Southern Baptists reprimand top official over Trayvon Martin remarks
Richard Land is the public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention.
June 1st, 2012
02:06 PM ET

Southern Baptists reprimand top official over Trayvon Martin remarks

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com

(CNN) – The country’s largest evangelical Christian denomination on Friday announced it is reprimanding one of its top officials over comments he made regarding the Trayvon Martin case, pledging to cancel the official’s national radio show.

The trustee committee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission announced two reprimands on Friday for Richard Land, who leads public policy efforts for the Southern Baptists, according to the official press arm.

The first reprimand was for remarks Land - one of the country's most powerful evangelical leaders - made about the Martin case. The second was because Land lifted some remarks from another source on his radio show without using attribution.

The commission will move to terminate Land’s radio program, “Richard Land Live!” because of the controversy, the Baptist Press reported.

In March, Land spoke of African-American activists and the Rev. Al Sharpton as “racial ambulance chasers” in the Martin case, in which the 17-year-old was shot to death in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

“When there is violence it’s going to be Jesse Jackson’s fault,” Land said on his show, according to the Religion News Service. “It’s going to be Al Sharpton’s fault. It’s going to be Louis Farrakhan’s fault, and to a certain degree it’s going to be President Obama’s fault.”

On Friday, the trustee executive committee said in a statement that Land’s comments were “very hurtful and offensive to the Trayvon Martin family and too many in the African-American community, including hundreds of thousands of African-American Southern Baptists.”

“Damage was done to the state of race relations in the Southern Baptist Convention," the statement said.

The Religion News Service reported that many of Land’s remarks about the Martin case were lifted from a March column in the Washington Times.

“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 from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said.

The statement went on to say that “plagiarism occurred because of Land’s carelessness and poor judgment."

In announcing the planned termination of Land’s radio program, the committee said “the content and purpose” of the program are “not congruent with the mission of the ERLC.”

In a statement to the Baptist Press, Land – who earlier apologized for his comments - said he believes in “trustee oversight and governance” and that “this whole process was conducted in a Christian manner by Christian gentlemen.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (747 Responses)
  1. Iceman6161

    There are some azz wipes on here!!!! They are a ambulance chasers, well some of you say he hit it right on the head? Before i ask you what would you do if your child brings home a black parter, DON"T forget how we been beaten, killed, burned, humiliated, just horrible things has been done!!! Now when something needs to be done to right a wrong, they step up for what's right SO YOU CLAN LOVING AZZEZ WILL NEVER FORGET. If we (BLACK PEOPLE) let wrong after wrong after wrong go then we will be headed right back to seeing burning crosses everywhere.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • BRUCE


      June 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Silly Baggers!

      Iceman I am white and I agree with you.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  2. The One True God

    Richard Lane will one day have to answer for his words and actions, and he will know exactly who is responsible for the trouble he caused: Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, President Obama, and any other famous black people he can think of.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Mr. Lane is a tool.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • The One True God

      OK, "Land." I am true; I never claimed to be perfect.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  3. Randy chopper

    Land is absolutely correct, if you disagree, you need to pull your head out of your a$$ and see the light

    June 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Silly Baggers!

      I disagree.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • lsgyrl

      You first.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  4. Highland

    So much for free speach. Free speach is like most "free" things, it's not free.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Silly Baggers!

      Free speech was not granted so that people could abuse the right.Stop with this claim of free speech to everything. It's BS.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • CM

      Free speech doesn't apply in a private company. If you start saying things that are going to embarrass your employer, they can fire you. It's intended to prohibit the government from quieting the voices of the citizens.

      But don't let facts or reality influence your Civil War-worldview.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  5. southernwonder

    the civil war is long over. time to dissolve the souther baptist convention. it is painful to watch white guys in 3 piece suit making a fool of themselves.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  6. Smako

    So the Westboro Baptists are fine, but this guy faces excommunication. The Mormons catch heat because of something that happened over 150 years ago. The Baptists are here and now and everyone is fine with it.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  7. JomoDaMusicMan

    A True RedNeck TeaBaggin Republican Klansman speaks out. Why in the hell would Black Christians be listening to this racist b.s.. These are the same people who let their churches out early so their congregation could go bomb and beat Black Church goers during the Civil Rights Era. Their Racist Doctrine teaches that the Black race came from the a Curse when Noah was seen drunk & naked by his son. A White Preacher couldn't tell me Sh–, These White Pasters haven't changed much except now blacks can become a lay member in their church with no leadership role. A black can only sing and shout but most of all pay his T I T H E S (tenth of his earnings to the White Church)

    June 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Loki

      Too bad chimp. Don't like the truth ? Land said it like it is.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Silly Baggers!

