Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, recently called President Barack Obama “very dangerous” and claimed Obama was damaging America.
“I think [Obama] can be particularly dangerous,” Land said in an interview with Newsmax. “I think he can do significant damage to our economy; I think he is doing significant damage to our economy. … The stimulus package has clearly not worked.”
“I also think he could do severe damage to peace in the world,” Land added. “Unfortunately, I think a lot of the really bad people in the world don’t believe that Barack Obama is a tough guy.”
Land criticized Obama for considering a change in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the armed forces. Land claimed such a change would cause many evangelicals to leave the military and therefore make the military less prepared. Land added that the number of Southern Baptists and other evangelicals in the military is “disproportionate” and “significantly higher” than their levels in the general population.
Despite Land’s assertion that Southern Baptists and other evangelicals make up large numbers in the armed forces, Department of Defense data demonstrates that members of the military are actually less likely to claim a religious affiliation. While Protestants account for 53 percent of the American population 18 and older, they make up only 35 percent of the military. Meanwhile, those with no religion make up 21 percent of the military but only 14 percent of the general population.
Land also attacked Obama for not doing more to support Iranian protesters who have rallied against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“I think it has been disgraceful that Obama has not been more supportive in his statements about the Iranian dissidents that want to overthrow the rogue regime that runs Iran,” Land stated.
In the midst of attacking Obama, Land continued to defend his own support for then-President George W. Bush’s decision to launch a preemptive invasion of Iraq. Land insisted it was a “just war.” He also claimed that Bush’s decision created the most democratic Arab country, although scholars generally view countries like Lebanon and Kuwait to be the most democratic ones in the region.
Land signed the recently released “Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” along with nearly 150 other conservative Christian leaders. The document contends that abortion and marriage are the most important issues for Christians to consider and urges civil disobedience against laws supporting abortion or same-sex marriage.
EthicsDaily.com columnist Richard Pierard, who is a professor of history emeritus at Indiana State University, recently called on ethicists like Land to speak out against heated rhetoric from some Christians calling for Obama to be tried for treason or even praying for him to be killed.
“Ethics have been discarded for the sake of political ideology and we are much the worse for this,” Pierard wrote.
Last month, Land was criticized for using Nazi references to describe the health-care reform efforts of Obama and other Democrats. Land later apologized for the remarks but then reneged on his apology.
Despite his recent comments about Obama and his other recent incidents of making uncivil attacks, Land argued in his 2007 book “The Divided States of America?” that today’s political climate includes too much “needlessly strident” rhetoric that has “generated plenty of heat and hot air.” He argued the “most thoughtful” people walk away from these “nasty shouting matches.” Land talked about his book in the recent Newsmax interview in which he then attacked Obama.
Brian Kaylor is a contributing editor to EthicsDaily.com.