Land recognized for defense of religious liberty

By Tom Strode
May 31, 2012

Richard Land was recognized recently in Washington, D.C., for his advocacy of religious freedom.

Liberty magazine, which is published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and two other organizations with roots in the church presented the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission with their national award at the 10th annual Religious Liberty Dinner, which was held May 24 at the Canadian Embassy.

Liberty magazine Editor Lincoln Steed commended Land for his “incredible role” in publicly advocating for religious freedom and saluted Southern Baptists as well. In presenting the award to Land, Steed said Seventh-day Adventists “think very highly of the Baptists” for their long-time support of church-state separation and their continuing leadership as “champions” of religious liberty.

In part, the award honors Land “for representing the ideals of religious freedom to Congress, before U.S. presidents and to the media. . . . [H]e has used his considerable energies as a radio and television host and guest as well as his skills as an author to project a vision of religious freedom that transcends his own faith identity.”

Land told the audience he is “very honored and very humbled to receive this award, and I receive it on behalf of Southern Baptists around the country who stand for religious freedom.”

“And I want to thank you for your stand for religious freedom around the world,” he said as part of his response. “Religious freedom is not an American value. It’s a universal vale. It’s a human value. Every human being deserves the right to work out his or her relationship with their Creator without coercive interference from any government or ecclesiastical [body].”

Land noted that when people of faith bring their faith convictions in the public square, wrongs are righted: “I would argue that every social evil in our nation’s history that has been corrected has been corrected largely because people of various faiths have come together and said, ‘This is wrong, and it should cease.’”

John Baird, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, gave the keynote speech at the dinner.

Other organizations presenting the award to Land were the International Religious Liberty Association and the North American Religious Liberty Association.

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