June 23, 1999

Land says his exclusion proves
CNN is 'slanting the news' on SBC

___ATLANTA--Southern Baptists must not sit still for unfair media abuse and hostility, Richard Land insisted during his annual report to the Southern Baptist Convention as president of the denomination's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
___"We live in a time of unprecedented moral and spiritual crisis in our nation," Land said. "And in the very time when our nation most needs to hear a sure and certain word from God through his people, those in the media and those in the press and those in society who oppose us are doing their very best to oppress us."
___As an example, he spoke about a recent experience with CNN. "CNN is slanting the news. CNN is trying to beat up on Southern Baptists. And we're not going to stand for it silently anymore."
___Land said CNN recently scheduled a program on Southern Baptists, featuring
RICHARD LAND says CNN is slanting their news coverage through the selection and exclusion of guests their programs.
Americans United Executive Director Barry Lynn and California Baptist pastor and conservative activist Wiley Drake. Despite the suggestion that Land be invited in his capacity as spokesman for Southern Baptists on public policy issues, CNN called Land only to ask if he would be in the audience, he said.
___This selection of guests that excludes people like him is typical of how CNN "slants the news," Land said.
___"Bro. Wiley, I love you, but you're just too nice a guy to go up against Barry Lynn. You need somebody with a mean streak like me," Land said. "You've employed me to take on the Barry Lynns of this world, and I do it."
___To make matters worse, Lynn said during the program that Land once asserted the SBC ought to marry the Republican Party, Land said.
___"That's not what I said," Land told messengers. "I said if the Republican Party wants the support of people who believe in God and who believe in the sanctity of all human life from conception onward and believe in the traditional family and believe that homosexuality is deviant and immoral behavior and shouldn't be approved and affirmed by the president of the United States, then they need to come and endorse our values and our beliefs and our understanding of the truth."
___If Southern Baptists are to support a candidate, they want a formal marriage ceremony, Land said, unlike Lynn, whom he said is "in bed with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party without benefit of matrimony."
___In reply, Lynn said in an interview that he stands by his assertion that Land sought to marry the SBC and the Republican Party. He quoted from a March 23, 1998, New York Times story about a meeting of conservative activists in Washington.
___According to Lynn, the Times story quoted Land issuing this warning to Republican leaders: "The go-along, get-along strategy is dead. No more engagement. We want a wedding ring. We want a ceremony. We want a consummation of the marriage."
___As for Land's comments that Lynn is "in bed" with Democrats without benefit of marriage, Lynn said: "I never attend any political function, no strategy sessions. If I find out there is a meeting scheduled where Democratic operatives are going to run it, I do not attend."

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