Why Land likely did what he did

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Why Land likely did what he did

Postby BTeditor » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:19 pm

A trusted mutual friend who has known Richard Land for a very long time insists the Southern Baptist ethics and politics spokesman has supported racial equality and justice with consistency for many years. I believe him.

The problems Land has created for himself and Southern Baptists recently — through a borrowed-without-attribution radio rant about “race hustlers” and the Trayvon Martin case — are not rooted in old-style racial prejudice. Rather they are tied to Land’s insatiable appetite for more and more attention. He seems to thrive on being a major political operative under the guise of being able to deliver millions of Southern Baptists to the candidates and causes that he personally blesses.

It is hard to know whether he shaped the leadership role of the once cutting-edge Southern Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission into an SBC ambassadorship to the Republican Party or the other way around. But Land can’t get enough public exposure or claim enough political power.

One knows he’s messed up when stories about the current controversy — such as in the L.A. Times — state he is unavailable for comment. Land is always available for comment.

In his own defense (of the “race hustling” fallout, not the plagiarism charges), Land notes his role in promoting the 1995 SBC resolution acknowledging a history of racism and apologizing for the role Southern Baptists have played in racial discrimination. While he did help carry the water for that effort, he claims more credit than he deserves.

Ironically, it was the more humble current SBC president who initiated that public apology. Bryant Wright became convicted about the racial division among pastors and churches while joining other Atlanta area ministers to prepare for the 1994 Billy Graham evangelism effort there.

Wright established a close friendship with African-American pastor Gerald Durley that led to a relationship between their two Baptist congregations. It also spurred Wright to seek the formal apology from Southern Baptists.

SBC President Jim Henry was asked about the resolution at a 1995 press conference I attended. As he pondered his response, Land stepped forward — between Henry and me — to accept the spotlight. There was no mention of Wright bringing the issue to the SBC. And, in typical fashion, Bryant has not taken the deserved credit when the current controversy brought the resolution to light again.

So my assessment is that Land did not get himself in this bind because of racial prejudice, but rather due to an overwhelming need for more and more attention. Both his unhelpful, politically charged comments about race and the fact that he plagiarized them are more likely the result of tossing all caution to the wind when given a big, open microphone and an audience.

Having the chance to play Rush was just too much of a rush for him to use good judgment.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby William Thornton » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:07 pm

The last few years, I got the impression that Land was part talk radio personality and part pundit. Like a lot of folks, he's been in DC too long.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Mrs Haruo » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:46 pm

:wink: Is someone walking around in an expensive suit and a freshly starched shirt wearing underwear that says "It's all about ME!" on it in big neon green letters?" :(
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:31 pm

Ed: BTeditor, I seldom disagree with you but I am am of the opinion that having read the other guys material R.L saw some stuff he would like to say and his carefully polished veneer developed a split through which the previously repressed venom oozed.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:23 pm

William Thornton wrote:The last few years, I got the impression that Land was part talk radio personality and part pundit. Like a lot of folks, he's been in DC too long.


It is the danger of a Christian leader getting involved in politics to defend the faith. Eventually you can forget about the faith as you get more and more into the politics.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby BTeditor » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:43 pm

I'm certainly no defender of Land, and neither am I piling on here. Rather I'm seeking to provide some analysis of the situation. While I fully trust my friend's much longer and deeper personal experiences with Land, I don't doubt he had some venom to spew. However, I'll stick with the belief that his spewing mostly has to do with a consuming desire to be a major political player and a big-time radio host.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:46 pm

BTeditor wrote:I'm certainly no defender of Land, and neither am I piling on here. Rather I'm seeking to provide some analysis of the situation. While I fully trust my friend's much longer and deeper personal experiences with Land, I don't doubt he had some venom to spew. However, I'll stick with the belief that his spewing mostly has to do with a consuming desire to be a major political player and a big-time radio host.


I'd not be surprised. To be honest when you get out of SBC land you pay a lot less attention to Land. So I've not heard his comments. I guess that's a blessing. :wink:
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby BTeditor » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:00 pm

Tim- He actually appears rather often on various news shows during the more heated political times (GOP debates, Romney v. Obama media spats, etc.). So he's gotten some broader exposure — esp in recent months.
His publicist sends me (and other media) messages a couple of times a week stating the upcoming TV/radio shows on which he'll appear.
His usefulness to the media has increased as he's become a more strident voice. Those pre-interviewing for news shows don't book calm, rational centrists.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:01 pm

More than just on Fox news?
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:32 pm

BTeditor wrote:Tim- He actually appears rather often on various news shows during the more heated political times (GOP debates, Romney v. Obama media spats, etc.). So he's gotten some broader exposure — esp in recent months.
His publicist sends me (and other media) messages a couple of times a week stating the upcoming TV/radio shows on which he'll appear.
His usefulness to the media has increased as he's become a more strident voice. Those pre-interviewing for news shows don't book calm, rational centrists.


