Seriously, Richard Land needs to be fired

Richard Land, “ethics” spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, is doubling-down on his claim that the Trayvon Martin case is being overplayed by “race hustlers.”

His phrase: “race hustlers.” Who says that? I mean, besides white racists, is there anyone who says that?

Why hasn't the SBC fired this man yet?

The Southern Baptist Convention needs to fire Richard Land. Yesterday. Or sooner.

The problem with his remarks about the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black child gunned down with impunity more than a month ago in Florida, is not with the particular words Land used. He didn’t “misspeak.” He didn’t blurt out a single offensive phrase or two.

The problem is that Land’s remarks show that he is steeped in a racist mythology. It’s not his words that are problematic, but his worldview. That worldview is based on a story — a story of America, a story of Christianity — that is fundamentally, intrinsically and pervasively shaped by racism. This is the story that Richard Land believes and it is the only story he knows how to tell.

It’s an ugly story, and a hateful one. It’s a story about Us vs. Them, and about the need for Us to keep Them in “their place.”

That story — Richard Land’s complete embrace of and saturation in that story — disqualifies him from serving as, of all things, the leader of the SBC’s “Ethics” commission.

So the Southern Baptist Convention needs to fire Richard Land.

The fact that he has not been fired yet suggests that the leadership of the SBC shares and endorses the hateful story he is telling. Every day that he remains in his post — unchastened, uncriticized and wholly supported by the SBC hierarchy — is another day in which the Southern Baptist Convention presents itself to the world as a supporter and promoter of racist mythology.

The article linked above, by Heidi Hall for The Tennessean, illustrates the problem that Richard Land causes — the problem that Richard Land is — for a denomination that wants to be anything other than a resentful-whites-only club:

The Rev. Maxie Miller, a Florida Baptist Convention expert in African-American church planting, was incredulous when he heard about [Land's radio show]. He’s based in Plant City, Fla., about an hour and a half from Sanford, where Martin was shot, and has been encouraging dialogue about the case among Florida Baptists.

“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.

“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.”

This is not a joke and this is not hyperbole. In all seriousness: The Southern Baptist Convention needs to fire Richard Land.

  • Matri

    They aren’t going to fire their most “ethical” leader.

  • Ursula L

    When you have a church that only exists because of racism, because people had a religious belief in race-defined slavery, is it any surprise that its leadership is racist?

    The SBC doesn’t need to fire Land.  Because Land is exactly what the SBC was created to support.  Firing Land won’t change what the SBC was created to be. 

    The SBC needs to cease to exit. The organization has no more place in a civilized society than any other organization whose reason for being is supporting and promoting racism and oppression.  

    Individuals in SBC congregations need to leave.  They need to be converted to a faith that doesn’t exist to promote racism and oppression.  SBC congregations need to separate from the Conference, reorganize as anti-racist independent congregations, or join anti-racist conferences.  

    Firing one individual can’t and won’t change an organization that has existed for over a century with the explicit purpose of supporting racism and oppression.  Land leads the SBC because the SBC is racist.  The SBC isn’t racist merely because of Land.  Get rid of Land, and you’ll just see him replaced by another racist.  

    (And is there anything you can do about Patheos’s ads? Because I don’t think you want your blog to spread the message “Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney (And Feel Good About It!)” which is currently showing in my sidebar.)

  • Anonymous

     You just might, depending on how the ad payment is structured. The advertisers are most likely paying for a certain number of clicks on the ad, so every click someone here makes is one less time someone else might see it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    You know, even if Land disagrees that the Trayvon Martin shooting has a racial component, it is possible to maintain that belief while accepting that those who feel otherwise are acting in good faith themselves. Land is going beyond simply disagreeing with Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and President Obama, which he has every right to do. His refusal to accept that anyone can have an honest reason to see racism at work in this case suggests that if he isn’t a racist, then he’s just not mentally adept enough for the job he has. I mean, seriously, people like Land can completely rule out racism as a motivation in this shooting? On what basis? Other than wishful thinking and entrenched privilege, that is.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Race hustlers

    Race hustlers

    Race hustlers

    This man’s patently ridiculous attempt to minimize the shooting of an unarmed teenager is just beyond the pale of gauche disrespect for the very real cultural and social dangers facing American society.

