I’m surprised – genuinely. I always took the SBC’s “diversity” comments and statements as mere propaganda. But to fire Richard Land – a stalwart paragon of what passes for Southern Baptist virtue (and I grudgingly admit there is real virtue contained there – or at least a damned fine attempt at virtue) – is to me simply shocking! What respect I have for the SBC has increased greatly. And that’s saying a lot.
We reprimand Dr. Land for his hurtful, irresponsible, insensitive, and racially charged words on March 31, 2012 regarding the Trayvon Martin tragedy. It was appropriate for Dr. Land to issue the apology he made on May 9, 2012 and we are pleased he did so. We also convey our own deepest sympathies to the family of Trayvon Martin for the loss they have suffered. We, too, express our sorrow, regret, and apologies to them for Dr. Land’s remarks. 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. 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.