Saturday, July 10, 2004

OutLANDish

In a bid to maximize the vote among Evangelical Christians, the Bush campaign is asking volunteers to hand over church directories to state coordinators. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, had this to say:

“I’m appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way. It’s one thing for the church to have a voter registration drive, to seek to inform church members on public policy issues, to encourage church members to fulfill their Christian duty and vote, and to encourage them to vote their values, beliefs and convictions. It’s another thing entirely for a partisan campaign to ask church members to bring in church directories for use as contact lists by the campaign and to seek to come into the church and do a voter registration drive and distribute campaign literature.”

While Land is entirely correct, his selective outrage at the current administration is hilarious to say the least. Land provided political cover among politically conservative Southern Baptists leading up to the war. In fact, he published an open letter to the President along with Bill Bright, James Kennedy and Chuck Colson declaring the pending invasion a just war:

“We believe that your stated policies concerning Saddam Hussein and his headlong pursuit and development of biochemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction are prudent and fall well within the time-honored criteria of just war theory as developed by Christian theologians in the late fourth and early fifth centuries A.D.”

Meaning no disrespect to these men who have nourished me spiritually over the years, I cannot read this letter without the conviction that they were actually writing a “Top Seven Reasons to Go to War in Iraq” list for David Letterman. When I read the letter to my four-year old son, even he couldn’t stop laughing at the half-baked rationales concocted by Land and his band of Evangelical Warriors.

As the justifications for war fall like dominos, will Land admit he was wrong? Moreover, as one who specializes in a concern for religious liberty, shouldn't he be concerned that, as in the Balkans, our actions have unleashed Islam against Christian brothers and sisters? (For more on "religious liberty" for Christians in the newly "liberated" Iraq, click here, here, here, and here.)

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