    It may be a matter of when, not if, for a race war in the USA – as much as I fervently hope it never does come to pass. (O_O)

  • gocart mozart

    I don’t think Fred has any control over the ads.  Its some blogger ad algorism.  I’m surprised the Southern Baptist posts haven’t swamped this site with douchebag ads.*

    *Other than the one Romney ad.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    You know, it’s no surprise that a denomination which offers its followers a guranteed formula for never being wrong would be reluctant to chastise one of its major officials.

    And of course, any overlap with ‘You can never be wrong because you are a White American man’ is completely incidental.

  • JK

    Maybe I’m naive, but I would think that the stalking and killing of a child would be the one issue that wouldn’t be a liberal vs. conservative, or a Democrat vs. Republican issue. It would be the one issue that everyone can stop and say, “OK, we disagree about many (most?) things but this is a horrific tragedy.”

    (Oh, and I think he only chose the word “hustler” because he couldn’t type  “pimp” without blushing).

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The SBC is a horrible organization, was founded on evil and continues to promote misogyny, racism, classism, and etc. Protecting the privilege of rich white straight males, and oppressing everyone else, is their raison d’etre.

    Of course the SBC leadership is racist. Richard Land is just doing his job. I really don’t understand the point of calling on the SBC to fire him. The SBC is an atrocious organization in every respect, and the clearer their leadership is about this fact, the better for the rest of the world. The idea of the SBC growing is a nightmare. I want the SBC to keep Richard Land on — it’s the only honest thing for them to do anyway.

  • http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/ mr_subjunctive

    Okay, but Fred: what would you like the Southern Baptist Convention to do w/r/t Richard Land? Some kind of public scolding? Maybe a fine? [/oblivious]

  • MaryKaye

    When my best friend and I were teens, we decided to do an exploration of local churches–we had already attended each others’, and we wanted to sample some more.

    On our second try we hit the local Southern Baptist temple, and that stopped us cold.  I had had, I guess, a pretty sheltered upbringing, and I had not expected to find myself involved with that level of blatant, upfront *evil* at a Christian church.

    The youth pastor bragged to us that a young woman had come to him in fear and shame to confess a sexual attraction to animals, and that he had screamed at her about her worthlessness in God’s eyes, her utter depravity–had, as far as we could tell, done his level best to convince her to commit suicide.

    And the youth group leader told us that the great overwhelming sin of which our generation had to be purged was…masturbation.

    They did not talk to us about race, but my hometown was very white at that point, so it wasn’t likely to come up.  But what they did talk about was more than enough to convict them in my teenaged eyes, nor have I changed my mind since.

  • Keulan

    I suspect the likelihood of Richard Land being fired from the Southern Baptist Convention for his racism is about the same as the likelihood of Pope Benedict XVI resigning over his role in covering up child-raping Catholic priests. Exactly zero.

  • Andrew C.

    Sounds like someone’s going to get a visit from Frederick Douglass tomorrow. :D

  • Lori

    My mom has this thing she says when 2 horrible people marry each other: “Well, at least they’re not ruining two other families.” I think the same basic idea applies to Land and the SBC. They’re both awful. As long as Land stays with the SBC they remain one unit of awful. In the (totally not going to happen) event that the SBC fired Land they would be split into 2 units of awful, available to infect others.

    If Land had to look for another job there’s a chance that he would be hired by some group that is currently at least somewhat less awful than the SBC, but also less well known and looking for someone to raise their profile. Land’s influence would clearly not be a positive one and the group would no doubt sink to new lows in record time.

    The SBC would need to find a new “ethics” spokesman. What if they hired some guy who actually had some ethics and was deluding himself that he could help the SBC change from within? I mean really, what are the odds of that happening? Effectively zero. The odds that the guy would totally lose whatever ethics he had in order to hang onto his position are much higher.

    IOW, leave Land & the SBC together and stop expecting them to be anything other than what they are—-awful.

  • Chris Kern

     It would be nice, but there are too many problems here — this case seems to be about gun rights and racism.  Republicans are for gun rights and against the idea that racism exists, which in 2012 means that many Christian fundamentalists are for gun rights and against the idea that racism exists.

