Richard Land retires to embrace his bigotry.
The country’s most prominent denominational figure is stepping down after 25 years at the Southern Baptist Convention to officially become an unrestricted free agent in the Religious Right. Richard Land is not the leader of the Southern Baptists—he holds the wordy title of president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. But for at least the last decade he has been their de facto representative in the media, thanks in part to his affection for quips and inflammatory rhetoric.
That rhetoric has gotten Land in trouble with his colleagues this year and his announcement last week was accompanied by speculation that the departure is not entirely voluntary. Land himself made the not terribly gracious observation in his retirement letter that, “My denominational service, while always close to my heart, has to some degree inevitably limited my participation in the culture war’s political debates.” He added: “I believe the ‘culture war’ is a titanic struggle for our nation’s soul and as a minister of Christ’s Gospel, I have no right to retire from that struggle.”
Amy Sullivan —“Richard Land Goes Out On the Bottom”