By Terry Vanderheyden

WASHINGTON, November 25, 2005 ( – A Southern Baptist leader disagrees with the claim of an anti-poverty campaigner who said that poverty was the number one “inhumane” problem afflicting the US.

“I don’t think the most damaging issue in this country today is poverty,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, according to a report. “There’s not a single day that goes by, for the last 32 years (since Roe vs. Wade) that I have not personally grieved and prayed for the 4,000-some odd babies, disproportionately African-American babies, I might add, who have been aborted.”

“I believe that government has a responsibility to protect life, and that includes unborn life,” Land added. “And I personally will not rest until it is protected.” Land was appointed by President Bush to a United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Land also speaks for the Southern Baptist Convention to the media and before Congress.

“It is to me an abomination (that) the most dangerous place an American has been for the last 32 years is in his or her mother’s womb — because they have a 33% chance of being killed between conception and birth.”

“I hear all the arguments, such as you can’t be just pro-life from conception to birth. And, we certainly try not to be. And we work hard not to be. But you can’t be pro-life just from birth onward when one-third of the babies are being eliminated before birth.”

One reporter yelled out during the press conference: “Poverty affects way more people than abortion ever does. I don’t know how you say that with a straight face.”

“Well, I’m sorry if you disagree with it,” he replied. “Yes, because over 45 million Americans have been killed in the last 32 years, against their will. They had no choice. Poverty may have diminished the lives of, it may have harmed millions of Americans, but it hadn’t killed 45 million people.”

Land added: “We don’t believe that any human being ought to have the absolute right of life and death over another human being, even (if) it’s a mother.”

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