Richard Land Urges President to Approve Senators’ Request To Defend 1st Amendment
Southern Evangelical Seminary President: ‘If Christians Accept These Denials of Our God-Given, Constitutionally Protected Freedoms, We Will Lose Them’
August 4, 2020
Charlotte, N.C. — Weeks after the Supreme Court of the United States refused to countermand regulatory attacks on the First Amendment in California and Nevada, U.S. Senators are pressing President Trump to give COVID-19 relief money only to states that allow houses of worship to hold services during the pandemic. Their letter has drawn the support of Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu).
The letter to Trump from Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mike Lee of Utah and others cited “reported cases of states and localities prohibiting religious entities, including houses of worship, from reopening safely despite compliance with safety precautions.” Withholding COVID-19 relief funds intended for those states would send “a clear and unequivocal message that religious liberty matters, and that no state or locality can unilaterally strip away protected constitutional rights,” the Senators wrote.
Dr. Richard Land joined a chorus of religious organizations in support of the Senators’ attempt to defend religious liberty.
“I applaud the senators for urging action, and I pray President Trump approves this request,” Land said. “If Christians accept these denials of our God-given, constitutionally protected freedoms without protesting vigorously, we will lose them.”
The faculty of SES are widely known for their rigorous intellectual defense of both natural law and the Bible as sources of knowable, rational, immovable truths, including those concerning man’s unalienable rights and fundamental freedoms protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Financially penalizing the states in violation of the First Amendment is the only option left, in view of flagrant religious discrimination recently allowed by the Supreme Court, says Dr. Land, who also serves as an editor for The Christian Post.
“At first glance this would seem like an extreme measure,” Land said. “However, as governors and mayors continue to blatantly discriminate against churches, synagogues, and mosques and their worship restrictions are not countermanded by the Supreme Court, the only venue left is for the legislative and the executive branches to act to protect American’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.”
Land reminds his fellow citizens that the Framers of the Constitution, including the authors of the Bill of Rights, elevated the protection of religious liberty to primary status by mentioning it ahead of other freedoms.
On a recent radio broadcast, Land said the failure to defend the constitutionally protected rights of America’s religious community falls at the feet of Chief Justice John Roberts.
“As you will know if you’ve been listening to this program, the dereliction of duty here at the federal level is solely on the head of Chief Justice John Roberts,” Land said. “Just a few weeks ago, Roberts provided the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision, declaring that California’s restriction on houses of worship was constitutional because the state did not put any burden on a church that was not also equally applicable to a symphony or movie theater.
“The First Amendment gives houses of worship more freedom than these other venues,” Land said. “That’s why it’s mentioned first in the First Amendment.”
Chief Justice Roberts has many times cast the deciding vote on the divided Court, including on religious liberty cases, Land noted.
“Then just over a week ago, Justice Roberts once again provided the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision, allowing the governor of Nevada to deny Nevadans their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion,” Land said. “Roberts upheld a state declaration by the governor that put greater restrictions on churches than they put on casinos. In other words, favoring ‘Caesars Palace over Calvary Church,’ as one dissenting justice put it.”
Under Dr. Land’s leadership, Southern Evangelical Seminary continues to be known as an institution that equips evangelicals to articulate the reasons for their orthodox Christian faith.
SES teaches that both moral law and the unalienable rights of every man, woman and child are discoverable in, and descend from, natural law, the fullest revelation and expression of which is found in the Holy Scripture.
Read more about Southern Evangelical Seminary and SES President Dr. Richard Land, as well as his radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on nearly 800 stations nationwide, here. Richard Land is a leading voice of Evangelicals in America. He serves as an executive editor of The Christian Post and President of Southern Evangelical Seminary, a leader in Christian apologetics education.
To interview a Southern Evangelical Seminary representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.