By the Way: Richard Land Must Go

Now we have a chance to see what the religious right is made of—if it truly stands for ethics and values, as its leaders profess, or whether its leaders can continue to engage in gutter politics and get away with it.

According to a report in, Richard Land, during a visit to Criswell College at the end of January, referred to Democratic Senator Charles Schumer as “the schmuck from New York.” Land, one of the most prominent leaders of the religious right, is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

At the very least, we now can now confirm what Land and the religious right regard as “ethical” behavior.

As Bob Allen, managing editor of explains about the epithet “schmuck” (as if any explanation were needed): “The slang term for a stupid, obnoxious or oafish person entered the English lexicon as a borrowed word from Yiddish, where it is an obscene word for male genitalia and an insult.”

But Land wasn’t finished. In the same remarks, he speculated that if John Kerry had won the 2004 presidential election, Kerry would have appointed Hillary Clinton as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. “Clinton would be parking her broom at the Supreme Court for twenty-five years,” Land said.

These remarks, both of them, are outrageous and unworthy of anyone who numbers himself among the followers of Jesus. Land should tender his resignation immediately. And if he doesn’t have the grace to do so, he should be dismissed as an embarrassment to the Southern Baptist Convention and an insult to the faith. If the leaders of the religious right fail to censure Land, and if the officials Southern Baptist Convention put up with obnoxious remarks like these, then they’re even more mendacious than I thought they were.

Richard Land has fashioned an entire career out of bald partisanship and offensive comments. But these remarks represent a new low.

You’ve crossed the line once too often, Mr. Land. It’s time to go.