Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, was born in Vinita, Oklahoma and was raised there, in North Texas, and in Kansas.
McGraw is Christian, but rather than talk about it, he sort of plays it down. When asked how he felt about people celebrating Christmas in a non-religious way, he said,
I believe that it’s each to his own. I mean, it’s Christmas in my house. You know, we’re a Christian home and raising a Christian family. For those who haven’t been, do what works for you. I think you got to all get along.
And when a distressed woman on his show asked for advice because her husband had turned into an atheist, Dr. Phil didn’t exactly embrace atheism, but he wasn’t offended by it either. And he figured if the woman prayed enough, the husband would see the light eventually:
Don’t judge him about it; don’t cut him off; don’t be angry with him; don’t criticize his position. Because that’s not the Christian way. The Christian way is to be accepting and to be patient. And just pray that the time will come when God will move his heart.
McGraw also uses some Christian concepts on his show in an abstract way. In an interesting essay, two sociology professors draw parallels between The Dr. Phil Show and a religious conversion–McGraw, of course, is the preacher-type with “religious-like authority.”
Even though Dr. Phil is seemingly accepting about others’ opinions on religion, he seems to be certain that Christianity is the way, and the truth, and the life.
McGraw is pretty vague on his political beliefs–he understandably doesn’t want to alienate any viewers–but it’s likely that he’s a Republican. He appears on several lists of Republican celebrities, and that’s probably because he donated to a Republican candidate in 1995. He has made no other contributions before or since.
He did, however, have Democrat Elizabeth Warren on his show, and even said about her: “We are so like-minded!” Granted, it was before she ran for the Senate, but she was still a strong voice in opposition to the excesses of Wall Street. But McGraw’s support of Warren was as a conservative, not as a Democrat. Talking about how consumers deserve to be treated honestly by credit card companies, he said,
We all have to take responsibility for our choices, but we deserve the straight facts too! That’s what Elizabeth wants to make happen.
Personal responsibility is a big theme with conservatives, and it seems to fit with Dr. Phil’s whole philosophy. After all, his life law number one is: “You either get it or you don’t. Become one of those who gets it.”