Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Richard Land and Benevolent Global Hegemony

As a Southern Baptist, I’m outraged that even a single dime of my money goes to finance the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission and provide Richard Land a platform from which to propagate his outrageous ideas. Today, I see that Dr. Land recently addressed an august forum at the Council on Foreign Relations, mouthpiece of the Eastern Liberal Establishment and playpen of the New World Order.

Land has apparently imbibed from the neocon Kool-Aid and is beginning to sound like Max Boot. Land says, “God for his own purposes has chosen to give much to America, and to whom much is given much is required.” What exactly is required? Well Dr. Land unbosomed himself further, saying:

We have a special obligation and a special responsibility to be the friend of freedom, to be the defender of freedom, anywhere in the world; that it is part of our obligation as Christian citizens of this nation to do what we can to make certain that our government is not just a government of a nation with interests—although we are a nation and we do have interests, but we are also a cause, and that cause is freedom. That cause is freedom of conscience. That cause is human dignity. And that we want our government to be a force for those things in the world and to help those who aspire to those things anywhere in the world.

From where does Dr. Land conjure this divine imperative? I’ve searched my Bible and Constitution in vain for any justification of messianic imperialism. Has Land exegeted an obscure passage in Ezekiel using a Lindsey-style hermeneutic to support his claim of American exceptionalism? Perhaps he has been reading the Founders? Well, maybe not. Here is John Adams:

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

And George Washington:

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them...As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, tomislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils…

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Yet Dr. Land continues to cheerlead on behalf an American militarism, indeed imperialism. He even speaks favorably of the U. S. enforcing the UN Declaration of Human Rights. I’m not kidding. Listen to Land,

I think that we—everyone has a right—the universal—the U.N. universal declaration of human rights says that every human being has the inherent right to freedom of conscience in matters of faith and not only the right to believe, but the right practice or change that faith. It seems to me that should be our gold standard…But I do have a right, as an American and as a citizen, to say that every nation in the world should respect the basic rights laid down in the U.N.’s universal declaration of human rights, which virtually every country in the world is a signatory to.

So where will we next work to ensure “freedom of conscience?” Land believes that the U. S. should have intervened in the Balkans earlier, and that we are “morally culpable” for failing to intervene in Rwanda.

I argued—I argued from every rooftop I could find in the early 1990s for American intervention in Bosnia, that we should do so with NATO, but if NATO would not do it—just because NATO wouldn’t grow a spine doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. And to me, the ultimate—the ultimate—poster, the ultimate symbol of multilateralism without American leadership, even in Europe, were those Dutch peacekeepers handcuffed around the trees while the Serbian thugs sorted out the Muslim men and boys to be taken out into the woods and shot in the worst case of ethnic cleansing since the end of World War II.

And I believe that America is culpable because we could have acted, and we didn’t. We’re culpable morally because we could have acted in Rwanda, and we didn’t. And just because the multilateral organizations wouldn’t go with us does not relieve us of the responsibility of acting when we had the capacity to act without overwhelming negative repercussions.

Finally Land comes out is favor of spreading “democracy” hither and yon through “non-military” means—and in the process indicates that maybe, just maybe something needs to be done about those awful Iranians. Land writes:

I would wish that we could do everything we could to help non-militarily. I—let me preface this by saying I strongly support the assist democracies act that has currently been passed by the U.S. House and is now before the U.S. Senate, which lays out a myriad of ways. I mean, the act is about that thick in single-spaced type, sponsored by Frank Wolf in the House and John McCain in the Senate, that would specify myriad ways—non-military ways—in which the United States government would seek to promote democracy and to promote freedom and promote representative government by assisting movements within those countries that are seeking it that do not have it.

And I would wish that the Iranian people can have an open and free internationally monitored election in which they could decide for themselves how they would be governed. And they would decide for themselves the laws under which they would be governed and that anyone who wanted to who was an Iranian citizen could participate freely in that process. That is obviously not the case in Iran at the present, much to the dismay of many Iranians. I do not believe it is in the best interest of the world for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. I am comfortable with the process that is currently going forward to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons capabilities.

