Dr. Richard Land

‘Free Speech Fairness Act’ Would Rectify Nefarious Results of Johnson Amendment

October 5, 2016

Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land Says Churches Should be the Conscience of the State

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Congress recently introduced a bill called “The Free Speech Fairness Act” (HR195), which would rectify the nefarious results of the Johnson Amendment, a law that over the years has been confused and misconstrued as a method to silence pastors at the pulpit.

Southern Evangelical Seminary (SESwww.ses.eduPresident and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land recently talked about the new bill on his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive.”

“The Johnson Amendment, named after then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, later President Johnson, prohibits churches and non-profits from taking any action that might be interpreted as involving the church in a political campaign for public office,” Land informed his listeners. “The Johnson Amendment has been used by liberal organizations like the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and others to seek to intimidate and silence pastors and churches in addressing the political issues, which often have deeply moral components that face our nation.

“Recently,” he continued, “thousands of pastors across the country told their congregations that what they say from the pulpit should not be regulated by the government and the IRS, but by God alone. I personally don’t believe that churches should be endorsing candidates for office. Instead, we should be looking for candidates that endorse us, our values, our beliefs, our convictions. But that should always be a decision made by the church and the pastor—not one that is coerced or mandated by the government. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, ‘The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.’”

Land concluded by stating that church leaders should contact their congressmen and senators and encourage them to support “The Free Speech Fairness Act,” which will help restore First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Topics like these will be discussed at SES’s 23rd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics later this month. Top-name speakers such as Norman Geisler, Richard Howe, Richard Land, Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Jay Sekulow, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, among others, will come together for the event, hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 13-15. The 2016 theme is “The Defense Never Rests,” which focuses on the ongoing charge to Christians to defend their beliefs rationally, intelligently and lovingly.

SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on almost 400 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu and read the SES blog at www.WhyDoYouBelieve.org.

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For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Jen Retallick, 610-584-1096, ext. 100,Media@HamiltonStrategies.comor Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.