I think that the press, and bloggers, sometimes misunderstand the power of people like Richard Land, an SBC leader. Today, according to the Hill, he joined Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina (and John McCain supporter) to help introduce a bill on comprehensive immigration reform:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) joined a group of Democratic senators and evangelical leaders in calling for action on so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

The lawmakers were also flanked by a group of Hispanic evangelical leaders and Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church.

Now, Hispanic Evangelical leaders shouldn’t be surprising, although, I should point out that they are probably Republican. Richard Land is the one that I want readers to think about.

He is considered a conservative leader. This probably tells us that the SBC will have, at least, a positive stance towards comprehensive immigration reform. Will they say that much about it? Probably not, and few churches are likely to mobilize over it. (although, speaking as the chairman of the Missions Board at my baptist church, some pastors and lay leaders are acutely aware of some of this because it may impact the legality of some of our programs)

Will this protect candidates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback from conservative criticism? My gut is, probably not. A leading Member of Congress on this issue even told me that social conservatives consider immigration reform to be as much a danger to the country as gay marriage. I told him he was over stating it.

However, will this help with outreach to social conservatives and religious voters? Maybe. Marc Ambinder at the Hotline wrote an interesting post on this question.


4 Comments

eyeon08.com » Global warming and the GOP · April 1, 2007 at 9:09 AM

[…] However, as McCain’s town hall speech above indicates, this issue may have a different sort of traction in Iowa, where talking global warming is a way of talking about ethanol and corn subsidies. The combination of a subsidy hungry Iowa and a green New Hampshire may make a more green position. Furthermore, the (phony?) issue of oil independence gives another pressure and excuse to move to the middle. Also recent statements by the Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals may provide some cover, although the statements by Dobson show that there will be pushback. (incidentally, I still don’t know what it means that the candidates filling the Christian conservative space are with the religious groups but not the conservative groups on this issue. It reminds me of immigration) […]

eyeon08.com » Non-presidential politics of the Immigration Bill · May 18, 2007 at 9:30 AM

[…] Finally, as I have pointed out, we are talking about an issue that much of the national coalition agrees on, in principle. For example, Richard Land stood next to Ted Kennedy and Lindsay Graham and praised comprehensive immigration reform. The business community supports and needs this. One of Mitt Romney’s major donors, Mr. Marriott was in town yesterday to lobby for this. […]

eyeon08.com » Huckabee’s foreign policy. Neo-isolationist? · August 14, 2007 at 10:51 AM

[…] Curiously, there is room for tension between this message and his religion. Huckabee seemingly flip-flopped on immigration from a pro-comprehensive stance, supported by the Southern Baptist Convention among others. Huckabee has also expressed a lot of concern over global warming and international poverty and AIDS. His comments on these have been very similar to the "prophetic voice" and "social justice" language that comes out of the evangelical left on many of these issues. (and that, full disclosure, I am sympathetic too) […]

The Right’s Field » Huckabee Would Abolish Birthright Citizenship · August 22, 2007 at 12:31 PM

[…] But if Huckabee is going to violate his own religious beliefs and sell himself out to the nativist crowd, he risks surrendering all these advantages. Anti-immigrationism, as intoxicating as Republicans find it, is the route to a long-term GOP minority, not a majority. Maybe Huckabee is eager to consolidate whatever gains he achieved in Ames by going after cheap support. But that support will come at a dear long-term cost for Huckabee and his party. […]

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