When did it become the obligation of Americans to secure "freedom" and "democracy" in other lands? Dr. Land would cast aside national interests, indeed the Biblical imperative of the civil magistrate to protect its people, in order to worship the golden calf of democracy.

Read the entire transcript here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Dow,
I too am a reformed Southern Baptist increasingly disgusted by the behaviour of the convention. In your article, you reference Land's membership in the CFR. Can you tell how and where you found that piece of information? I am seriously considering writing a letter (for what that would do) and would like to be absolutely certain of his membership in that group. Thank you.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Thanks for the question. Your query made me look a bit further into the matter and it appears that I was mistaken. I conflated two different organizations while quickly browsing an article. I have corrected the post here and at Backwater Report, where I also usually post.

Though I was wrong, about the specific fact, though, I think my general holding about Land's sub-Biblical views on foreign policy matters stands. I was reminded of it again just this mornng by a Baptist Press article ( where Land again discusses America's "special purpose in the world."

Thanks for writing, and my sincerest apologies for the error.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the 2006 Annual Report of the CFR, Mr Land was elected to membership last year. See more below...

The 2006 Annual Report of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is more alarming than
many previous editions.
The report demonstrates that a number of dangerous initiatives are rapidly being undertaken.
However, two moves stand out that are of concern to Americans:
1. They are brazen in their determination to merge the three countries of Mexico, Canada, and
these United States. “Integration” is the word they use. This, of course, is treason. What else
can you call merging the countries of North America? It means the end of U.S. sovereignty,
the Constitution as the law of the land, and the freedom of the American people.
2. They have made great strides in enlisting the help of individuals who previously could be
counted on to oppose their plans. One person in particular stands out: Richard D. Land,
president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission,
elected to CFR membership last year. This is by no means the only example of CFR influence
in the Christian Right.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as his son, I am surprised at some of your comments. Just because some particular body or group elects a person to membership of said group, does not indicate that the afformentioned person has a desire or even willingness to accept said membership. It simply does not follow logically that he has accepted membership, wants it, or is even remotely active as a member.

If you have problems with him bro, as a southern Baptist, since my father works FOR YOU...I suggest you write his office with your complaints, and ask HIM what is up with all of this, and don't make assumptions based on what other people have written or other people have reported. He is often misquoted....I know. I have been there when he has been interviewed and I have SEEN him misquoted on several occasions.

If you take issue with him as a baptist, write him. Ask him to clarify.

One of the greatest "REFORMED" theologians alive today, AL MOHLER, is one of my fathers best friends. So...until you have spoken with him or corresponded, it is probably not that wise to blog based on second hand information.

Richard D. Land Jr.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

I’m not sure if Mr. Land is addressing me or the other commenters, so let me respond with a few observations.

First, in my original post, written long ago, I implied that Dr. Land was a member of the CFR. I corrected that observation as it was not clearly the case.

Second, I’m glad to see a son defend his father. Dr. Land has done much good, but in my estimation on issues of tremendous import (the Iraq war and foreign policy generally as well as immigration) he is flatly wrong.

Third, Dr. Land is a public figure making public statements. My posts about him quote from open letters and, in this particular instance, a transcript. I’m not misquoting him. There is no slander, and though my writing may be a bit edgy it in no way goes over the edge of polite rhetorical discourse.

As a Christian and a Baptist I believe my responsibilities lie first and foremost within the church and specifically within the SBC. When a church leader, who is perceived as speaking for the denomination, says things that are nonsensical I believe there needs to be some accountability.

Fourth, I understand that Dr. Mohler is a friend of Dr. Land. I’m not sure why that fact is germane to anything. I have also criticized Dr. Mohler’s public writings and utterances vis a vis Iraq and other issues where I thought it right to do so.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:33 AM  

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