August 10, 2012
After a quarter-century as conservative Christianity’s man on Capitol Hill, Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land is retiring. Brawny of body and mouth, the Oxford PhD and Fox News fixture came to Washington in 1988 to bring fire back to a denomination whose leadership had drifted to the political middle. He became one of the best-known commentators on abortion, no-fault divorce and same-sex marriage, prompting Time magazine to dub him “God’s Lobbyist” in 2005.
But Land announced recently that he will step down next year as head of the convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in Washington. The announcement came after denomination leaders reprimanded him and canceled his radio show because of “damaging” comments about the killing in Florida of black teenager Trayvon Martin and because of Land’s use of other people’s comments on his show without proper attribution.
Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein spoke with Land about the controversies, leaving Washington and changes in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the country’s largest Protestant denomination, which this summer elected its first black leader.
Read the interview here.