Land believes the media in the US, with the exception of Fox News, is Left-leaning and biased in favour of Obama. He regards the President as a "statist", indeed a "socialist"' who has massively expanded the federal government. He explains: since the end of World War II, the US federal government's spending has averaged about 20 per cent of GDP. When George W Bush left office, it was 20.8 per cent. Under Obama, it's 25.6. Moreover, under Obama the US national debt increased by 50 per cent in four years -- from $10 trillion to $15 trillion. This isn't just an economic issue for Land, it's also a moral concern. He regards that scale of debt as a form of "generational theft". That's why he believes this next presidential election will be the most important for the US since Lincoln's election in 1860.
Land is a critic of the so-called "new evangelicals". He tells me that the term "evangelical" is now so popular in the US that some post-denonational adherents have essentially abducted this signifier while sharing few of its traditional commitments. Land is pro-life, opposed to gay marriage, in favour of capital punishment and has made a religious and moral argument in support of the war in Iraq. He regards all these positions as consistent with a high view of the created dignity of human life: for example, judicial execution is how a state demonstrates the high value it places on the life of the victim. For the same reason, he says, he'd never consider voting for pro-choice candidate in any election -- that's an absolute deal-breaker. (Romney, incidentally, supported abortion rights when governor of Massachusetts, but now identifies as a pro-life candidate, which his opponents regard as self-interested "flip-flopping", while Obama has maintained a consistently pro-choice stance.)
He speaks positively about David Cameron, but parts company with him on gay marriage. Many socially conservative Republicans here are struggling to understand why a conservative government in the UK would be campaigning in favour of same-sex marriage. Marriage is open to gay couples in a few US states but 31 others have already passed state-wide constitutional bans on non-heterosexual marriage (while, in a few cases, permitting civil partnerships). Land expects North Carolina to become the 32nd state to do so next month. He also disputes the new polling suggesting that more than 50 per cent of Americans are now in favour of gay marriage: people don't give honest answers to pollsters, he says.
Land will be supporting Romney, the likely Republican candidate, in the presidential election and tells me he believes most evangelicals will do the same. They may regard Mormonism as a cult,as Land does ("it's a cult, but they don't act like a cult"), but when the alternative is Obama their vote will go to Romney.
One of the chapters in Land's book The Divided States of America deals with America's special status in the world. America, he says, is not like any other country: it's less a piece of geography and more like a cause ("and that cause is freedom"). Land believes that "America's particular fortune has not been fortuitous; it is a sign of divine blessing". God, he says, has a particular and special interest in the American project: America is called to be a beacon of freedom in the world and God is personally looking out for it. Many in Europe will see that attitude (sometimes called "American Exceptionalism" or the doctrine of "manifest destiny") as part of the problem. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, equates it with a "theology of empire". But Land dismisses those critiques: just look at the history of the United States, he says, and you'll find all the evidence you need that God is unusually interested in the progress of this place.