Land, others urge GOP to prioritize social issues

WASHINGTON (BP)--Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land has joined nearly 30 other conservatives in calling on Republican leaders in the new Congress not to ignore issues such as abortion and marriage.

The president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the other signers urged presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner and his fellow GOP leaders to include social issues as legislative priorities with economic and national defense matters.

"When considering America's fiscal and national defense policies, which are critically important, we believe that social issues, including, but not limited to, the sanctity of human life and the preservation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, are indispensable," the Dec. 20 letter said.

The signers said they believe focusing on all three issues is "essential for America and our future."

"A stool with only one or two legs is unstable," they said. "All three legs are necessary. We believe it is critically important that the leadership, and those appointed or elected to lead, embrace all three legs of the stool. A broad-based and sustainable movement requires all three core values."

The 112th Congress will open Wednesday, with Boehner, an 11-term representative from Ohio, expected to be elected speaker of the House. Republicans captured the House majority from Democrats in November's election. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia will likely be elected as the majority leader.

The letter went to Boehner and Cantor, as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.

In addition to Land, other signers were Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, and Jim Garlow, chairman of Renewing American Leadership.

In September, House Republicans issued "A Pledge to America" in which they said they would institute a ban on all federal funding of abortion and enact conscience protections for pro-life health-care providers if they gained majority status in the November election. The document did not promise, however, to pass a measure to protect marriage as a union between only a man and a woman or to turn back efforts to expand laws that provide special privilege to homosexuals.

The House reportedly will vote Jan. 12 on legislation to repeal last year's health-care reform law, which authorizes subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion.


Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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