Is Richard Land the New James Dobson?
DonByrd printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 04:58:58 PM EST
People For the American Way's Right Wing Watch blog speculates that the "new political powerbroker" of the religious right, overstepping James Dobson, may be Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Depending on the type of contest they use to determine a successor, my money might have been on Chuck Norris instead. But it does indeed seem like Land is challenging Dobson at every opportunity.
Starting with Land's questioning of Dobson's efforts to move the National Asssociation of Evangelicals away from global warming and other environmental issues, and his unlikely recent association with Ted Kennedy in urging comprehensive immmigration reform, Right Wing Watch then quotes a recent story in The Hill demonstrating the SBC leader's involvement in 2008 presidential politics.

The top rung of Republican presidential candidates has too many flaws for social conservatives to offer any candidate their full support, but former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) could be just the man to fill that hole, according to evangelical leader Richard Land.

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Religious and Ethics Liberty Commission, Land said Thompson would be a formidable candidate and more likely to shake up the top tier than an entry by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

Thompson, the former senator-cum-television star who is considering a bid, is "a masterful retail politician" who could appeal to a wide swath of voters, including a currently dissatisfied group of social conservatives, Land said.
The issues of marriage and adultery also give Land pause when it comes to Gingrich, the choice of many conservatives unhappy with the current field.

"I think Fred would make much more of a splash than Newt would," Land said. "I wouldn't vote for [Gingrich]."

Land said he has talked about Gingrich and Giuliani with some conservatives, who say they have received assurances from the candidates on a number of issues, including would-be nominations of so-called strict-constructionist judges.

But Land said he asks those conservatives how they can trust a candidate who has broken his marital vows in the past.

"He lied to them; what makes you think he won't lie to you?" Land said he asked.

Dobson has made no secret of his support of Gingrich and recently said of Thompson that he didn't think the former Senator was really a Christian. And now, Land is clearly taking the opposite tact.

How about we just settle this on Chuck Norris' World Combat League? Dobson v. Land? Winner take all? I'd pay to see that.

Read 'The Architect' by Moore and Slater to understand where Land fits in. Pure politics.

by mreyn on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 07:16:40 PM EST
I missed Bill Berkowitz's piece on Land from April 7 - but there is plenty of good stuff about Richard there as well.

by DonByrd on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:41:14 PM EST

On Hardball last Friday (I think), Land expressed interest in Thompson and described him as "Southern Fried Reagan"

by Big Daddy Weave on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:05:21 PM EST
not sure that sounds as appealing as he seems to think. Think he focus-grouped that phrase, Weave?

by DonByrd on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:06:38 PM EST
That seems problematic to me in so many ways... Reagan's been accorded in many cultural circles almost the status of sainthood.

"Southern fried saint" ?

I suppose it's that word "fried" I keep getting hung up on.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 10:40:34 PM EST

Dobson and Land sure aren't shy about sharing their campaign endorsements are they?

by DonByrd on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:09:40 PM EST

Did you see Land's conciliatory tone on the Colbert Report tonight?

by texasinafrica on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 12:09:58 AM EST

He seemed reasonable rather than alarming. Perhaps he was just playing to that audience. Or perhaps it's because he understands that if current trends continue, a theocracy, (though he'd never call it that), is likely. A large majority of Americans are Christian. And he correctly pointed out that in Protestantism, they're steadily moving from the mainline churches to the conservative ones. Even without the efforts of the IRD, this trend will soon consign mainline churches to insignificance. Catholics can't really go anywhere. But the leaders are becoming more conservative, so most of the sheep will follow. They also have much of the political power they need; Republicans are largely under their control and Democrats are afraid of them. Helping this along is the increasing fanaticism in other religions, especially Islam. Many Muslim parents are unhappy with the excessive conservatism of their children. And with the success of Left Behind, Passion Of The Christ, Christian pop and rock music etc, one must admit, this is no longer a subculture. It's a big part of mainstream culture. All this was probably preventable 30 years ago, but there were very few of us fighting back then, and we weren't as good as we should have been at conveying our message or finding solutions.

by Dave on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 08:35:36 PM EST

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