The Southern Baptist Convention’s top expert on moral concerns said in a recent radio interview that LGBT activists are attempting to discredit opponents in the same way that society has come to ostracize the Ku Klux Klan.
Discussing the Boy Scouts of America’s possible lifting of a ban on gays Feb. 28 on the Heritage Foundation’s Istook Live radio program, Land said “homosexual activists” will not tolerate hearing from people like conservative Christians who adhere to “moral absolutes.”
“Their agenda is to have the homosexual lifestyle affirmed by society as healthy and normal and as a perfectly acceptable alternative to young people, and to have those who disagree with that ostracized to the level of being Ku Klux Klan,” Land said.
Land’s comment attracted attention from blogs including the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles-based news and commentary site Opposing Views and the Right Wing Watch media-monitoring program by People For the American Way.
Land told radio host and former Congressman Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) the current Boy Scouts flap is symptomatic of a larger campaign to normalize LGBT behavior.
“The homosexual activists have gone after the cultural icons of our culture,” he said. “They have gone after the military, the most admired institution in American society. They’ve gone after Disney, the family friendly, supposedly, network and family friendly entertainment venture. They’ve gone after marriage. What can be holier than marriage? Now they’re going after the Boy Scouts.”
Land said the activist agenda eventually extends to every front. “They’ve gone after the cultural icons first, but there is no place that they’re not going to go,” he said. “Their overall agenda is really quite breathtaking.”
“They do not want toleration,” Land said. “They do not want live and let live. They want to force everyone to affirm their lifestyle as perfectly healthy and normal, or they will ostracize us and marginalize us to the level of Ku Klux Klan.”
Land offered advice about how to balance personal relationships with gay individuals alongside the public message they are unfit for organizations like the Boy Scouts.
“The Bible has told us to hate the sin and love the sinner,” he said. “We’re not talking about ostracizing people. I have relatives who are homosexual. I have friends who are homosexual and lesbian, and I treat them with dignity and with respect. They know that I do not approve of their lifestyle. They know I believe the Bible does not approve of their lifestyle, but that does not give me any reason to treat them any differently than I would anyone else when it comes to the workplace or it comes to social activities.”
Land said the issue boils down to deciding between the supposed rights and privileges of adults and society’s obligation to protect children. “In the last few days, most of what I’ve heard is, ‘Have the Boy Scouts lost their mind?’” he said.
“Why would you put adult leaders and mentors in places of authority and leadership of a boys’ organization when they have defined themselves as homosexual — meaning that they are sexually attracted to males?” he asked. “It would be the equivalent of allowing heterosexual men to be Scoutmasters for Girl Scout troops.”
“One does not have to assert that one group is more prone to pedophilia than another to say if you put men in mentoring positions of trust and authority in campout situations with young teens to whom they are sexually attracted, either heterosexually or homosexually, human tragedies will follow,” he said.
Land advised Boy Scout leaders to take into account that many of the sponsors of scouting troops are churches. “If they change this policy, I can tell you from a Southern Baptist perspective, the hundreds of thousands of Boy Scouts who are Southern Baptists will no longer be Scouts,” he predicted.
The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention recently adopted a resolution of appreciation in advance of Land’s upcoming retirement. The resolution commends Land for “addressing moral issues such as homosexuality, health care, fiscal policy, education, obscenity and gambling from a biblical perspective.”
The statement credits Land with leading “positive, proactive stances toward vital areas of ministry in regard to the homosexual lifestyle” as founding co-chair of the SBC Ministry to Homosexuals Task Force in 2007.
It also gives high marks for Land’s work in the area of racial reconciliation. His accomplishments include service on a special Baptist World Alliance commission on racism in 1992.
He was a principle architect of an SBC resolution on racial reconciliation adopted by the convention marking its 150th anniversary in 1995. He also has chaired an inter-agency task force of denominational leaders on racial reconciliation.
As a member of the Baptist Faith and Message study commission in 2000, Land pushed for inclusion of specific language identifying racism as a systemic and personal sin that all Christians should oppose.
Land’s 25-year track record with Southern Baptists received a black eye in 2012, when some prominent African-American Southern Baptists objected to comments he made on the Richard Land Live radio program accusing civil-rights leaders and President Obama of race-baiting in response to the Feb. 26 shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.