A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Richard Land & The Tyranny of the Majority

In the September/October issue of LIBERTY magazine, G. Edward Reid offers a thoughtful critique of Richard Land's The Divided States of America? What Liberals AND Conservatives are missing in the God-and-Country shouting match. LIBERTY magazine is a religious freedom outreach project sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Reid's fascinating review details Land's neo-majoritarian approach (i.e. majority rules) to church-state relations. As Reid notes, Land argues that America is a democracy and thus should establish moral values consistent with the majority of its citizens. For example....
Dr. Land uses this concept of legislating the moral values of the majority (p. 141) in several more places. For example, “To those who are advocating homosexual marriage, I say, if you think there ought to be same-sex marriage in the United States, then go out and convince a majority of the American people that is what should be done” (p. 160). “The winning team is the one that can put the most able-bodied players on the field with the best game plan for victory. Moral values can carry an election because they are important to the majority of the American people” (p. 162).....
{Land} cites several more similar examples; each time advocating the right of the majority to make the laws that affect everyone. The concern I have for this position is that, thank God, America is not a democracy. If it were, the rights of the minority to their own religious moral values would not be honored and could, in fact, be legislated against! The fact is, America is a constitutional republic. Its citizens are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law. Constitutional Republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy, thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked in electing representatives who govern within the limits of overarching constitutional law, rather than the popular vote having legislative power itself.

I would recommend the book to those who are interested in religious liberty - with the caveat to watch out for the slippery slope of majority rule - even if it is motivated by moral values.
In other related news, Dick Land speaking on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco has urged Congress to let the FDA regulate cigs and other tobacco products. So, kudos to Richard for backing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108 and S. 625).

As a side note, it's always great to see Southern Baptists like Richard Land willing to coalition with religious officials from the United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches, and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism.

It's too bad that just a decade ago the Southern Baptist Convention including Richard Land himself couldn't grasp the importance of working with organizations from across the theological spectrum for the purpose of preserving religious liberty.......

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Anonymous Lee said...

So, Land is working with Faith United Against Tobacco?

Where is Roger Moran when you need him?

9:45 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Yep. The ERLC on behalf of the SBC is a member of Faith United Land has even worked with Ted Kennedy twice this year!

The Roger Morans of the SBC remain curiously silent....

8:28 AM


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