Black Southern Baptist Pastor Embarrassed Over Richard Land's "Race Hustlers" Comments Over Trayvon Martin Case

Radio host blasts black leaders over Trayvon Martin case

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
Heidi Hall
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