Get to know: Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention

May 8, 2007, 4:35 pm | Posted by

A solidly conservative leader, Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has recently come out in support of comprehensive immigration reform against the majority of the religious Right. Dubbed here by Fox News as the “Power Player” this week, Dr. Land goes through a list of GOP presidential candidates and gives his quick opinion on who he likes and what reservations he has about several of the front runners. In calling himself a conservative, he notes that:

“God may not have a side when it comes to NAFTA and CAFTA, but I believe fervently that God has a side when it comes to the protection of all human life, from conception to natural death and everywhere in between.”

Recently Dr. Land has teamed up with diverse leaders, from George Soros’ Open Society and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to push for six party talks with North Korea as well as working with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, and yes, even Sen. Ted Kennedy during a Capital Hill press conference on solving the immigration issue with compassion. It will be interesting to see how the most powerful official Southern Baptist leader continues to influence American public life and the sixteen million Southern Baptists he serves.

In an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness about his new book, The Divided State of America: What Liberals AND Conservatives are missing in the God and country shouting match, Land states:

Too often too many conservative Christians assume that God is on their side or they tend to conflate God’s interest with America’s interest. That’s an assumption that no one can make about any country, even the United States. As Lincoln put it so eloquently, our responsibility and obligation is to do our very best to be on God’s side rather than assume that God is on our side. We have to understand that our ultimate allegiance belongs to God, not to the United States. If we make patriotism an ultimate value, then it becomes an idol. As important to me as patriotism is, I was always taught by my parents to love my country, and to respect my heritage, and always to love and to respect God even more.

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VIDEO: Capitol Hill Press Event, Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

May 7, 2007, 1:28 pm | Posted by

This morning, Christian faith leaders from across the country gathered for a press conference on Capitol Hill to launch Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a grassroots and ad campaign calling for comprehensive immigration reform that is consistent with biblical values. Ads announcing the campaign ran in Roll Call and CongressDaily today to coincide with the launch.

Faith in Public Life coordinated the press conference, and has full video of the event available below.

For the rest of the press conference, follow these links:

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDn4-qEACL8

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Luv2STtLvbg

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jDBX6PXZdA

Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7fbgM2AWqc

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National Day of Prayer: “Hands that are lifted in praise, ought to come down and fight for justice”

May 4, 2007, 5:55 pm | Posted by

May 3 marks the National Day of Prayer. Here is a sermon clip from the National Action Network pointing out that churches need to avoid mistaking the prosperity gospel for social justice.

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What’s new in the neighborhood?

May 3, 2007, 9:23 am | Posted by

Pam’s House Blend points out that the Hate Crimes Bill is going to a vote today.

After watching the PBS documentary on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Faithful Progressive reflects on religious tolerance. But then he goes after Sam Harris’ intolerance toward religion, noting that Harris recently wrote: “The very ideal of religious tolerance–born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God–is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.”

FP replies:

This is, of course, a very dangerous idea–whether it comes from zealots on the religious right or from atheists who would ban the binding together that is at the essence of religious expression. . . . I don’t care how shrill Mr. Harris and his supporters are in inviting others to share their view that religious belief is inherently flawed. But when they they denounce tolerance, when they seek to deny me my own autonomy and choices, they become bullies who believe they have a monopoly on truth.

Bruce Wilson takes up the issue of intolerance with a massive (and graphic) post on : Gay Hating, Abortion Clinic Bombings, Veiled Threats on “race mixing.”

Update: the Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed.

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Mik Moore, over at JSpot covers “child care, education, health care, and credit cards” in his post: My One-To-One With A Presidential Contender.

The Rev. Chuck Currie points to Wal-mart and says that “Americans ought to demand moral leadership from the corporate community. And all of us – myself included – need to really think about where we shop and invest our money in.”

Talkin’ ’bout public life in faith, Street Prophets’ Pastor Dan notes that former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey will be attending Episcopalian seminary. Xpatriated Texan comments: “I have to admit that I’m a bit hesitant to embrace his path to the priesthood, though. For one, I’ve seen far too many conversions collapse under the weight of disappointment and disillusionment. A person doesn’t mean to set too high of a standard for their church – after all, the church is just a bunch of people – but we do, and it hurts when we realize that and sometimes that leads to withdrawal and abandonment.”

Sojo’s God’s Politics blog has video on a contest to rename the Mission Accomplished banner.

With the news that the Bush administration wants to impose travel restrictions on the British citizens of Pakistani origin, City of Brass asks, can we call it racism now?

Mainstream Baptist notes the new Pew report out on how Latinos are changing American religion. FPL’s David also catches and adds analysis to this interesting data, noting that “Whether Catholic, Evangelical, or Secular, Hispanics by wide margins favor government guaranteed health insurance, and are willing to pay higher taxes for government services.”

Johnny’s Cache lists the top theology blogs.

Real Live Preacher visits Chicago, The Christian Century, and some blog readers.

Christian Alliance for Progress notes that the former president of the college where Bush will be speaking has written an op-ed in the school paper denouncing the visit.

Whispers in the Loggia opines on “Pope Benedict’s repeatedly-delayed motu proprio on the celebration of the Tridentine Mass>

In the mood for some Muslim satire? You may have picked up some of the far right complaints about PBS not airing a documentary on “moderate Islam in America,” well, Progressive Islam (Sheep are for Eid) pokes lots o’ funny holes.

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Get to know: Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill (and why it matters to you)

May 1, 2007, 12:42 pm | Posted by

The Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill (RWG) is a coalition of sixteen Churches and faith-based organizations: Bread for the World, Church World Service, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington Office, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, Lutheran World Relief, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, NETWORK, Progressive National Baptist Convention, and Together For Hope: The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Rural Poverty Initiative.

The reason that such a massive coalition formed is because 2007 represents a critical moment in U.S. agricultural policy.

But perhaps you’re not a farmer, so how does the farm bill affect you?

Daniel Imhoff is a writer and researcher on issues related to food, the environment, and design. He is the author of numerous articles, essays, and books including Paper or Plastic: Searching for Solutions to an Overpackaged World (Watershed Media/Sierra Club Books 2005); Farming with the Wild: Enhancing Biodiversity on Farms and Ranches (Watershed Media/Sierra Club Books 2003).

The group is also urging Congress to address the negative impact current U.S. agricultural and trade policies have on people living in impoverished countries around the world. . .

Church World Service and Oxfam America is especially concerned about recent unprecedented levels of market consolidation in agriculture which make competition unfair and leads to greater poverty in the U.S. and in the developing world. Production controlled by a limited number of corporate interests eliminates market transparency and creates an environment ripe for price manipulation and discrimination. It creates an atmosphere where supply and demand are controlled by the same actors. To remedy this problem, CWS recommends that stronger competition policies with reliable enforcement mechanisms are included in the 2007 Farm Bill

Learn more here.

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