NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Southern Baptist Convention's ethics chief was reprimanded Friday and his radio show canceled after he made inflammatory comments about the Trayvon Martin case.
Among other things, Richard Land accused President Barack Obama and other black leaders of shamefully exploiting Martin's death for political gain. He also said racial profiling was understandable given the crime statistics for black men.
Land's comments upset many black Southern Baptist leaders, one of whom called for Land's resignation. The controversy got more intense when a blogger revealed that Land's commentary was copied nearly verbatim from an editorial in The Washington Times, although Land did not credit the newspaper on the air.
After an investigation, the trustees board of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission reprimanded Land for the comments and the plagiarism. Land, who is the commission's president, has previously apologized for both.
The commission takes public stands on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. In his position at the commission's head for nearly 24 years, the outspoken Land has become the Southern Baptist Convention?s most visible spokesman.
But his comments on Martin came as the nation's largest Protestant denomination is attempting to distance itself from a past that includes support for slavery and segregation. Faced with declining membership, the Nashville-based SBC is trying to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white, Southern base — a goal that Land supports.
He was one of the chief architects of a 1995 resolution by Southern Baptists apologizing for their role in supporting slavery and racism. Since that resolution, black membership in the SBC has tripled, going from about 350,000 in 1995 to about 1 million today.
African-American pastor Fred Luter Jr. worked on the resolution with Land. Later this month at its annual meeting, the denomination is expected to elect Luter as the first African American president in the SBC's 167-year history.
The board's statement, which was released in the Baptist Press, calls Land's comments about Martin "hurtful, irresponsible, insensitive, and racially charged." Martin was an unarmed black Florida teenager shot to death in February by a neighborhood watch volunteer who thought he looked suspicious and maintains that he was defending himself from the teen.
"We are particularly disappointed in Dr. Land's words because they do not accurately reflect the body of his work over a long career at the ERLC toward racial reconciliation in the Southern Baptist Convention and American life," the statement reads. "We must now redouble our efforts to regain lost ground, to heal re-opened wounds, and to realize the dream of a Southern Baptist Convention that is just as diverse as the population of our great Nation."
The statement also reprimands Land for his unattributed use of The Washington Times editorial, saying he unwisely accepted practices that occur in the radio industry.
"As a Christian, a minister of the Gospel of our Lord, and as President of the ERLC, Dr. Land should have conformed to a higher standard," the statement reads. "We expect all future work of the ERLC to be above reproach in that regard."
The board says it has found no instances of plagiarism in any of Land's written work. "Finally," the statement reads, "we have carefully considered the content and purpose of the Richard Land Live! broadcast. We find that they are not congruent with the mission of the ERLC."
On the call-in show, Land discusses the news of the day, including politics. The board says the show will be cancelled as soon as possible within the bounds of their contract with the Salem Radio Network.
Land declined to be interviewed for this story, although he issued a statement to the Baptist Press expressing support for the oversight and governance of the trustees. He also expressed a desire to work with them "to continue to minister the Gospel of our Savior across our great land."
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30