Southern Religion

Is Land set to re-preach fear of hate-crimes law?

Southern Baptist Convention ERLC chief Richard Land may preach his counterfactual hate-crime fear tomorrow to the Florida Baptist Pastors Conference.


Land has consistently made the sweepingly false [1, 2, 3, 4,] argument that new law is “the groundwork for prosecuting Christians who share their biblical beliefs against homosexuality.”

Land’s session tomorrow is entitled “Persecution of the American Church: Welcome to pastoring in a persecuted environment” and he has consistently argued that enactment of the hate-crime legislation would lead to religious persecution.

After the law was signed, ERLC made again the strained, general prediction of oppressive outcomes:

Advocates of freedom of religion and of speech, as well as of the biblical view of sexuality, expressed dismay at the development, even though they oppose violence against homosexuals. They fear the measure, combined with existing law, could expose to prosecution Christians and others who proclaim the Bible’s teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful. For example, if a person commits a violent act based on a victim’s “sexual orientation” after hearing biblical teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, the preacher or teacher could be open to a charge of inducing the person to commit the crime, some foes say.

In fact the First Amendment is still in full force. We do not have “hate speech” laws in this country and attempts to impose their limited-purpose analogs have been judicially demolished.

Convoluted arguments about possible combinations of laws muzzling and/or imprisoning preachers have no basis in fact. Arthur Leonard, a professor of law at New York Law School and an expert in gay rights and discrimination based on sexual orientation said flatly, “No sane prosecuting attorney in the United States would go after a church due to a preacher making a sermon based on the Biblical teachings about homosexuality.”


November 8, 2009 - Posted by | Law, Religion, SBC | , , , ,


  1. Each copy of that legislation as it progressed from the House to the Senate to the Presidents desk contained protective provisions for teachers in church. There are “white supremicist” churchs that might try to take advantage of these provisions to incite a riot but those groups should be far away from the Southern Baptist churchs I know and Land represents. Maybe Land has spent so much money lobbying to defeat this law that he is trying to justify his expenses as well as any PAC money spent in that direction by fear mongering. I hope our pastors have greater courage and confidence. Somebody had courage enough to write about it in the Bible – but he knows that.

    Comment by jack | November 9, 2009

  2. Ironic that as he preaches in Pensacola a hurricane is on its way. A commentary on his position… or merely a coincidence?

    Comment by DG in FW | November 9, 2009

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