    As to Fred’s question, I think he’s answered it himself in past posts — the SBC won’t fire him because Abortion and Homosexuality.  “He’s a racist” has nothing to do with Abortion or Homosexuality.

  • Anonymous

    Scorpion and frog, dude. It’s what the SBC does. 

    I remember following the SBC right-wing coup in The Tennessean back in the ’80s; it was ugly. 

    Any kind, decent people left in the SBC are only there because they were born to it, God love ’em. 

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    Is there an on-line petition going around? ‘Cuz seriously, a lot of angry friends…

  • Tonio

    I agree, and I’m surprised that Fred isn’t tackling the core problem. “The fact that he has not been fired yet suggests that the leadership of
    the SBC shares and endorses the hateful story he is telling.” Suggests is far too mild a term here. Firing Land would be a Pontius Pilate act, giving the mistaken impression that Land hijacked the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for his own agenda. It would be like blaming Watergate on James McCord.

    I’ll go further and say that if the SBC had any decency or morality, the organization and its congregations would voluntary disband.

  • Anonymous

    The real race hustlers are people like Land who use race to keep working-class whites from working together with working-class people of color. Fuck white solidarity and fuck white pride. Race traitors are humanity’s saviors, I say. And in any case, why should I be proud that my blond hair, blue eyes, and flammable skin was passed down from some Viking assholes who raped my grandmothers and murdered their sons and lovers.

  • chas_holman

    For anyone that is interested….
    I am an audio guy..

    I took the 911 call with the most audio informatiion regarding screams, compressed it, ran it at half speed and pitch corrected it 100 percent.. even though it runs slower (just a tenth over half speed) anyone with an ear for music can tell not a note has been changed.. Digital affords you this luxury. In the analog days we had to physically slow the tape/medium down and you lose pitch and clarity.

    Anyway, what I find most interesting is the ghastly scream at about 1:12 right after the final shot..

    THIS AUDIO IS NOT ENHANCED per sey.. not like enhancing a photo.. the only enhancing has been to adust volume levels so you don’t hurt your ear listening to everything at relative volume levels.

    There are a few swirling artifacts in this copy because I had to compres the wav file to a 128 kbps mp3 to fit on my page so you had a player to hear it on.. These artifacts are slight and will not distract.

    The 911 call as you have never heard it before, draw your own conclusions. Listen for the scream after the shot.

    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11548279

    This exercise is just a way to access the call and hear things easier you would not of heard as easy just listening to the raw recording.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand all the animosity here for Land.  He’s posing next to the flag — that proves he’s a God-fearing American and beyond criticism.  I’ll trust superficial displays of patriotism over wooly-headed liberal theories of “honesty” or “morality” any day of the week, thank you very much.

    It’s just simple logic, people.  The best kind of logic — the kind you feel in your gut.

  • Amanda

    The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me here is that there are any black Southern Baptists at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    I imagine i’s because there’s a segment of Black Christianity that hates gays more than it hates white racists.

    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=18505
     

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    It breaks my heart, sometimes, to read Fred’s work on subjects like these.

    Fred, Richard Land works for a business. The SBC is a business, in the same way that Rush Limbaugh is a businessman and that the Susan G. Komen foundation is a business. Richard Land will never be fired from a business unless his words or actions cost that business money.

    You want a business calculation: Land’s remarks paint the SBC as anti-African-American. As long as the perception is one of hating blacks, (versus hating all non-whites) the SBC is OK with that because they know their history, they look at cultures, and they’re watching demographics. Now, if he had come across as anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, that might be a different kettle of fish, but ultimatley, the only thing that matters is whether he’s costing them money or not.

    Look at Komen. Look at Limbaugh. You want to get their attention, hit them where it hurts the most: the pocketbook. Until then, Richard Land will not “need” to be fired.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I mean, the only reason I can see for them not firing him is because they agree with what he’s saying.  Or because they value people who believe in what he’s saying.  Both of which are appalling options.

