One of the leaders of the nation’s influential Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) tells Newsmax that President Obama is “very dangerous” in his economic policies and his foreign policy is causing “severe damage” to U.S. standing in the world.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and author of the book “The Divided State of America: What Liberals and Conservatives Are Missing In The God And Country Shouting Match”, told Newsmax.TV that the cultural war is heating up. Christians must remember that God is not partisan.
“And on many of the most important issues we deal with as a society, God does have a side,” Land said. “God’s not a Democrat; God’s not a Republican, but God’s pro-life.”
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“Religious groups need to maintain their integrity and the truth of their principles,” Land said.
He pointed out that Southern Baptist make up a “disproportionate” membership in the Armed Forces and that the SBC strongly opposes any changes to military policies relating to gays in the military. He suggested that changes Obama has stated he will make would undermine military readiness because it could cause many evangelicals serving in the military to leave.
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Land said the SBC has been fighting liberal social policies, and had played a leading role in getting anti-abortion proposals passed in the House under the Pitts-Stupak Amendment that banned federal funding in the new health care bill.
Land noted the role Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., an evangelical who received the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s distinguished service award in the past year, played and important role in getting the amendment passed in conjunction with Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. Though the nation’s Catholic bishops had been credited with helping push the amendment through Congress, Land said several players made the funding cut-off possible,
“The Catholic bishops certainly played a major role, but so did the National Association of Evangelicals, so did Southern Baptists, so did the American Family Association run by Don Wildmon, and so did Focus on the Family,” Land said. “A lot of these organizations are basically Evangelical Protestant.
Land suggested that religious groups also need to look beyond social issues and unite on practical solutions to economic questions.
He gave President Obama a failing grade on his handling of the economy.
“High confiscatory taxation does not work; it does not bring about prosperity,” he said. “Let’s look at China and India. China was a communist country that became a capitalist country economically. It has addressed far more poverty as a capitalist country than it ever addressed as a communist country.”
The Obama administration’s rush to head in the opposite economic direction of where India and China have been heading particularly troubles Land.
“I think [Obama] can be particularly dangerous,” Land said. “I think he can do significant damage to our economy; I think he is doing significant damage to our economy …The stimulus package has clearly not worked.”
Land compares the Obama administration’s economic policies to those of Japan, which have kept Japan mired in a recession for more than a decade.
He said Obama would have found greater success had he emulated the policies Ronald Reagan followed in the early 1980s to stamp out similar high unemployment and other economic problems by cutting taxes and putting money in people’s pockets.
Turning to international matters, Land offered a similar pessimistic assessment of Obama’s handling of U.S. foreign policy.
“I also think he could do severe damage to peace in the world,” Land said. “Unfortunately, I think a lot of the really bad people in the world don’t believe that Barack Obama is a tough guy.
“They see him more as Hamlet: ‘To be or not to be.’”
Land says Obama should trust the advice Gen. Stanley McChrystal has given him with regard to the number of troops he has requested in Afghanistan to ensure he is successful.
“I believe he should either fulfill general’s request and give him the troops and the materials he needs to finish the job, or we ought to withdraw,” Land said. “The most immoral thing we could do is to leave just enough troops there to get killed, but not enough to do the job we have asked them to do.”
Obama, he said, should take a stronger line against the Iranian regime and its effort to pursue nuclear weapons by imposing a gasoline embargo against the nation and supporting the opposition.
“I think it has been disgraceful that Obama has not been more supportive in his statements about the Iranian dissidents that want to overthrow the rogue regime that runs Iran,” Land said.
Helping the opposition to overthrow the Islamic government, he said, is especially important to prevent the Israelis from attack Iran and thus trigger a wider conflict. He told Newsmax he has no regrets about having sent a letter to former President George W. Bush endorsing the war in Iraq as a just war because it has led to Iraq becoming the most democratic country in the Arab world.
Land expressed particular concern over the implications of the Fort Hood shooting and the military’s embrace of political correctness and its failure to follow up on the warning signs Maj. Nidal Hasan displayed prior to the massacre.
“This guy should have been kicked out of the Army a long time ago,” Land said. “If we sacrifice that kind of political correctness that refused to remove this guy then maybe we can have diversity and safety for our troops.”
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