Just when the Southern Baptist Convention is making strides in its efforts to make black folks feel more at home in the denomination, along comes Richard Land, president of its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, to throw an obstacle onto the road to racial harmony by accusing President Obama of the worst kind of race baiting.
On his March 31 radio show, Land said the president is “aiding and abetting” “race hustlers” like the Revs. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and Jesse Jackson in fomenting violence in response to the Trayvon Martin shooting.
“This situation is getting out of hand and there’s going to be violence. And, when there is violence, it’s going to be Jesse Jackson’s fault, and 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,” said Land. “It was Mr. Obama who turned this tragedy into a national issue. He should have learned from the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police incident to stay out of these issues until the facts are clear, but he urged Americans to engage in soul searching, and then he said, ‘If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.’ The president’s aides claim he was showing compassion for the victim’s family. In reality, he poured gasoline on the racialist fires under pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus.”
In an interview with, the Rev. Maxie Miller, “a Florida Baptist Convention expert in African-American church planting,” said he had never before been embarrassed to be a Southern Baptist or a black Southern Baptist. “I’m embarrassed because of the words that man has stated,” said Miller, who reportedly lives 90 minutes away from Sanford, Florida, where Martin was shot.
“I think the convention is doing a great job with diversity … but Land’s comments definitely will make my work harder — encouraging African-Americans to be a part of Southern Baptist Convention life,” Miller said.
Land’s critique wasn’t only directed at President Obama. He said it will be U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s fault if violence breaks out in response to $10,000 “Wanted: Dead or Alive” bounty flyers for alleged shooter George Zimmerman’s “capture.”
“Until Mr. Holder and the justice department do something about this, they’re going to continue to do it and when they end up killing somebody, it’s going to be Mr. Holder’s fault,” said Land.
He identified the group who distributed the flyers as “The Black Panthers,” but Mediaite reported that a group calling itself the New Black Panther Party is responsible. “The New Black Panthers are not affiliated with the original Black Panther Party in any way. In fact, leaders of the original Panthers have denounced the NBPP, even suing them for use of the name, and stating that the New Black Panthers operate on ‘hatred of white people.’ The NBPP has been designated a ‘hate group; by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League.”
Land also said a “failure of leadership on the part of African American leadership in this country” is to blame for inflaming the situation and said “the media” has “shamelessly exploited” it.
What do you think?
Should Christian ethicisit Richard Land take a hard look in the ‘race baiting’ mirror or is there some validity in his critique?