February 5, 2008
Richard Land Believes Voting Agenda will Rest on Abortion
A Southern Baptist Convention leader believes pro-life issues will trump others in the fall election.
Even with all of the talk of the evangelical agenda broadening, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty, believes that the majority of evangelicals will be particularly passionate about one issue next fall.
As long as there is a bright line distinction between the two parties on the life issues, it’s going to suck up all the oxygen in the room when it comes to voting. If evangelicals are forced to choose between a climate policy they like and a pro-life policy they like, they’re going to vote for unborn children. If the price of having the climate policy they like is to vote a candidate to vote for a woman to kill her own baby, it’s too high of a price.
I asked Land what it would take to get evangelical support.
They’ll have to talk about the issues that matter to evangelicals and make it clear that they’re going to be defenders of the unborn, make it clear that they’re going to nominate only strict constructionists, original intent jurists to the Supreme Court, make it clear they’re going to pro-family policies both economically and socially, and for a good portion of evangelicals that they’re support a strong national defense, and they’re going to make it a high priority to keep the country safe from foreign attack.
Even though clear candidates have not emerged from the race, Land is glad that one candidate is out for sure.
The most troublesome prospect that faced them is now gone because they refused to listen to the talking heads and the experts who told them six months ago that they would have to hold their nose and vote for Giuliani. That terrible, wrenching choice of having to vote for the lesser of two evils or to not vote for a pro-choice candidate is now off the table.
If McCain is the nominee, Land believes evangelicals will eventually rally behind him.
The vast majority are going to vote for McCain because he is pro-life and he is pro national defense and pro protection of America. Even if he’s not their first or second choice in the primaries, the vast majority of them will vote for them. In the last presidential election, 78 percent of evangelicals voted for Bush and 22 percent voted for Kerry. I don’t think it’s going to change much if it’s McCain versus Clinton.