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Southern Baptists will not be silent in leading America to God: Land

ATLANTA (BP)–Southern Baptists will not quietly accept the suppression of their message as they seek to lead America to God, Richard Land said during the report of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission June 15 at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This is a time of “unprecedented moral and spiritual crisis in our nation,” Land, ERLC president, said. “And at the very time when our nation most needs to hear a sure and certain word from God through his people, those in the media” who “oppose us are doing their very best to oppress us.”
“The greatest danger that we face in the religious liberty field are those who would try to suppress our free-exercise right to express our religious conviction in the public arena,” he said.
Land cited CNN, the international cable television network headquartered across the street from the Georgia Dome, the site of the SBC meeting.
“CNN is slanting the news. CNN is trying to beat up on Southern Baptists, and we’re not going to stand for it silently any more,” Land said.
He said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “misquoted” him during a June 15 CNN program to which he was not invited as a guest.
“He [Lynn] said Richard Land has said that the Southern Baptist Convention ought to go ahead and marry the Republican Party,” Land said.
“That’s not what I said. Let me tell you and let me tell CNN what I really said.
“I said that if the Republican Party wants the support of people who believe in God and believe in the sanctity of all human life from conception onward and believe in the traditional family and believe that homosexuality is deviant and immoral behavior and shouldn’t be approved and affirmed by the president of the United States,” Republicans can “endorse our values and our beliefs and our understanding of the truth,” Land said.
“And if they commit themselves to that, then we’ll support them. What I have to say to CNN and what I have to say to Barry Lynn is if a party wants our support, they’ve got to get it the old-fashioned way. They’ve got to earn it by supporting our basic beliefs.”
Land continued: “At least if we’re going to support a candidate, we want a formal marriage ceremony. Barry Lynn is in bed with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party without benefit of matrimony,” and he has shared “that unholy bed” with the ACLU and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.
“The days when we’re going to sit still and take this kind of abuse silently are over,” he said.
“We’re here, and we’re here to stay, and we understand that America is like the prodigal son,” Land said. “We have taken the inheritance of our unborn children, we have taken the inheritance that our forefathers fought and died to preserve and give to us, and we’ve gone to a far place and wasted [it] in riotous living, and we’ve got to come to our senses and go home to our father, and we’re going to take our country with us.”
The agency’s 30-minute, five-day-a-week radio program, “For Faith and Family,” is on more than 250 stations, Land reported. A one-minute spinoff commentary by Land is on 120 stations. Soon, more than 160 additional stations are expected to be added. The program began in February 1998.
Land also said gifts to the SBC World Hunger Fund have increased 67 percent since the ERLC, other convention agencies and the WMU began a cooperative effort in 1996. Last year, $10.4 million was given to the fund. More than $900,000 in direct food aid has been allocated to refugees from the Kosovo conflict, Land said.
A promotional video for the “Beat Hunger” campaign designed for young people was shown during the report. This effort “will help to inculcate into our young people an understanding of their responsibility and the biblical admonition to feed the poor and to feed the hungry” in the name of Jesus, Land said.
During the report, ERLC board chairman Steven Wright of Houston, presented two awards to Land: recognizing his 10 years as the head of the agency and the 1999 Religious Liberty Award given yearly by the ERLC.