In Response To ... Richard Land
                                        in Your Bedroom












  More Writings by Bruce Gourley 


Note: This essay first appeared in the November 2006 Baptist Studies Bulletin.

            If you are a married couple, the Religious Right wants to monitor your bedroom activities, according to Southern Baptist mouthpiece Richard Land. 
           Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, does not believe that you have the right to privacy in your marriage.  As quoted in Baptist Press this month, Land recollected, “following a lecture I gave at Harvard University in the spring of 2005, I was asked by a coed: ‘Dr. Land, you seem like a nice guy. Why would you want to interfere in the personal, private relationship of two people?’ I responded by asking how she ever got the idea that marriage is a ‘personal, private relationship.’” 
           In an effort to explain why he wants to monitor the bedroom activities of married couples, Land elaborated on the answer he had given to the Harvard coed the previous year: “Marriage is a social and civic institution with profound public and societal responsibilities, obligations, and consequences. That is why every society in human history has regulated severely who can get married to whom and under what circumstances.”  Land’s decision to call for bedroom monitoring, not surprisingly, was an effort to drive Religious Right voters to the polls for the Congressional elections earlier this month. “The people, not the judiciary, have the right to determine what constitutes the institution of marriage. I urge all voters to consider the facts, to exercise their right to cast their ballot, and to vote their values on November 7,” declared Land.
           The “people” that should determine “who can get married to whom and under what circumstances,” are, of course, those who share the views of Richard Land.
           As to the history of regulating marriage, to which historical moral “value” model do Land and the Religious Right wish to turn?  Perhaps to the biblical model in which the heroes of the faith had multiple wives and concubines and women had absolutely no rights within marriage.  Or perhaps there is a yearning to implement the biblical law requiring a man to become the husband of a deceased brother’s wife.  Or maybe Land would prefer the historical and biblical “value” that marriage should be arranged, with love and consent having no place in the decision.  On the other hand, perhaps Land and the Religious Right favor the historical and biblical “value” that girls as young as 12 are suitable for marriage. 
           Richard Land’s main concern, to be certain, is the prospect of homosexual marriage.  But I wonder which would be more destructive to the social and civic fabric of our nation:  homosexual marriage, or biblical worldview marriage consisting of polygamy, mistresses, forced nuptials, and 12 year-year-old brides?
           And regardless of which of the two models Land prefers, who is going to monitor Richard Land’s bedroom?
           Any volunteers?