THIS LAND WASN’T MADE FOR YOU AND ME…. Last week, we talked about religious right leader Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who condemned health care reform in unusually offensive terms. “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,” Land told an audience in Florida on Sept. 26. In the same remarks, Land compared Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel to Josef Mengele.
Initially asked to defend his comments, Land refused to walk them back. Specifically on likening Emanuel to Nazis, Land insisted “the analogy is apt and I stand by it.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman contacted Land to express his concerns: “While we understand there are deep convictions and passions regarding the healthcare reform, whatever one’s views are, the Nazi comparison is inappropriate, insensitive and unjustified.”
This week, Land finally expressed some regret.
“It was never my intention to equate the Obama administration’s healthcare reform proposals with anything related to the Holocaust,” Land wrote.
“Now that I have had the opportunity to speak with you personally and reflect on my words, I deeply regret the reference to Dr. Josef Mengele,” Land added. “I was using hyperbole for effect and never intended to actually equate anyone in the Obama administration with Dr. Mengele. I will certainly refrain from making such references in the future. I apologize to everyone who found such references hurtful. Given the pain and suffering of so many Jewish and other victims of the Nazi regime, I will certainly seek to exercise far more care in my use of language in future discussions of the issues at stake in the healthcare debate.”
I suppose it may be ungracious to criticize someone trying to show regret, but this isn’t much of an apology. Land didn’t “intend” to equate reform with “anything related to the Holocaust”? He said Democratic efforts are doing “precisely what the Nazis did.” What, exactly, did he “intend”? He “regrets” the Mengele reference? When given a chance to walk it back, Land said “the analogy is apt and I stand by it.”
What’s more, Alex Koppelman noted, “Land didn’t apologize for the substance of his comments, and reiterated allegations about the Obama administration’s proposals that are demonstrably false. And he doesn’t seem to have apologized to Emanuel himself.”