Press Release

SBC’s Richard Land comments on Court’s Guantanamo Bay decision

Jun 30, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 30, 2006— Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented on the Supreme Court’s June 29 decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

“Unfortunately, the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, aided and abetted by Justice Kennedy, has cobbled together a majority opinion which weakens presidential powers in a time of war and betrays a serious, and perhaps fatal, misunderstanding of the nature of the threat we face from radical Islamic jihadism,” Land said.

“The majority mistakenly locked into a pre-9/11 mind-set, which sees the Al Qaeda threat as a criminal problem to be dealt with by police and the criminal justice system, rather than as the significant military threat that it is. Make no mistake; we are at war with an enemy that loathes, with every fiber of its being, everything that we stand for as a nation.

“Perhaps the most damaging part in a decision that will seriously weaken the President’s ability as commander in chief to protect the nation is the assertion that terrorists, representing no nation and wearing no uniform, are somehow deserving of the protections of the Geneva Convention covering prisoners of war, protections which exceed those afforded an American citizen arrested for a crime and incarcerated in the local jail. Seldom has a majority of the Supreme Court more vividly illustrated how profoundly they just don’t get it.

“At least 15 of the prisoners incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, upon having been released, have been recaptured on the battlefield fighting Americans. This isn’t a catch-and-release bass tournament; this is life-and-death business. The Congress should work with the President to do everything it can to rectify as much of this despicable decision as possible.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 43,500 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.