Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist appointed Dr. Richard Land of Nashville, Tennessee, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent and bipartisan federal agency. Frist’s senatorial appointment marks the third term of service to the USCIRF for Land, who President Bush selected for two previous terms (September 2001 to September 2004).
“I am both humbled and honored that Senator Frist would select me as a senatorial appointee to the Commission,” said Land. “There is no work our government is doing that is more important and of which Americans should be more proud than the work we are doing through the USCIRF to stand up for the universal right of the individual’s freedom of conscience in matters of faith.”
Land recognizes the great value of the USCIRF and its global ramifications.
“Too many countries in the world would be paying little, if any, attention to freedom of conscience in matters of the faith of minorities within their borders if it were not for the insistence of the government of the United States. It is terribly important work, and I am honored to be part of it,” said Land.
Commission Chair Michael Cromartie also commented on Land’s appointment.
“I am delighted that Senator Frist has appointed Dr. Land, who in the past has served on this Commission as a presidential appointee,” said Cromartie. “The experience, knowledge and perspective he brings will greatly enhance the work of our Commission. He has been an important asset to the USCIRF in the past, and we enthusiastically welcome his return. … ”
Richard Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988. During his tenure as spokesman on Capitol Hill for the largest Protestant denomination in the country, Dr. Land has represented Southern Baptists’ interests in Congress, before U.S. presidents and in the major media.
In February 2005, Land was featured in Time magazine as one of “The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America.” In May 2004, Land was recognized by the National Journal as one of the 10 top church-state experts “politicians will call on when they get serious about addressing an important public policy issue.”
He is the host of two nationally syndicated radio programs, For Faith & Family and For Faith & Family’s Insight. The For Faith & Family broadcast ministry is heard by more than 1.5 million listeners each week on over 600 radio stations across the country and throughout the world on the Internet. Richard Land Live! is Land’s latest radio initiative and is syndicated on the Salem Radio Network. Most recently, he has authored Imagine! A God-Blessed America and Real Homeland Security: The America God Will Bless (Broadman & Holman Publishers). Land is also executive editor of Faith & Family Values, a national magazine.
Dr. Land is replacing Commissioner Michael K. Young, who has served on the Commission since its inception in 1999 and has served both as USCIRF Chair and Vice Chair.
The Commission consists of nine voting Commissioners and the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who is a non-voting member. Three Commissioners are selected by the president, two by the leaders of the president’s party in Congress, and four by the congressional leaders of the other party.
The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.3 million members in 43,024 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C.