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. whattime

    Another American hero destroyed by the Politically Correct Spewing Chimps for telling the truth.
    When will the king and queen of yellow journalism, MSNBC & CNN, stop their race baiting and report the truth. The Gangsta Culture (defined in 3 words: Black, Crack and Ho-s) is what killed the hoodie rat.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Kellee

      I will take Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over Adolf Hitler and all the other evil white men that ever existed.

      June 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  2. Didn't go far enough

    This half-hearted "reprimand" was expected when the replacement Chair of the trustees said, "I am a fan [of Land], ... in his corner, hope he succeeds and continues in his ministry..." A mild slap on the wrist. SBC still has a long ways to go.


    June 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  3. Loretta

    thank you jk – for a word of sanity.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  4. jk

    This from a denomination that exists in its current form due to a schism over slavery–with the Southern Baptists on the pro-slavery side.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Black Racism is the Good Kind of Hate

      Many blacks were in support fo slavery (as many of them owned slaves themselves). Many Native Americans owned slaves (and all African slaves had been sold by fellow Africans).

      September 6, 2012 at 6:23 am |
  5. Loretta

    People, is there no end to hatred from the pulpit? Let's blame a 17 year old kid for his own death when the guy who killed him was instructed by the law to stop his pursuit. Let's have the government murder the gays, and while we're at it, let's blame violence on one of the most peaceful Presidents we've ever had. And oh, by the way, while we're at it, let's do it all in the name of the Lord. Look around you, folks!!!! The middle east is about to explode because of hatred and intolerance based on the fact that the three main religions of the world have to share Jerusalem. I cannot imagine that people are ignorant enough to continue to listen to this garbage in the house of God and believe it. Does no one know what happened to 12,000,000 people on this planet because they were Jews, Catholics and developmentally disabled? Do you all realize that what you are basically saying is that if you are not a white Protestant (preferably Baptist, specifically Southern, that is), who is not gay, you should be shunned or deserve to die? Maybe it's time to buy a big hunk of land and fence yourselves away from all the rest of us. At the very least, please stop spewing hatred and showing your total ignorance.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • John

      Do you know why you take two Baptists fishing with you?
      If you only take one, he drinks all your beer...

      June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Nathan

      These days if you're white and (especially) male, you are automatically labeled a racist for any comments that are made about racial issues that are contrary to other's opinions. I find it hard to believe that any practicing Southern Baptist currently have a pro slavery agenda. It's seems that everyone is pro free speech, that is, until someone says something they don't like.. Does any one else think that the phrase used to describe Zimmerman, "White" Hispanic, was anything less than racist? Anyone with half a brain can see that they were using "White" to infer that he was a racist Hispanic. And, yes Sharpton, Jackson, and the rest are all using this to stay relavent in the 2010's.. We still have a way to go, but holding on the the 1960's and prior that way only divides. It's time for some fresh faces and a new approach.. JMO.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  6. sharky

    Weird. So because he DID speak the truth about Sharpton, Jackson, and Farrakhan, he is reprimanded? OH wait it is not what he said it is what he said while being white. SWW = Said while white. LOL

    Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan ARE racist ambulance chasers.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  7. John

    Georgie Boy, I didn't say Land was Jesus. One big difference is that Land apologized for criticizing scoundrels, but Jesus never did.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  8. RobinMO

    The Southern Baptists finally did something right.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • trex

      .Conservative Christians........throw out the HATERS...............get with GOD's program......................LOVE....................

      June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  9. Chrisnot

    The article refers to "Dr. Land". Doctor of what??? Granted by which accredited college or university??

