July 8, 2010

CHRISTIANITY COMES AS A SURPRISE?:

Southern Baptists, Obama and illegal immigration (Jim Galloway, 7/07/10, Atlanta Journal Constitution)

[I]t comes as something of a surprise to learn that one of the most prominent voices pushing a bipartisan deal on immigration — and urging more cautious rhetoric when discussing it — belongs to an institution of the solid Southern right.

Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is through his Nashville offices that the nation’s largest Protestant denomination engages Washington on topics such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research. The SBC is against both.

But last week, when President Barack Obama gave his speech demanding action on immigration reform, Land was among those invited to sit in the audience. Because he had been among a group of conservative evangelical leaders who asked Obama to deliver it.

“I met with the president’s people about 10 days prior to that and urged them — for him to give a major speech on the issue,” Land said Sunday, after he’d delivered three sermons in Flowery Branch. “I said, ‘He needs to give a speech like the race speech he gave —which makes it clear that he understands both sides.’”

Afterwards, Land praised the president’s speech as a good start, likening it to an “initial proposal” of marriage.

“We need to call upon our congressmen and senators to behave like statesmen. Politicians think about the next election. Statesmen think about the next generation,” Land said.

And the Arizona law? “To me, it’s a symptom. It’s a cry for help from a state that feels the federal government has let it down and is not doing its job,” he said.

Land and his Baptist brethren were among those who supported the Ted Kennedy-John McCain compromise on immigration reform that exploded in 2007, damaging every Republican close to it — including U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.

Land’s position remains much the same. Among active Southern Baptists, he said, “there’s clearly a consensus behind comprehensive immigration reform that secures the border first — and then lays out a compassionate, just pathway to earning citizenship or legal status.”


What would be surprising is if they'd learned nothing from their disgraceful truck with Jim Crow.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 8, 2010 3:07 PM
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