Southern Religion

Waterloo, not Pearl Harbor

Debated for a year, health reform has in the mind of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission chief somehow become an aircraft carrier-based surprise attack:

Liberals across America are rejoicing today over their ‘historic’ victory. My message to them is, ‘Enjoy it while you can.’ This was a Pyrrhic victory of epic proportions. The Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor won a ‘historic’ victory as well. Their celebrations were cut short six months later when most of them were killed at the Battle of Midway.

Richard Land’s curious view of World War II also came up in September, when he misappropriated Holocaust images to assault Obamacare. You may recall that he attracted attention as far away as Jerusalem with that, and was was driven to apologize at the time.

Land has a penchant for the counterfactual, and was joined in that on occasion this week by Baptist Press, which for example wrote:

The House of Representatives barely passed a controversial health-care bill Sunday, deeply disappointing pro-life Americans who hoped a small group of Democrats would block legislation they say will permit federal funding of abortion and likely increase the rate of the procedure.

Yet both Catholic and protestant pro-life Americans were famously divided on the issue, with pro-life/faith leaders applauding the Senate bill as pro-life. Thus some pro-life Americans were disappointed by the 219-212 House approval of health reform. While at the same time, some pro-life Americans celebrated passage.

Land’s radical denialism helped create the circumstances he seeks, with more of the same failed strategy, to undo. Former Bush speech writer David Frum has both commented on the magnitude of the defeat and explained that the legislation is effectively immune to repeal:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

As for the voter outrage about which Land speculates, it isn’t there except perhaps in a radical minority, and isn’t likely to emerge. As Nate Silver accurately observes today, “history suggests that endeavors of this nature (Medicare, Social Security, Romneycare) generally become popular and are appreciated by the large majority of voters once they become law.”


March 23, 2010 - Posted by | Health, Politics, SBC | , ,


  1. Richard Land has a distorted view of history. Mr. Land is the representative of Southern Baptists for “Ethics and Religious Liberty”. His disregard for Ethics and disdain for Religious Liberty, strain my Baptist orthodoxy. Baptist history does not have such a narrow mindset. Baptists were the forefront of progressive social justice, yet the conservative takeover of the faith has destroyed our witness.
    Fellow Christians have bought into “Tea Party” activism with more fervor than their service to God. This shift to self-concern is contrary to Scripture. I continue to hear racial slurs, especially here in Mississippi. Some of the most hateful and spiteful messages I receive are from “Christians”. We need not be skeptical of faith, but we must verify the source and truth of messages received.
    Many conservatives, both religious and otherwise, do not know the meaning of the words Communism, Socialism and Fascism. These are all completely at odds with each other. No one can be all of these at the same time.
    Religious liberty is not just for Christians, the Constitution guarantees it. Christians are to witness to the world. There will always be those that resist the Gospel. We should not, ourselves, ignore it.

    Comment by James | March 23, 2010

  2. AMEN !

    Comment by jack | March 23, 2010

  3. As we say in Texas, HANG HIM HIGH!!!!

    Comment by Tammy Murley | March 26, 2010

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