    June 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      He's got a degree in baloney.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Most likely doctorate in divinity. Which means he makes a great fudge, just don't take your sick children to him.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • sharky

      He has a D. Phil, as in Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

      It is a PhD.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Sunlight99

      I think the Dr came from the same type of place that Al and Jesse managed to get their Reverend degrees from.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  10. tkret

    Why is it almost every time when someone who is white writes or says something about blacks, it is immediately called racism? Yet when Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, or Louis Farrakhan writes or says something about whites, it is not called racism?
    Big Al is a community organizer, and nothing more. Back in the 60s, he came to be known nationally because of the Tawana Brawley case. After quite a few months, we found out that Tawana Brawley was not telling the truth, and had moved to Virginia to start her life over. The guy she accused is white, and his reputation is forever marred. But did Big Al ever issue an apology? No. Should he have? Of course.
    I am not a racist, and don't like to associate with anyone who is, regardless of skin color. I have friends who are white, black, oriental, Egyptian, Persian and who knows what else. But I do get peeved, when going on a little bit of information from a story that doesn't give you the whole story, without distortion, someone calls someone else a racist.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • guest

      I second your comment but please – asians, not orientals, unless you're referring to rugs.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • the world is yours

      because whites have a very strong history of black suppression and racism (see slavery wikipedia)

      June 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • sharky

      I've adopted a new saying, since black people like to toss around "DWB" or in Martin's case some politician said "WWB in a GC" I how about for white people it is "SWW" = Said While White. Since apparently white people cannot say anything bad or truthful.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Hunter Barnes

      Why is it when every time there is an article about a specific person nitwits run out and try to point the finger at someone else?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Sunlight99

      @ the world is yours

      Slavery is still going on in Africa and it is not the white people that are doing it. There have been a lot of unspeakable crimes against a lot of people of various races through out history. I think that at some point we need to start moving forward and try to fix today's problems (the shootings in Chicago, homelessness, and yes slavery which is going on today).

      June 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Sunlight99

      I forgot to include this in my comment above. I happen to agree that Jesse, Al, and I think Spike Lee are race baiters. I don't see them up in Chicago trying to make a difference with the recent shootings. All I think they are looking for is face time and money. I think it is time that new leaders step forward.

      I also think that Land should have showed some compassion around Trayvon Martin. He was a young man with a future that is lost and his parents and friends are grieving.

      Here is a big point that I can hear the keyboards clicking to flame me but whatever... If all of the desk jockeys typing their comments in to CNN, Fox, and MSNBC (me included and I need to figure out what I want to do to contribute) actually spent that time doing something useful to help others rather than spouting off on the Internet the world would be a better place. There is a lot that needs to be done (and I mean helping others) and if nothing else if everyone tries to make some sort of positive difference at least once a week (daily would be better but start small) we would all be better off.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  11. LOL Religion

    A racist Southern Baptist? I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  12. James Graham

    This sure works for us!

    I am going to let the Republican nominee know that we have found him a VP from Texas that truly understands the situation at hand. Wow, this girl has a great plan! Love the last thing she would do the best.

    This was written by a 21 yr old female who gets it. It's her future she's worried about and this is how she feels about the social welfare big government state that she's being forced to live in! These solutions are
    just common sense in her opinion.

    This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco, TX , Nov 18, 2011

    PUT ME IN CHARGE . . .

    Put me in charge of food stamps. I'd get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.

    Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I'd do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal legations. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. If you want to reproduce or use
    drugs, alcohol, or smoke, then get a job.

    Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair.
    Your " home" will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.

    In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a"government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We
    will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good.."

    Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem," consider that it wasn't that long ago that taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

    If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

    AND While you are on Gov't subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes, that is correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov't
    welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job.

    Now, if you have the guts – PASS IT ON...

    No virus found in this message.
    Checked by AVG – http://www.avg.com
    Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2425/4990 – Release Date: 05/10/12

    June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • sam-e

      Since less than one percent of the federal budget is spent on welfare, this nonsense is less than relevant. And the idea of disenfranchised people on public assistance? Did someone skip the "due process" clause? Crawl back in your Texas hole.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • trex

      ...puts a new spi non GOD IS LOVE.............dont do this......................haters abound in the south

      June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Heather

      What a smug girl. What does a 21 year old know about hardship? Where is your compassion? What would Jesus do? I don't think he would make judgemental and derogitory comments like this.
      "We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good.."

      I hope this girl never falls on hard times, and if she does, she will be lucky to run into someone who actually believes in the teachings of Jesus and lends her a hand. Have you no morals?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Tom

      sounds like china

      June 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • CM

      I like how she tacitly assumes EVERY welfare recipient is a black person in love with rims and xbox. Classy.

