Dr. RICHARD LAND (President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention): Well, thank you. It’s good to be with you.
SIEGEL: Let me ask you about that rally: a very partisan political figure, a man who has accused president Obama of being a racist, then questioned his Christianity, holds a big rally with, among others, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Is the message here that God wants the Republicans to win in November?
Dr. LAND: Well, that certainly would not be the message you got from the rally. Therally did almost everything it could to not be political and to be as ecumenical as possible.
We had rabbis praying. We had Catholic priests praying. We had Muslim imams praying and participating. We had Protestant Christians. And he kept saying over and over again this is not a political event, and politics is not the answer. The answer is spiritual renewal and rebuilding a civil society one person, one family, one church, mosque, synagogue, temple, and one community at a time.
SIEGEL: Are you concerned about what Glenn Beck has said, for example, on “FOX News Sunday,” yesterday, more pointedly than from the podium on Saturday, that Americans do not recognize President Obama’s brand of Christianity? And you share that belief, by the way.
Dr. LAND: Oh, I recognize it. To me, he’s a very typical, mainline, liberal, Protestant Christian. I know lots of people like the president and who have been deeply influenced by liberation theology.
I think liberation theology is wrong. I reject collective salvation as an oxymoron.
SIEGEL: And Mr. Beck’s assertion that most Americans wouldn’t recognize the kind of Christianity that President Obama practices obviously you would disagree with. You say we know what that is.
Dr. LAND: Well, I do. I do know what it is. And I disagree with it. But, you know, it’s a free country, and that’s one reason we have freedom of religion. There were lots of differences of religion that were present at the rally. I mean, you know, you had Jewish rabbis, and as you can imagine, I would have some differences of opinion with Jewish rabbis and with Muslims and with Catholics.
But we were all there together talking about the fact that we need we believe that America needs a return to a greater faith in God, that this country is in trouble, and it’s in trouble at a very basic level. And it’s going to have to be rebuilt at a very basic level and that politics is not the answer.
SIEGEL: Glenn Beck is a Mormon. Is that brand of Christianity as distant or more so from yours than the National Council of Churches mainline Protestantism you…
Dr. LAND: Probably more so.
SIEGEL: More so.
Dr. LAND: And look, Glenn knows this. He said, look, I’m a Mormon. Most Christians don’t think that I’m a Christian. And so, you know, I’ll quote the pope, when he’s talking about liberation theology.
I do not think Mormonism is an orthodox Christian faith, with a small O. I think perhaps the most charitable way for an evangelical Christian to look at Mormonism is to look at Mormonism as the fourth Abrahamic faith.
SIEGEL: Not a Christian faith.
Dr. LAND: Not a Christian faith. (Online source)
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Disturbing words from a prominent Southern Baptist...
Richad Land was interviewed on NPR concerning the Restoring Honor gathering in Washington D.C. Dr. Land is one of the most influential leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. His commendation of the rally highlights what troubles me about the same event. As you will see, Dr. Land seems to have no trouble gathering together with Mormons, Roman Catholics, Jewish Rabbis and Muslims for a religious event (You'll notice Land's insistance that the event was not political). "The answer is spiritual renewal and rebuilding a civil society one person, one family, one church, mosque, synagogue, temple, and one community at a time." Is this what Christians are called to pray for? How does Dr. Land propose that Christians pursue "spiritual renewal" with Muslims, Mormons, and Jews? It seems to me that Dr. Land is unwittingly demonstrating how such an event can distort the nature of God, the gospel, and the purpose of the church.