Richard Land's Sept. 26 speech to the Christian Coalition of Fla. was distinguished by its disregard for the truth. Ignoring nonpartisan fact checking (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) and history itself, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head Land said of health insurance reform efforts:
I want to put it to you bluntly. What they are attempting to do in healthcare, particularly in treating the elderly, is not something like what the Nazis did. It is precisely what the Nazis did.
There is loose within the liberal culture which dominates the Democratic Party and dominates our government at present, a biological bigotry that is feeding a euthanasia mentality.
The Nazis said people should be euthanized when they had lives unworthy of life. … Well, at the very least Dr. Emanuel, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, [Sen.] Max Baucus and President Obama are saying that some people have lives less worthy of life. And the older you are, the sicker you are, the less valuable your life is and the more likely they want to terminate your care.
Florida Baptist Witness Executive Editor James A. Smith Jr.'s decision to report Land's barrage of false claims with no attention to the well-established facts was a failure of journalistic integrity. But the principal failure was still Land's.
Professor of history emeritus at Indiana State University Richard V. Pierard wrote in response:
His action goes beyond the unprincipled behavior of such foul mouthpieces of the right as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. We know that they are ideologues who make big money by spewing their poison over the airwaves and in books consumed by their disciples. Land calls himself a Christian, a Baptist and a historian. I too accept all of these labels and feel he has disgraced them.
Land has distinguished himself in recent years by name-calling and falsehood. In constrast with his triumphant claims to have successfully promoted Sarah Palin as a vice presidential nominee, his latest efforts reek of desperation.