      It takes a great big puzzy like yourself to talk that smack from behind your monitor. Bet you won't call black people "chimp" to their face coward.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  8. hank

    This kind of talk is part of the Southern culture and it bleeds over into the Baptist Church which is the semi official religion of the South. Talk like this goes on all the time. When it broadcast on the radio it gets embarrassing, but nevertheless it is constant. Racism is alive and well in the South and to a less extent in the whole country.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Highland

      There are far more raceists in the "north" than the south. Look at the comments.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  9. John

    Land gets crucified for telling the truth. Same thing happened to Jesus.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • George Tirebiter

      Yeah. This is the same thing. Land is like Jesus. You really nailed it there, John Boy.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bob

      Truth? You are clearly insane.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  10. Labrat

    Land really is a Richard Cranium.

    That said, unfortunately some of his views on this are pretty much spot on.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • B Way

      Reason number 1369 I left the Southern Baptist Church. The roots of racism run deep in the SBChurch. Get out now. Jesus left it a long time ago.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  11. Marc

    Did he miss the part where someone was killed? If one of the members of his congregation was killed and police wouldn't answer the parents request for information, would he do nothing? They may be ambulance chasers, but they could be put out of business if there were no ambulances to chase.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Marty

      Absolutely. It is time we acknowledge there is racism in the country. To act like Jackson, Sharpton, etc., are the causes further divides. No one is pretending there is not racism across the races. However, in the case of Martin, clearly, you cannot blame these men for what occurred. Every parent wants justice. If the races had been reversed, I strongly doubt Mr. Land would have made a similar comment; thus, therein lies the problem.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Highland

      They create ambulances to be chased.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  12. Martin

    The Washington Times spoke the truth. Land should have given attribution when agreeing with those remarks.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  13. Kellee

    Yes just like it's white people fault that there is evil in the world because they are evil. If white people didn't exist we would have guns, WMD's, racism, hate, the holocaust, the extermination of Native American, slavery and lynchings, Romans & Greeks and the evilness in the world stem from white people. Black people learn the bahavior after being around white people so long the evilness rubbs off. If it wasn't true black people would have did exactly white people did to them if they were evil like white people.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Martin

      The Chinese invented gunpowder and there were slaves in africa long before the white man came around. Otherwise I agree with you. The world would be perfect without white people.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Stuart

      Do the 300,000 or so Union soldiers who died to end slavery get any credit for at least being not quite so evil?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Rudy Jordache

      So, white people taught black people about selling drugs to their friends and neighbors. And white people taught black people how to get elementary age children to be mules, and gun runners. And white people taught black people about street wars and how to kill. And white people taught black people how to kidnap their African ancestors and sell them into slavery. And the white teacher taught you how talk and be like a true racist!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Ciemma

      @Rudy um who the heck do you think BROUGHT drugs over to the US to sell? Blacks dont own planes or boats. So yes indeed sir, the whites taught the blacks a whole hell of a lot.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

      What a hate filled racial rant....2 wrongs don't make a right. You obviously hate White People.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      You forgot to mention that if most Black People felt the exact same way towards White People that most whites feel against Blacks. The streets of America would be red with Blood

      June 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      @Rudy J, Yes White People made the dope and imported it to the Black Hoods. Yes, Whites made the guns and alcohol and imported it to the Black Hoods. And many of the real dope dealers are Millionaires & Politicians and Corporate Heads. Rudy, u should take your head out of you azz, and study about the War on the Black Hoods staged by the Government, CIA in particular

      June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Silly Baggers!

      Hey Rudy as a white person I can answer yes to your questions.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • terry

      the union soldiers were not fighting to abolish slavery. slavery was abolished during the war to give the north an upper hand...... so dont play that card...

