WASHINGTON (JTA) — A top Christian leader apologized for comparing President Obama’s health care reform plan to "what the Nazis did."
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League that it was "never my intention to equate the Obama administration’s health care reform proposals with anything related to the Holocaust. My concern, which is clear when the remarks are reviewed in context, was about the potential denial of health care to the elderly, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn."
Land also had bestowed a "Dr. Mengele Award" on top Obama health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel in a speech at a Christian Coalition of Florida dinner. He said he was "using hyperbole for effect" and will refrain from making such references in the future.
"I apologize to everyone who found such references hurtful," Land said in the letter dated Oct. 14.
The Christian leader was responding to a missive from Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, who had called Land’s remarks "inappropriate, insensitive and unjustified."
Foxman said the ADL welcomed the apology and hoped the incident serves as a "teachable moment."