Ed: It would be interesting to see if his schedule stays as busy in the next month or so, but then I know that some times those appearances are set up pretty far ahead. And I am reasonably sure that often some media outlets love controversy just because it sells.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby BTeditor » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:09 am

Actually, he's appeared on several networks over the last few months. But that seems to have stopped. Apparently something to do with a lowly blogger in Texas stirring up trouble for him.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Tim Bonney » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:43 am

BTeditor wrote:Actually, he's appeared on several networks over the last few months. But that seems to have stopped. Apparently something to do with a lowly blogger in Texas stirring up trouble for him.


Interesting. I'm willing to be a lot of non-SBCers couldn't even tell you who he is. I'm not saying they've not seen him on TV. I'm just saying that it is surprising how little attention people pay to folks who don't travel in their theological or political circles.

Heck, I ran into a lady this last week that didn't realize that Baptists still did immersion baptism. She figured that was something that went out with tent meetings. She remembered seeing a group of Baptists out at the river when she was a kid and that is the last she knew of it. :lol:
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Sandy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:46 pm

I think Land has always been striving for a higher place in the Republican party, or in some Republican presidential administration, but he's not a big enough fish to attract that kind of attention. He's attempted to capitalize on the ignorance of non-Baptist political conservatives about the SBC, making them think that he speaks for "16 million people in the nation's largest Protestant denomination." Most people don't realize that half of those people never show up for church, and only about two thirds of the rest are actually eligible to vote. If voter registration percentages among SBC church members ran just a bit higher than normal, that means that perhaps 4 million Southern Baptist adults are voters, and as many as 40% of them vote Democrat. A lot of the political pundits also don't realize that Land doesn't speak for any other Baptist, officially, and that's one of the finer points of SBC polity.

Land is a Republican political wannabe who will never be.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:51 am

Sandy wrote:I think Land has always been striving for a higher place in the Republican party, or in some Republican presidential administration, but he's not a big enough fish to attract that kind of attention. He's attempted to capitalize on the ignorance of non-Baptist political conservatives about the SBC, making them think that he speaks for "16 million people in the nation's largest Protestant denomination." Most people don't realize that half of those people never show up for church, and only about two thirds of the rest are actually eligible to vote. If voter registration percentages among SBC church members ran just a bit higher than normal, that means that perhaps 4 million Southern Baptist adults are voters, and as many as 40% of them vote Democrat. A lot of the political pundits also don't realize that Land doesn't speak for any other Baptist, officially, and that's one of the finer points of SBC polity.

Land is a Republican political wannabe who will never be.


Well said, Sandy.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Blake » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:27 pm

Sandy wrote:If voter registration percentages among SBC church members ran just a bit higher than normal, that means that perhaps 4 million Southern Baptist adults are voters, and as many as 40% of them vote Democrat.

40% in my experience would be a very very high estimate, but maybe there's more diversity of political opinion in SBC churches in the South than what I've previously given credit for. Of the many SBC churches I've visited in IA, MN, WI and IN I'd be surprised if even 5% of the church goers voted Democrat.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:55 pm

Blake wrote:
Sandy wrote:If voter registration percentages among SBC church members ran just a bit higher than normal, that means that perhaps 4 million Southern Baptist adults are voters, and as many as 40% of them vote Democrat.

40% in my experience would be a very very high estimate, but maybe there's more diversity of political opinion in SBC churches in the South than what I've previously given credit for. Of the many SBC churches I've visited in IA, MN, WI and IN I'd be surprised if even 5% of the church goers voted Democrat.


There's probably more Southern Baptist churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex than in all those states combined. I wouldn't expect experiences in those states to be necessarily representative of the Southern Baptist experience in the South.

