Press Release SBC’s Land: ‘Neither defense nor assessment should be confused with endorsement’ By Staff Nov 13, 2007 NASHVILLE, Tenn.—CNN.com reported Nov. 9 that Governor Mitt Romney made the following statements at a private event in South Carolina: “I get good support from evangelical Christian leadership around the country, you know, despite a difference in religion… I think it was Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention who said we’re not electing a pastor-in-chief, and so I appreciate that support and just you remember that when you go to vote.”Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, responded to Romney’s remarks today. “Defending Governor Romney’s right to run is very different than endorsing Governor Romney, which I have not done,” Land said.As far as research conducted by the ERLC can ascertain, Dr. Land is the source of two variations of the same quote referencing Governor Romney: “We’re not electing a theologian-in-chief, but a commander-in-chief” and “We’re not electing a pastor-in-chief, but a commander-in-chief.”Land explained the difference as follows, “Those statements were made in response to questions about whether or not Governor Romney’s faith was an absolute ‘deal breaker’ for Evangelicals in selecting a presidential candidate, not an endorsement of Governor Romney.“I have defended various candidates from time to time when I’ve felt that they have been unfairly or inaccurately criticized. At other times, I have been asked by the media for my assessment of a particular candidate’s chances or weaknesses and strengths. Neither defense nor assessment should be confused with endorsement. As a matter of policy, I have not endorsed, do not endorse and will not endorse candidates.”p(notes). The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.3 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.