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Land: Battle plan to compare religious conservatives with Taliban an outrage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A Democrat Party plan that compares the “religious right” with the Taliban is an outrage, said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

The plan, which looks to pull down George W. Bush’s high approval ratings, was discussed by Newsweek political reporter Howard Fineman in the magazine’s Dec.31, 2001/Jan. 7, 2002 issue.

“I am appalled at this campaign by some in the Democrat Party to compare religious conservatives in America with the Taliban,” Land said Jan. 5. “It appears that the Democrats are willing to say if you are not going to favor special rights for homosexuals or the continued killing of a baby every 20 seconds, then you are the American Taliban.”

Even the Newsweek reporter said the campaign was an “incendiary battle plan,” noted Land, who also hosts “For Faith & Family,” a weekday radio program on issues of importance to families.

The Newsweek article explains the Democrats’ plan points out that “religious extremism and intolerance” is the enemy in Afghanistan and warns Americans to be wary of such on U.S. soil. The article said the campaign would label religious conservatives as “intolerant” and call for expanded religious, sexual, racial and reproductive tolerance in America.

Saying he is excited about the sense of unity the nation has experienced since Sept. 11, Land said: “I can think of nothing that could be more divisive and that could destroy that unity and bring about bitterness in our society more quickly than this outrageous battle plan of the Democrat Party. Every American should be outraged at this.

“The only way they can get away with it is if we take it lying down,” Land said, promising to call his congressman, who he identified as a Democrat. “I am going to tell him he ought to be ashamed of the leaders of his party who are proposing this and that he ought to do everything he can to stop it.”

Land said the plan also is an affront to U.S. military personnel as they defend the cause of freedom in Afghanistan.

Fineman said Democrats would paint the Republican Party as out of step with the mainstream and “too dependent upon an intolerant ‘religious right,'” Land continued.

“This is outrageous,” Land said. Yet even before the plan is publicly unveiled, it appears to be working, he added.

In a front-page article in the Jan. 3 New York Times, a writer appears to compare “militant clerics or their followers,” like the Al Qaeda movement led by Osama bin Laden, with the “religious right” in America.

“This was a news article, not an editorial, on the front page of the most prestigious paper in the United States,” Land said. “The inference here is that just like in the Arab world, we have radical, fundamentalist, religious groups in the U.S. — the ‘religious right,” Land said. “This wild assertion flows straight from this emerging Democratic National Committee strategy.”

This is the height of intolerance, Land said. “There is more than one kind of intolerance. There is religious intolerance and certainly the Taliban is emblematic of it. That is one of the ways in which it is totally at odds with American religious conservatives.

“We defend everyone’s right to believe what they want to believe. We don’t want government-sponsored religion. We don’t want people thrown in jail for religious offenses,” he continued.

Yet Land said this new definition of tolerance is authored by “secular fundamentalists” and it doesn’t allow for any other viewpoints. “They want to attack as intolerant any view that doesn’t agree with their view. Their view is that anything goes. The only thing they can’t tolerate are those who believe that there are absolutes,” he said. “They want to silence and stigmatize everyone who disagrees with them.”

President Bush has defended American Muslims, rightly saying they are not part of the radical cultic groups that are engaging in terrorism, Land noted. “If he is going to defend Muslims in this country, he needs to defend Christians as well from these kinds of outrageous attacks,” Land said, saying the media is going along “just like little baby ducks right after the big duck, that is the Democratic National Committee.”

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  • Dwayne Hastings