Regardless of whether there’s anything to the idea that a man should be judged by his enemies, I can’t think of anything more likely to get me to vote for Fred Thompson than this news:

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson has dealt a potentially devastating blow to Fred Thompson’s presidential aspirations, saying the former senator is not a Christian.
“Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for,” Dobson – considered the most politically powerful evangelical figure in the U.S. – said in a phone call to Dan Gilgoff, senior editor at U.S. News & World Report.
“[But] I don’t think he’s a Christian. At least that’s my impression.”

Until today, I hadn’t known that Jesus Christ put James Dobson in charge of the word bearing his name. It’s a remarkable assertion.
One I don’t think Thompson even needs to dignify with a reply, although his spokesman apparently has:

Thompson’s spokesman Mark Corallo took issue with the statement.
“Thompson is indeed a Christian,” he said. “He was baptized into the Church of Christ.”

In logic, James Dobson has as much right to opine on Fred Thompson’s Christianity as Fred Thompson does to opine on James Dobson’s. I don’t think Fred Thompson would do that, because he probably knows these things aren’t up to him to decide.
Not so Dobson. What I find particularly remarkable about his outburst is that he measures Christianity according to the loudness of the mouth:

Focus on Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger sought to clarify Dobson’s statement, telling Gilgoff that while Dobson didn’t believe Thompson belonged to a non-Christian faith, he “has never known Thompson to be a committed Christian – someone who openly talks about his faith.

In other words, Christians who simply don’t yell and brag about their religious beliefs are not Christians?
Since when?
I sincerely hope Dobson’s definition of Christianity does not become widely accepted.
For Christianity’s sake.
I’m no Christian theologian, but Dobson’s denunciation of Christians as “non-Christian” reminds me of the Sayeed Qutb approach of denouncing fellow Muslims as “un-Islamic.”
No, I don’t mean to say that Dobson is the moral equivalent of Qutb. But bad logic is bad logic, and by questioning Dobson’s Christianity, Dobson only invites others to question his.
Who knows? When all this religious test fervor is over, Thompson might end up looking like a better Christian than Dobson!
(Not that it’s up to me to decide such things….)
MORE: In Fred Thompson’s biography at the Washington Post, there’s the following simple entry:

Religion: Protestant

How did the Post find that out? Did they make it up?
What if it turns out that Fred Thompson indeed “openly talked” about his religion?
Wouldn’t that mean Dobson bore false witness?
MORE: Daily Kos analyst “liberalpragmatist” warns fellow leftists not to laugh at Fred Thompson, who “might well be the strongest candidate the Republicans could field“:

He comes off to most as more likable than Hillary Clinton. Unlike McCain, Giuliani or Romney, he’ll certainly out-Southern John Edwards. And he’ll score well on the gravitas score against either Edwards or Obama (less so for the latter).
A Thompson-led ticket could very easily solidify the warring GOP base and wrap up the entire South save a competitive-but-Republican-leaning Florida. Pair him with Tim Pawlenty, the Republican governor of Minnesota as his running mate, and he would be in a very strong general election position.
My guess is that Obama would be the strongest opponent for Thompson. But Thompson could conceivably beat Obama at the debates and could also appear more authoritative than Obama, something that will earn him points among many suburban swing voters and many seniors. Though Obama would likely win big among younger voters, the “age gap” could tip the scales towards Thompson.
I’m not writing off our chances against Thompson; I still think that, given the political climate, we’d be slight favorites. But we’d certainly have to fight hard for it. And though I like our chances against any of the current Republican top three, I’m nowhere near as certain about those chances against Thompson.
Let’s hope he doesn’t run, or that if he does, all the top money and operatives have already been snatched up and he gains no more traction than, say, Mike Huckabee.

Solidify the warring GOP base? Is Dobson against that too?
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds characterizes the Dobson pronouncement as “ANOTHER REASON TO LIKE FRED THOMPSON.”
What Dobson said is looking more and more like an endorsement.
(But I should be more careful with my sarcasm, as one commenter has already noticed that it’s an illness I need to heal. Sorry, but it’s the illness that drives this blog!)
UPDATE: Via Clayton Cramer, my attention was directed to this apparent qualification of James Dobson’s remarks:

“In his conversation with Mr. Gilgoff, Dr. Dobson was attempting to highlight that to the best of his knowledge, Sen. Thompson hadn’t clearly communicated his religious faith, and many evangelical Christians might find this a barrier to supporting him. Dr. Dobson told Mr. Gilgoff he had never met Sen. Thompson and wasn’t certain that his understanding of the
former senator’s religious convictions was accurate. Unfortunately, these qualifiers weren’t reported by Mr. Gilgoff. We were, however, pleased to learn from his spokesperson that Sen. Thompson professes to be a believer.

Well, did Dobson contact Gilgoff in the first place or not? Why all this convoluted lawyerlike language in a press release? Can’t Dobson speak for himself? It seems to me he either said “I don’t think he’s a Christian” or he didn’t.
The call to “secular media” Gilgoff in the first place followed by the lawyerlike “qualification” seems fishy to me. I think he wanted to either damage Thompson, or force him to grovel.