A Southern Baptist leader has apologized to President Barack Obama and other black leaders for saying they were exploiting Trayvon Martin’s death for political gain.
Richard Land said Wednesday he impugned the motives of Obama and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, all of whom have shown support and sympathy for Martin’s family. Land said he sent personal letters of apology to each of the three men, asking for their forgiveness.
“God alone is the searcher of men’s hearts,” he wrote in an apology published by the Baptist Press. “I cannot know what motivated them and their comments in this case.”
Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The apology is the second that Land has issued for inflammatory remarks about the case of the black Florida teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer who thought he looked suspicious.
Land initially said he had no regrets about his remarks made on March 31 during his weekly radio show. They included saying that Obama “poured gasoline on the racialist fires” when he addressed Martin’s slaying and that Obama, Jackson and Sharpton had used the case “to try to gin up the black vote for an African-American president who is in deep, deep, deep trouble for re-election.”
Land also defended the idea that people are justified in seeing young black men as threatening, saying a black man was “statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man.”
In his Wednesday apology, Land wrote that “I do not believe that crime statistics should in any way justify viewing a person of another race as a threat…. I share the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that all men, women, boys, and girls would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.”
He said his remarks were made in anger at what he saw as the media trial of George Zimmerman, the man who killed the 17-year-old Martin. Land declined to be interviewed for this story.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s trustees earlier expressed regret for any harm the remarks might have done to race relations within the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Nashville-based SBC is the nation’s largest Protestant denomination but the controversy around Land’s remarks comes at a time of declining membership and its efforts to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white, Southern base.
The trustees also said they would investigate claims that Land plagiarized many of the controversial comments. Land has called his failure to attribute the comments to a Washington Times editorial an oversight and vowed to do better in the future.
He previously issued an apology for any “hurt or misunderstanding” his Trayvon Martin comments had caused while not apologizing for the substance of those remarks.
Land’s new apology comes after a meeting earlier this month with black Southern Baptist leaders, including the Rev. Dwight McKissic, a Texas pastor who had previously called for Land’s resignation.
On Wednesday, McKissic wrote on his blog that he accepted the apology. In a phone interview, he said, ‘I was overwhelmed with joy when I read it.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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