      June 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Kellee

      I made that rant because everytime I read an article about black people whether good or bad there are ALWAYS negative comments from white people. If a black child is killed it is because he deserved it or he's an animal something negative like a black people life is worthless, but if a little white blonde girl is killed it's a travesty. So you can save the racist comments because if you had any empathy you would see the comments about black people are not right. Plus I am part black and native american who study the history of my people. So you tell me after reading about what white people have done to both blacks and Native what should I think. There are places that I can't go in my state without being followed by the police and I have never been to jail nobody in my family has ever been to jail.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  14. John

    I like that they call him 'Dr.' Land, as if studying a single line of dogma for 100 years makes one smart or something. By their standards, the 'graduates' of a Muslim madras should all be revered as geniuses. I wouldn't give a rat's butt for all the 'knowledge' coming out of these so-called religious colleges and universities. A person coming out of 'Liberty College' or its ilk is a person who knows a great deal about very little, and keeps on learning more and more about less and less until they know practically everything about nothing.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jimmy Mitchell

      True that!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  15. Dadster

    This behavior is becoming more and more typical with the self righteousness evangelicals. For some unknown reason, my Christian brothers and sisters have resorted to putting people like Land on pedestals where they have no right to be. Another black eye for Christianity. NOBODY who preaches is fit to clean the Lord's shoes let alone wear them.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • DrJim

      I really like that last line! Nobody that preaches...

      June 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • George Tirebiter

      No "unknown reason" here. It's religion. There's your problem.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Rudy Jordache

      But you would accept the black eye of Christianity of Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson. You want racism stopped, stop it at the dinner tables and pulpits of the inner city spewing the message!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  16. Freedom From Religion

    Judge and you will be judged!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Martin

      Yes, the flying spaghetti monster agrees.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  17. dtboy

    As a black man, I totally agree with Land's remarks. The irony is that the South Baptist are so blindsided by their faith, that they refuse to acknowledge the truth.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • The One True God

      Being a white guy in a dark closet does not make you a black man, DT.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  18. Ben

    One day this racist will have to give an account of himself to the Lord.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Stuart

      I am missing the part where he says that he hates black people.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  19. IdiocyIsTheLanguageInAmerica

    White souterners are so backward.Not like us trendy super duper kewl Californians.Over here we're bankrupt and have absolutely no money and will eventually turn into the state of Florida where few come to travel.It's so kewl to be kewl.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • lloyd roberts

      If you ask 1000 people from anywhere in the world where would they rather live or visit, California or Mississippi, California or Alabama, California or South Carolina, California or Tennessee, California or Oklahoma, California or the entire south, I think you'll get a universal answer. And it ain't gonna be dixie

      June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • grahamer rhodes

      Try Canada Were rich and if you brains we will welcome you. No Southern Baptists please

      June 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  20. IdiocyIsTheLanguageInAmerica

    Typical southerners.Up here in uber kewl New York city, we have a stop and search where we just profile anyone and search them.Gosh, like souterners are so backward.I'm totally going to go get a mocha now from an indie coffee house cause I'm so kewl and progressive.I'm totally wearing my black framed glasses so I can look ironic.Totally hip, unlike those southerners.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • lloyd roberts

      Forty percent of the entire GDP comes from those two states, Cal and NY. Any business that goes down south is there for the cheap non union wages and the incentives from state governments to attract business the. Because there is nothing about the south and it's lifestyle that would attract anyone to it unless you like to get fat on biscuits and drunk on whiskey. If northerners didn't build the TVA, probably still wouldn't have power and running water down there. Same thing with the Hoover Dam that irrigates and air conditions Arizona. Another gift from the north, this one via FDR

      June 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Iceman6161

      There are some azz wipes on here!!!! They are a ambulance chasers, well some of you say he hit it right on the head? Before i ask you what would you do if your child brings home a black parter, DON"T forget how we been beaten, killed, burned, humiliated, just horrible things has been done!!! Now when something needs to be done to right a wrong, they step up for what's right SO YOU CLAN LOVING AZZEZ WILL NEVER FORGET. If we (BLACK PEOPLE) let wrong after wrong after wrong go then we will be headed right back to seeing burning crosses everywhere.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.