I'd put the percentage somewhere in the low 30s. I bet it hit 40% in 1992. Now, I wouldn't equate voting Democrat with voting for Obama. My guess is that a smaller percentage voted for Obama. But in terms of state-wide elections and Congressional races, based on what I know about polling and political behavior and life in the South, I'd say low 30s sounds about right and in some states that number tops 40 in some races.

Still 60 - 40 is a landslide and 70-30 is a true butt-kicking.

This is why I think some of Lifeway's polling is flawed and not representative of the different demographics. I remember they did a poll back in 2008 and NO Southern Baptist pastor polled supported Obama and only like 1% supported Hillary. That's just not a plausible statistic IMO.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:48 am

Ed: Aaron I am having some problem asking this question with out perhaps making it sound agenda driven but I am trying to understand your point.

But When you say "There's probably more Southern Baptist churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex than in all those states combined. I wouldn't expect experiences in those states to be necessarily representative of the Southern Baptist experience in the South."

The first part I have no doubt is true. But then Most of the folk I have known from Texas and Arkansas will tell you in a hurry they are not southerners, even if they are southern Baptist. They prefer South Westerner (in Texas they May well insist in being called Texans). This may not be as obvious in the Baylor family be cause of a lower percentage of native Texans than in the general population. I can not tell you a lot about Southern Baptist in most of the states on Blake's list but over a period of 14 years in which I was a member of 5 Different SBC Churches in Indiana, Due to job re- locations in one state agency. Those Church where in the North South and Central Part of the state. In the first of the Five I was among the founding members and and I was the only native born Hoosier, there was another fellow who had been in Fort Wayne when I was born but if you asked about his home state he would say Kentucky. Where did he want to be buried? Ans. Kentucky! It was pretty much the same in the other four. In 1991 When my project partner in a Church Planting Praxis and I were working in the SW sector of the METRO Indianapolis area we Lived in a house owned by one of the dozen or so SBC churches in Marion County. We visited the pastor and or staff of several of those and asked about the demographics of their membership. Again the vast majority where natives of some southern state and they had been raised Southern Baptist There where some few like my self who where native of Indiana but also like my self where married to some one raised in and probably born in the South We attended three of those churches on Sundays. And there was not a nickels worth of difference in them and the many churches that I had been a part of in Alabama Mississippi and Arkansas SC, Ga and KY & Fl. in politics overall. So I certainly would not expect the experience one would have in most SBC Churches in states named by Blake to be appreciably where near the Difference in then that you would at least in in Indiana I would be interested in any research supporting you observation. The time factor may played havoc with my own ideas on the subject. Since in the first half of my close acquaintance with the area it was almost solidly Democrat despite some times large pockets of of largely Lioncolnese Republicans. And I confess I have little idea of the geographic distribution of Tea Party followers.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:30 am

How about this for nuance, Ed: The experience of Southern Baptists in Indiana is probably more "typical" compared to the experience of Southern Baptists in the "South" (which Texas is in, even if their identity is Texan first) than that of Southern Baptists in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

The point is that the relationship between culture and politics, religion and politics among Southern Baptists in the South (where the overwhelming majority still reside) is different than that Southern Baptists residing in "pioneer" states.

There are still Democrats in Southern Baptist churches. They might not vote for Obama. But they are more like Zig Zag Zell Miller. There are still some Democrats in SBC pews who support Democratic candidates for state-wide, local, and even Congressional offices to the tune of a percentage much higher than 5% but a handful of points less than 40%, IMO.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:16 am

Big Daddy Weaver wrote:How about this for nuance, Ed: The experience of Southern Baptists in Indiana is probably more "typical" compared to the experience of Southern Baptists in the "South" (which Texas is in, even if their identity is Texan first) than that of Southern Baptists in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

The point is that the relationship between culture and politics, religion and politics among Southern Baptists in the South (where the overwhelming majority still reside) is different than that Southern Baptists residing in "pioneer" states.

There are still Democrats in Southern Baptist churches. They might not vote for Obama. But they are more like Zig Zag Zell Miller. There are still some Democrats in SBC pews who support Democratic candidates for state-wide, local, and even Congressional offices to the tune of a percentage much higher than 5% but a handful of points less than 40%, IMO.


Ed: Now that you broaden the discussion to "Pioneer states" in general, I very much disagree. Although maybe 60% of the current Southern Baptist in "Pionneer states" are second generation transplants their families of origin are still Southern and Southern mores dictate much of their thought. And many first generation transplants have 'made their fortune" in the northern US and have returned home where by and large their Social Security, pensions and savings will go further, especially if they have inherited at least a part of the "Family Farm".

