Richard Land: Social Issues Key in Evangelicals Choosing Santorum

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  • Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum attends a campaign event at a restaurant in Florence, South Carolina January 15, 2012.
    (Photo: Reuters/Eric Thayer)
    Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum attends a campaign event at a restaurant in Florence, South Carolina January 15, 2012.
By Matthew Cortina, Christian Post Reporter
January 16, 2012|6:13 pm

Prominent evangelical Dr. Richard Land appeared on Fox's "The Willis Report" Monday to discuss the GOP presidential nomination and the recent decision by evangelical leaders to support former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and executive editor at The Christian Post, said the group of conservative Christian leaders chose to support Santorum, mostly because of the candidate’s social views.

The key issues, Land said, were "the sanctity of human life, the same-sex marriage issue, being pro-family and how those people, those candidates, have stood on the issues through thick and thin throughout their careers."

Land joined a council of evangelical and conservative Christian leaders in meeting with five representatives of GOP presidential candidates this past weekend in an effort to decide whom to endorse.

"[There was] a real desire to get together to see if it was possible to get behind one of the social conservatives and quit dividing the resources and allegiances three ways," Land said of the meeting of more than 150 social conservative leaders Saturday in Texas.

After hearing pitches from candidates' surrogates Friday and deliberating Saturday morning, a majority of the group voted to endorse Santorum on the third ballot.

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Fox News host Gerri Willis pressed Land, asking if he and the evangelical group could support Romney – or, even, a Mormon.

"I don't endorse candidates," Land responded. "In a general election campaign where he is a pro-life candidate and he's running against a pro-choice candidate, as a matter of conviction, I will always go pro-life."

The ERLC leader did admit that Romney is gaining support throughout the country and went so far as to say that the former Massachusetts governor may be better served by the group’s decision to support Santorum, because evangelicals would feel they had at least made a unified decision and could move on.

Land referred to the need for evangelical group to align and come to a consensus numerous times. The group had originally selected Rick Perry but after what Land called “several goofs and gaffes,” the group divided into factions, with Santorum eventually being chosen.

 

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