.S. Army, working for the Armed Forces Radio. After working with PBS and CNBC, he settled with Fox News Network, initially working as the host of After Hours, then as political commentator and panelist. In 1984 Thomas began writing a biweekly column for the Los Angeles Times, which was eventually syndicated to nearly 500 periodicals. As a writer, Thomas also contributes to USA Today. Joseph Sobran, writing an article in the National Review, observed that "nobody shares the great American faith in books more fervently than Cal Thomas," adding that he "has a sharp eye for irony and a sharp wit to match."
Thomas published The Things that Matter Most in 1994. The book gives Thomas's conservative views on American society, noting in particular the education system, censorship, reproductive rights, mass media, human rights groups, and liberalism.
Booklist contributor Ray Olson found that many of Thomas's portrayals in the book "are factually and intellectually false." However, Olson conceded that the author "is much better when he argues not historically but as a moralist about contemporary events and popular culture." Steve Forbes, writing in Forbes, called The Things that Matter Most a "book of bite-sized jeremiads." A contributor to Publishers Weekly lamented that only "through his conception of American society might this book be considered anything but dogmatism."
In 1999 Thomas published Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America? with Ed Dobson. The book was reprinted the following year as Blinded by Might: Why the Religious Right Can't Save America. The authors argue that the Religious Right and its supporters have gone astray from the message of using religion through politics to fix problems that exist in the country. Thomas and Dobson propose that the movement's leaders need to redefine what it is they seek by their involvement in politics and move away from Washington, taking their message and services to the people directly.
Booklist contributor Olson found that "Thomas and Dobson's reconsideration of what concerned conservative Christians should be about is good counsel for them and good news for everyone." Bruce L. Shelley, writing in Christianity Today, remarked that "what Dobson and Thomas seem to decry most are political name-calling, political methods like misleading fund-raising, and political threats aimed at political parties. These, they feel, are something less than Christian." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that Blinded by Might provides "a glimpse into the workings of the Religious Right as well as strong comments on the relationship between religion and politics in America."
Richard Parker, writing in Sojourners, claimed: "Why political conservatives should worship at the altar of The Market and embrace the God of the Invisible Hand is no surprise. But why Christians, conservative or otherwise, should ignore the most elemental reading of the gospels and the prophets is. Honest men Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson may be in Blinded by Might, yet, sadly, in Christian terms they remain still blind, it seems to me, to the greater right—and greater light—that lies beyond the very question of might itself." Keith J. Pavlischek, reviewing the book in the Christian Century, concluded that the book "does not display the political maturity one might expect of Christians involved in political life for almost twenty years. The book is little more than a reaction against an original reaction. Thomas and Dobson remain at least as intellectually and morally culpable as the leaders of the Christian Right whom they criticize. To the extent that the evangelical audience they intend to reach hears this as a call to withdraw from the work of politics and hence a summons to withdraw from the Lord's call to do justice, they will be even more culpable." Joseph L. Conn, writing in Church & State, stated: "Make no mistake: this book is not for everyone. Thomas and Dobson are ultraconservative on a broad range of religious and … political concerns. Thomas' vicious rhetoric about public schools … is particularly repugnant." Conn conceded, however, that "these men have performed a significant service in writing this book."
With Bob Beckel, Thomas published Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War that Is Destroying America in 2007. The account gives both conservative (from Thomas) and liberal (from Beckel) viewpoints on the conflicts between the political left and right edges of American society. Instead of debating the issues, however, the pair aim to encourage the average citizen to support issues that benefit the majority of the population and move toward a shared political center.
A contributor to Kirkus Reviews described the book as "two partisans [who] offer a timely and useful analysis of America's polarized politics." The same contributor concluded by calling Common Ground "a welcome invitation to civility and reason." A contributor to Publishers Weekly stated the authors' political debates are "lucid" and "refreshing, but their proposals are too utopian to realistically be widely embraced."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 1994, Ray Olson, review of The Things that Matter Most, p. 1403; January 1, 1999, Ray Olson, review of Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America?, p. 791.
Christian Century, May 19, 1999, Keith J. Pavlischek, review of Blinded by Might, p. 586.
Christianity Today, September 6, 1999, Bruce L. Shelley, review of Blinded by Might, p. 54.
Church & State, June 1, 1999, Joseph L. Conn, review of Blinded by Might, p. 20.
Forbes, September 12, 1994, Steve Forbes, review of The Things that Matter Most, p. 26.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War that Is Destroying America.
Library Journal, April 1, 1999, Richard S. Watts, review of Blinded by Might, p. 104.
National Review, May 27, 1983, Joseph Sobran, review of Book Burning, p. 637.
Publishers Weekly, April 18, 1994, review of The Things that Matter Most, p. 55; February 22, 1999, review of Blinded by Might, p. 83; August 13, 2007, review of Common Ground, p. 56.
Sojourners, November 1, 1999, Richard Parker, review of Blinded by Might, p. 57.
Cal Thomas Home Page, http://www.calthomas.com (June 15, 2008).
Keppler Speakers Web site,http://www.kepplerspeakers.com/ (June 15, 2008), author profile.