Press Releases

Land calls election ‘one more chance’ for Republicans

November 3, 2010

Washington—Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, provided analysis today on the midterm election results.

“This was an historic election. It will be looked upon in the future as an election that changed the political landscape of the country. The House of Representatives was designed by the founding fathers to be the most immediately responsive to the will of the people, with every seat up for election every two years, whereas the presidency is up for election every four years and only about one-third of the Senate is up for election every two years.

“The Republicans have gained at least 61 seats in the House. It probably will be at least 64 or 65 when the dozen or so currently undecided races are decided. This is the largest shift in the House in a midterm election in nearly a century. It is the greatest shift in any election in the House since the Democrats gained over 70 seats in the 1948 Truman-Dewey presidential election.

“As voters went to the polls, half of them said they wanted Obamacare repealed and less than half that number wanted it kept. Among those who were exit-polled, 54 percent disapproved of the president’s performance and 45 percent approved. The unpopularity of the president was exceeded only by the unpopularity of Congress with 25 percent approving and 73 percent disapproving of congressional performance.

“This was clearly a rejection at a basic level of the president’s economic policies and Obamacare. However, it was not an affirmation of the Republican Party. It was a decision by a majority of the American people to give the Republicans one more chance to cut the size of government, cut government spending and repeal and start over with health-care reform. The Republican establishment in Washington would do well to listen to the 60-plus House freshmen who are coming to Congress straight from the real world.

“On the Senate side, the Republicans did better than the average gain in midterm elections, which is 3.3 seats. The Republicans gained at least six, and possibly seven, seats, which would be about double the average. Of the 37 Senate seats up for election, the Republicans won at least 24, which would be about two-thirds of the seats being contested.

“However, the most lasting impact of this election will be the Republican wins in governorships and state legislatures. Republicans won the governor’s mansion from Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and half a dozen other states, and carried the state legislatures as well. The impact that this has after the Census this year is difficult to adequately describe.

“Political experts will tell you that having the ability to control the redistricting process in states like the ones mentioned above,—as well as Florida and Texas—populous states which Republicans retained and which will gain numerous congressional seats after the Census, is monumental. It could make as much of a difference as 30 seats nationally in the House of Representatives in every election for the next 10 years. The dramatic gains Republicans made in governorships and state legislatures will make it much more difficult for Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives until at least 2020 and the next Census.

“Typical of the change that took place is what happened in Tennessee, where the governorship went from Democratic to Republican by a two-to-one margin, and the congressional delegation went from a 5-4 Democratic edge to a 7-2 Republican majority.

“In addition, for the first time since Reconstruction in the 1870s, Tennessee now has a Republican governor and a state Senate and House controlled by the Republican Party. The extent of this seismic shift can be illustrated by the results in the Sixth Congressional District, which was Al Gore’s old House seat. It had been solidly Democratic since well before the Civil War, but Republican Diane Black beat the Democrat 67 percent to 29 percent. That’s at least a revolution with a small ‘r.’

“Judicial arrogance also received at least a stiff blow to the solar plexus. In Iowa, where the state Supreme Court imperiously ignored the will of the people and imposed same-sex marriage on the populace of that state, the people have responded.

“Iowa has retention elections for judges (what a great idea). The people voted ‘not to retain’ the three state Supreme Court justices who were up for a retention vote, with none of the three receiving the majority vote they needed to keep their seats on the court.

“As signs at the victory rally declared, ‘No Activist Judges’ and ‘It’s we the people, not we the courts.’ Kudos to the people of Iowa for reminding us that it is government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ not ‘of the judges, by the judges, for the judges.’

“In a further exercise of people power, Oklahoma voters forbade judges from considering either international law or Islamic law when deciding cases. The sponsor of the measure called the vote ‘a preemptive strike’ to prevent judicial imperialists from ‘legislating from the bench or using international law or Sharia law.’

“Isn’t democracy a wonderful thing to behold?”

_The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 44,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C._

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24