September 19, 2016
After a New Report from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land Asks: Is the Government at War with Religious Freedom?
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Ever since a wedding cake made its way into water-cooler conversation, the topic of religious liberty has been a national consideration, especially for the upcoming presidential election.
Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, a new U.S. Civil Rights Commission report on nondiscrimination protections has some strong language for those who defend their societal views with their religious beliefs.
Martin Castro, chairman of the Commission, says in the report, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
Dr. Richard Land, Evangelical leader and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), frequently focuses on religious freedom in his writing, sermons and daily radio commentaries through “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs nationwide on hundreds of stations.
“Is the government at war with religious freedom?” Land asks. “That question must be answered in the affirmative given the decrees of the Executive Branch of our federal government earlier this month. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has now degenerated into a weapon to be used by our government against the first civil right granted in the Constitution—namely religious liberty.
“Mr. Castro’s words are a declaration of war against all people of traditional religious faith—Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim,” Land continued. “Lest we misunderstand, the Commission’s report, titled ‘Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,’ says, ‘Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination, as embodied in the Constitution, laws and policies, are of pre-eminent importance in American jurisprudence.’ What he means by that, of course, is they take pre-eminence over religious freedom, which must take a back seat. That means that people have the right to coerce others into, for example, baking cakes for same-sex weddings against their will under penalty of law. And it means much more.”
Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn says that Castro’s words rival—in their “crassness”—Hillary Clinton’s recent, and now infamous, “deplorables” comment: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”
“Mr. Castro’s is the prevailing view among progressives,” writes McGurn. “Barack Obama alluded to it when he derided small-town Americans bitterly clinging to guns or religion (i.e., the Second and First Amendments). Ditto for Mrs. Clinton, who in a remark about reproductive rights declared that ‘deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.’”
“What did Mrs. Clinton mean by that?” Land adds. “I think it’s clear; she does not believe that the government nor the culture should people believing that abortion-on-demand, what she calls ‘reproductive rights,’ is sinful and wrong—that those religious beliefs ‘have to be changed.’ Is this an aberration? Sadly, it is not. To Mr. Castro, Mrs. Clinton, and liberals and progressives like them, ‘peaceful coexistence’ means the abject surrender of any religious belief that anyone else finds offensive. And how do they plan to do that? I suspect it involves the heavy hand of government slapping around people of religious belief until they come into line.”
Religious freedom will be a much-discussed topic at SES’s 23rd annual , one of the premier apologetics events in the nation. Hosted by Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road in Charlotte, the event begins Oct. 13 with a women’s conference and continues through the weekend.
In fact, Land—in one of two addresses—will focus on “What is the Moral and Biblical Case for Religious Freedom?” His second topic is, “Are We Losing the Culture War and Does It Matter? Yes & Yes.”
Taking place just three weeks before the presidential election, SES has lined up an impressive program of nationally known speakers who will tackle the many tough topics that have been debated both in society and on the campaign trail. The seminary will welcome such top names as Norman Geisler, Richard Howe, Richard Land, Josh and Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Jay Sekulow, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others.
The theme of the conference, “The Defense Never Rests,” 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.
SES explores ethical issues through its “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program; for more information, visitwww.ethics.ses.edu. Southern Evangelical Seminary also recently unveiled a new apologetics blog atwww.WhyDoYouBelieve.org, where Land and other SES voices address the most pressing issues of the day.
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. SES has also 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 its 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.
For information on SES or to set up an interview with Dr. Richard Land or another representative, contact Jen Retallick, 610-584-1096, ext. 100, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton, 215-815-7716 or610-584-1096, 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.