Radio host blasts black leaders over Trayvon Martin case
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The Southern Baptist Convention has spent more than a decade trying to leave behind the racially divided past that created it.
Its leaders apologized for the Nashville-based denomination's support of slavery in the 1800s -- which led to its break from other Baptists. This year, they considered, and rejected, a name change some suggested would move the denomination forward faster. In June, they're set to elect their first African-American president.
But some consider statements made Saturday by the convention's top policy representative on his national radio show a setback. On Richard Land Live!, Land accused black religious leaders -- whom he called "race hustlers" -- and President Barack Obama of using the shooting death of an African-American teen in Florida for election-year gains.
"This will be vetted in court, not in a mob mentality that's been juiced up by Al Sharpton, who is a provocateur and a racial ambulance chaser of the first order, and aided and abetted by Jesse Jackson," Land said on the show.
And, on Obama's statement that, if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old victim, Land said: "The president's aides claim he was showing compassion for the victim's family. In reality, he poured gasoline on the racialist fires."
The Rev. Maxie Miller, a Florida Baptist Convention expert in African-American church planting, was incredulous when he heard about the comments.
"At no time have I been embarrassed of being a Southern Baptist or a black Southern Baptist," Miller said. "But I'm embarrassed because of the words that man has stated."
Miller lives in Plant City, Fla., about an hour and a half from Sanford, where Martin was shot. He has been encouraging dialogue about the case among Florida Baptists.
"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," he said.
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SOURCE: The Tennessean