Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Richard Land and other prominent conservatives call for GOP immigration reboot

Richard Land
Nashville's own Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a conservative Christian talk show host, has joined other prominent national conservatives in calling for a balanced reform of the U.S. immigration bureaucracy. Their loose coalition is called Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which kicked off a media blitz with a conference call on April 29.  Other members of the Coalition include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Carlos Gutierrez, secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush; Rev. Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Marcos Witt of the Lakewood Church in Houston; and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Land told The Hill that he was calling for Southern Baptists to contact their representatives in Washington to put aside partisan gamesmanship:
We’re encouraging Southern Baptists to reach out to senators and congressmen to encourage Democrats and Republicans to quit playing politics and deal with immigration reform in a fair way.
Land doesn't back away from trying to deprogram popular conservative frames, like equating immigration violations with moral depravity...
It should be remembered that most of these undocumented workers who have broken the law (and thus should be penalized) came here in order to work whereas most of our home-grown criminals break the law in order to avoid work. (Source: BPNews.net)
...and the loose use of the word "amnesty"...
Those who say that making someone pay a fine, get to the back of the line, learn English and take a civics class in order to get legal status is 'amnesty' need to take a remedial English class. (Source: AZCentral.com)
That having been said, Land roundly denounces what he deems to be an accurate definition of amnesty: forgiveness without penalty. Land says - at minute 22:20 of this broadcast - that he wants there to be penalty or punishment on the path to legal status, and it is just a matter of deciding on the penalty or punishment.  He also says in the same broadcast that he wants punishment of employers.

Land is certainly a member of the conservative Christian political movement - check out his defense on Phil Valentine's show of the Christian chops of his fellow Tennessean and former Presidential candidate Fred Thompson - and tune in to his Richard Land Live show for more audio evidence of his politically conservative credentials. Land certainly wants to keep the conservative movement strong. He told CNN that he didn't want to lose Hispanics on the immigration issue, because otherwise they have a lot in common:
Hispanics are hard-wired to be like us on sanctity of life, marriage and issues of faith...I'm concerned about being perceived as being unwelcoming to them.
As part of the Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform effort, Land has participated in the conference call, posted a full-length essay on finding balance in the law, and signed the National Association of Evangelicals' full-page ad in Roll Call urging Congress to pass bipartisan immigration reform.

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