      I'd also love to see her try to get required contraception past the moral police of her party.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Hunter Barnes

      Fine. But farmers getting subsidies can't vote either. College kids getting govt grants can't either. And oil companies receiving tax credits aren't allowed to donate to campaigns.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Andrew

      Funny thing is that a high percentage of whites utilize welfare and in some instances more than blacks. They keep leaving that out of the discussion....

      June 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • phoodphite

      You tell her, Heather. And I don't believe the part at the end about no virus. The entire message is a virus, unfortunately.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Post-Baptist

      Must those of us who drive on public highways, or use the public P-K-12 and university schools, or feel free to call firefighters and police when we need them, or deduct interest paid on our home mortgages, or expect to receive Social Security payments some day, or use municipal services such as recreation programs or swimming pools, etc. ALSO have to give these up in order to be found in your good graces?????

      Someday, just for the fun of it, try to figure out how much money your parents would have had to pay to hire all your teachers; buy, develop, and maintain your own personal roads to get you from your home to wherever you wanted to go; and otherwise live your life. Some of us "need" one kind of public-provided goods and services at a particular point in time, and others of us need others at that point in time. It would behoove you to AT LEAST recognize all the benefits you are receiving from everybody putting some of their resources in one pot to provide you with a very high quality life. It seems to be too much to expect that you would be able to think from somebody else's perspectives–at least try to think carefully and critically from your own setting.

      I'll bet you are a Christian!! You sound just like one.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  13. Rich

    same ole boys down south.......just sayin

    June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  14. fekt

    repeal the tax exemption status of the churches. they are run by men and men are corrupt and not able to seperate personal politics and religion. they deserve no special treatment.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Heather


      June 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  15. Da Yooper

    Land hit the nail on the head with his comments, & for that he is chastised – HMMMM!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Somehow I'm sure that you think putting N I 66 E R in comments to get past the filter is the acme of human achievement.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  16. ed

    Cnn is a comunist and racists propaganda machine.
    Sharpton is a comunis and racist looser.
    Farakah is another idiot.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Juls1314

      But, I bet all of them know how to spell word correctly 😉

      June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • LOL

      AGREED! LOL 🙂 🙂

      June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • sam-e

      ED is looser than al, I betcha. "Looser!" FAIL

      June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Looser than what? Your inbred sister's cooch?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Andrew

      And 'ed' needs a dictionary....

      June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  17. Rich

    the south racist? No way.Since when...just sayin..Very sad .What would JC say about this man of God?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  18. gary

    So. Baptists ... interbred whackos believing myths and legends made up 2000 yrs ago by stone age men in a primitive land that is still in the stone age. It's all whacky middle east legend and folklore! No god, devil, heaven or hell ... just myth. And So. Baptists are the worst, believing all thiswhacky stuff and being so mean to others.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  19. AgrippaMT

    Preacher Land is an utterly typical white southern Baptist, racist to the core.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • joe

      or he is just telling the truth. especially about Sharpton. that guys thrives on this stuff.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • ed

      You are too stupid and probably a looser with no brains

      June 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      If you are going to call somebody stupid and a loser, you probably want to watch those extraneous 'o's. Ootherwise yoour the oone that looooks like a stoopid looser.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Poolchick

      uhhh...Ed....looser means not tight. Loser is what you meant to say. I wouldn't say that to anyone else if you don't know the difference between the two cause it makes you look like a loser. Just letting you know.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • The fact of the matter

      Nice stereotype. Can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e ?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • sharky

      Except that he was telling the truth about Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan. The whole country knows this and many black people know it.

      Majority of black people are Baptist anyway.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  20. joe

    Sure is getting hard to speak the truth anymore...

    June 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Tricia

      Or to have an independent thought, eh Joe?

      June 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Heather

      I know! It sure is hard to be to make vile and racist comments without a backlash. Damn evolution! How dare people stop defining people by the color of their skin and start defining people by the content of their character! Racists like the religoius leader in questions should have free rein to spew their anger and hatred! Lord, if I click my heels 3 times will you take me to Alabama in the 60's? There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Sunlight99

      @ Heather Actually it is by the content of their character that I find Al, Jesse, and Spike Lee to be lacking. It has nothing to do with their race except that they use their race to get money and media time. Personally, I think they are racist bigots as well.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:38 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.