- Profession: President of the Southern Evangelical Seminary
- Lived: 1946 -
- Nationality: American
- Known for: Current President of the Southern Evangelical Seminary
- Fun Fact: In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Land to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
- Fun Fact: Land advocates for a literal interpretation of the Bible on issues ranging from religious liberty to the economy.
- Fun Fact:
Richard D. Land is the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, a position he's held since July 2013.
He served as president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States, from 1988 to 2013 when he stepped down in the wake of his controversial comments about the Trayvon Martin case. He announced his intention to retire effective October 23, 2013, and Russell D. Moore filled the post.
Land hosted the nationally syndicated radio program Richard Land Live! from 2002 to 2012. He is the executive editor of The Christian Post.
Early Life and Education
Land was born in 1946 in Houston, Texas. He received his A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1969. He later received his Th.M. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Philosophy from Regent's Park, University of Oxford. He did his doctorate research on the Puritan movement in 17th century England.
Public Policy Positions
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Land to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal agency created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, to monitor the freedom of conscience, thought, and religion abroad. Land was the primary author of the "Land Letter," an open letter to President George W. Bush by leaders of the religious right in October 2002 which outlined a "just war" argument supporting the subsequent 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Bush reappointed Land for a second term in June 2004 and was reappointed by Majority Leader Bill Frist in July 2005. Land ended his stint on the commission in 2011, after almost a decade of service. Bush appointed Land to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.
Land was also appointed to a Board of Reference to establish the Judge Paul Pressler School of Law in Shreveport, Louisiana. The facility, which intends to stress the Creator God, inalienable rights, and original intent of the U.S. Constitution, will be tied to Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville.
Land advocates for a literal interpretation of the Bible on issues ranging from religious liberty to the economy. In 2005, Land was recognized as one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America" by Time magazine. In November 2009, Land signed an ecumenical statement known as the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, opposing abortion and same-sex marriage. It was initially signed by about 150 prominent Christian clergy, ministry leaders, and scholars and was released at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Land has also authored several books.
Trayvon Martin Remarks
On the March 31, 2012 edition of Richard Land Live!, Land accused the Obama administration and civil rights leaders of using the Trayvon Martin case to deliberately stir racial tension and "gin up the black vote" for Obama in the 2012 presidential election. His comments were criticized by several black Southern Baptist pastors, who felt they reversed a long effort by the SBC to distance itself from a history of racism.
One of those pastors, Dwight McKissic, even announced a resolution repudiating Land's remarks. Land refused to back down, saying that he would not "bow to the false god of political correctness." Soon after that, he wrote an open letter of apology for "any hurt or misunderstanding" that his words might have caused.