Southern Religion

Lie of the year award recipients (Sarah Palin, Richard Land, … )

Many are owed honorable mention below Sarah Palin on the PolitiFact Lie of the Year award trophy for elevating fictitious “death panels” to a topic of frenzied national debate.

Prominent among them is Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty chief Richard Land, who urged the self-destructive selection by the McCain presidential campaign of Ms. Palin as the vice presidential running mate.

Having helped give Ms. Palin prominence, Land promoted both the falsehood that health reform involves eugenics programs like those instituted in Nazi Germany and the “death panels” myth which is part of those claims.

After a Sept. 26 gathering of the Christian Coalition of Florida, at which he applied Nazi/Holocaust characterizations to Democratic leaders’ health care reform efforts, Land issued a pseudoapology. In an Oct. 14 letter to Anti-Defamation League (ADL) President Abraham H. Foxman, Land wrote:

It was never my intention to equate the Obama administration’s healthcare reform proposals with anything related to the Holocaust.

. . .

I deeply regret the reference to Dr. Josef Mengele. I was using hyperbole for effect and never intended to actually equate anyone in the Obama administration with Dr. Mengele. I will certainly refrain from making such references in the future. I apologize to everyone who found such references hurtful. Given the pain and suffering of so many Jewish and other victims of the Nazi regime, I will certainly seek to exercise far more care in my use of language in future discussions of the issues at stake in the healthcare debate.

Yet Land subsequently claimed in a broadly counterfactual Oct. 6 speech that the “Senate bill authored by Max Baucus, D.-Mont., reinstates the so-called ‘death panels,'”

Thus Land promoted “death panels” as a fact when a simple reference or two to would have permitted him to consign “death panels” to oblivion and with them his parade of other libels attributing to Democrats a move toward implementation of Nazi-like eugenics theories.

Straightforward self-correction appears to have escaped him and could be redemptive, without removing his name from any historian’s list of award recipients.

December 21, 2009 - Posted by | Religion, SBC | , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. “Straightforward self-correction appears to have escaped him . . . ”

    Uhhh, yeah. And a whole lot more.

    Comment by Christa Brown | December 22, 2009

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