And I will mention that while I was at Southern in the early 1990's Fellow students who pastored in Indiana and Michigan ( they shared travel in 10 and 12 passenger vans on the weekends) when comparing notes over lunch through the week generally found Michigan SCB churches even more conservative and attached to churches and family in the south than those in Indiana. While women pastors where rejected in both states women where allowed a more active part in their husbands ministry than those assigned to Michigan. Some SBC churches in Michigan would not even allow a woman to stand behind the pulpit to make announcements about programs for Children and youth in which they had primary respectability.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Sandy » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:44 am

The ERLC wasn't created to represent the "majority" political opinion of Southern Baptists, nor to help them determine for whom they would vote. It is to represent the interests of Baptists with regard to issues of religious liberty and Christian ethics. Land has made it a personal political launching pad and a place to influence votes, but I doubt very seriously whether one in a hundred Southern Baptists would recognize the name, and even if they did, would pay attention to what he has to say.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:24 am

Sandy wrote:The ERLC wasn't created to represent the "majority" political opinion of Southern Baptists, nor to help them determine for whom they would vote. It is to represent the interests of Baptists with regard to issues of religious liberty and Christian ethics. Land has made it a personal political launching pad and a place to influence votes, but I doubt very seriously whether one in a hundred Southern Baptists would recognize the name, and even if they did, would pay attention to what he has to say.


ED: Sandy, I would suggest that the recognition of Land by today's SBC'ers would depend a lot on when and where their pastor attended seminary and the location of the church. I can believe that due to his association with Criswell Collage he would get the most mixed reviews in Texas. In other parts of the country keep in mind that his cohorts have trained a large percentage of SBC pastrors who have graduated from SBC seminaries since 1985. that has be more than a quarter century. Longer at Southeastern and a bit less at Southern, the others are some where between.
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Can anybody Say Karl Rove and Texas Oil Interests

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:16 pm

And or Dwight McKissic?

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/7324/53/

But Dwight and Rove are two different avenues to bring down the house of Rove and Pressler and Land.

Then there is Russ Moore, who some within the Fundy camp say is grooming himself to be Land's Successor; now maybe sooner than later.

Will come back to this later; but John Pierce opens up interesting take on the matter with his invocations of Jim Henry and Bryant Wright. From Henry it's not too far to his daughter Kate Campbell, and from Kate to Charles Marsh whose upcoming bio of Bonhoeffer is already being explored by Bama UMC Bishop Willimon in his exit from the Cradle of the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement.

Point being this Land fiasco as I've asserted in Baptist history thread opens up whole opportunity for some Truth telling history among the fundies about their race history and how it has evolved with Land as his closest and dearest conversations one can assert have always been with Karl Rove and other legacies of Harry Dent.
But I want to be careful with Dent, cause that is loaded and has its own inflections. FTRecord I continue to enjoy an interesting and hopefully continuing email conversation with Dent's daughter, Ginny Brant and have come to respect her, though I disagree.
With her friends Bryant Wright, and Wake Forest Prez Nathan Hatch; lot of room to get to various and sundry bottoms of this can Richard Land has opened for us to find major veins of yet definitive Baptist history and influence and political jockeying.
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:50 pm

Ed: Steve with this you ruined my day with that, "Then there is Russ Moore, who some within the Fundy camp say is grooming himself to be Land's Successor; now maybe sooner than later." :roll: But I am sure Russ looks at Al and thinks, "Gee, he will probably be around even when I get to upper middle age".
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Weaver rises

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:02 pm

In Addition to Huffington Post he has the attention of religion dispatches. Time for Bryant Wright and Marsh and Kate Campbell to set down for the truth telling session on the strange career of Richard Land.
Add Curtis Freeman to morph this with Criswell and the 56 SC Pastor's Conference; and Randall Balmer has also had Land's number for some time.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispa ... dented%22/

Ed: Russ Moore needs to come clean not only with my friend Vicki Covington, the novelist who Russ maligned when he spoke to Bama Fundies in late 90's; but also with the Gushee and Carey Newman comments about the Mohler Covenant in Uneasy in Babylon!
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Re: Why Land likely did what he did

Postby BTeditor » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:58 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:I am sure Russ looks at Al and thinks, "Gee, he will probably be around even when I get to upper middle age".


That's a good line, Ed. Opportunities at the top are limited.
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