Despite serving a quarter century as the Southern Baptist Convention’s point man on public policy, Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land says he never had the White House’s ear the way he does now as a member of President Donald Trump’s faith advisory team.
“They have listened,” Land told guest host Ronnie Floyd on the July 31 edition of Washington Watch with Tony Perkins. “Not only do we have access, but we have had impact on decisions. We have had impact on policy. It’s a whole different atmosphere. There really is a different atmosphere in the White House, in the administration.”
“I think the president is absolutely fascinated by evangelicals,” said Land, who retired four years ago after 25 years as president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “I don’t think he ever was around evangelicals much until he ran for president. I think he’s interested in what we have to say. He’s fascinated by us, and he finds us to be in synch with him on a lot of things.”
“People need to realize, this guy is from Queens,” Land said. “He’s not from Manhattan. When he was working for his dad, he formed an emotional bond with those blue-collar construction workers that he was supervising, and he really cares about ordinary folk and the plight that we’re in and the fact that our government has not been serving us.”
Both Land and Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas and immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, attended the July 10 White House gathering of evangelical leaders that culminated in a photo widely circulated on social and mainstream media showing the group surrounding the president and laying hands on him in prayer inside the Oval Office.
“You were there when we had the work day,” Land, long recognized as a leader in the Religious Right, said to Floyd. “Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer — who actually worked in the Reagan White House — and Ralph Reed and myself all testified to the fact that we’ve never had the kind of open access to the administration that we’ve had in this administration.”
“It is sort of nice when you walk around the halls of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and you keep running into people you know who are evangelical,” Land said. “Personnel is policy, and there are more evangelicals in this administration as personnel than any administration in my lifetime, probably since Calvin Coolidge. It’s a lot easier to explain evangelical concerns to evangelicals.”
SOURCE: BOB ALLEN
Baptist News Global