  • http://schweinsty.livejournal.com schweinsty

     Really? I thought it was the kind of logic you feel in your heart.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/03/15/santorum-tells-lies-in-his-heart/

  • Robert Masters

    As a current SBCer we love DR Land…why would we fire him?
    You,Fred Clark, a self admitted Liberal want him fired but even the lamstream media agree that the whole country is divided on who is wrong.
    I say live like a thug die like a thug!

  • Robert Masters

    As a current SBCer we love DR Land…why would we fire him?
    You,Fred Clark, a self admitted Liberal want him fired but even the lamstream media agree that the whole country is divided on who is wrong.
    I say live like a thug die like a thug!

  • Anonymous

    I say live like a thug die like a thug!

    So the people who’ve been looting our economy should all be taken into a back alley somewhere and shot?

    I won’t touch your implication that an unarmed teenager is a thug simply because he’s a black kid who smokes pot; there are other people here better suited than me to shred you over that.

  • Anonymous

    I say live like a thug die like a thug!

    So the people who’ve been looting our economy should all be taken into a back alley somewhere and shot?

    I won’t touch your implication that an unarmed teenager is a thug simply because he’s a black kid who smokes pot; there are other people here better suited than me to shred you over that.

  • Anonymous

     How do your fingers allow you to type such ignorant remarks?  You make SB look bad when you talk this ignorant way.

  • Anonymous

     How do your fingers allow you to type such ignorant remarks?  You make SB look bad when you talk this ignorant way.

  • Anonymous

     Elli:

    Mr. Masters claims he is a christian.  How does a Christian think this way?

  • Anonymous

     Elli:

    Mr. Masters claims he is a christian.  How does a Christian think this way?

  • Anonymous

    Damned if I know, but the very fact that most if not all of the thugs who’ve been making out like bandits while the economy burns are Christian should tell you that there are indeed Christians who think money is God.

  • Anonymous

    Damned if I know, but the very fact that most if not all of the thugs who’ve been making out like bandits while the economy burns are Christian should tell you that there are indeed Christians who think money is God.

  • tommy9999

    Elli:  The word christian, Christian gets thrown around so much today by folks who show little to no Christ likeness.

  • tommy9999

    Elli:  The word christian, Christian gets thrown around so much today by folks who show little to no Christ likeness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/flyboydc9 Jack Wolford

    As many Democrats appreciate and own firearms as Republicans – just watch !

  • http://twitter.com/drrandle D.R. Randle

    As a Southern Baptist pastor, let me say very clearly that not all Southern Baptists are happy with Richard Land and several have already denounced him and his comments (actually several times prior to this latest rant).  The SBC isn’t homogeneous anymore than Christianity itself is homogeneous.

    Because of the specific nature of the Convention (which doesn’t function like a typical denomination with an elected hierarchy), Land can’t just be fired by “the SBC.”  This must come down from a set of trustees charged with overseeing the particular entity he presides over.  These trustees are (unfortunately) usually hand-picked by the entity themselves and are thus fairly loyal.  In fact, the entire convention could be aligned against Land and still could do almost nothing to fire him should the trustees decide not to do so.  That’s a problem, but it’s also our particular style of polity.  There are great advantages to this type of governance, but here it’s clearly a negative.

    Still, if you pay attention, you will see several Southern Baptists (some even within the higher levels of leadership) who will denounce his views and likely many more will express their distaste for his comments privately.  It’s certainly not that the entire SBC is in agreement with him or that they just don’t care – it’s just that the polity does in fact restrict what can be done.  That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see motions being made and resolutions presented in the upcoming annual meeting regarding the censure of Land (the meeting in June is really the only time the Convention actually can do business – were it not 2 months out, a lot more might be being said right now).

    I do hope that explains some of the lack of immediate action as well as clearly point out that contra Robert Masters above, we don’t all “love DR Land” (at least not in the sense that we in any way are happy with his position or his recent comments).

  • http://twitter.com/drrandle D.R. Randle

    As a Southern Baptist pastor, let me say very clearly that not all Southern Baptists are happy with Richard Land and several have already denounced him and his comments (actually several times prior to this latest rant).  The SBC isn’t homogeneous anymore than Christianity itself is homogeneous.

    Because of the specific nature of the Convention (which doesn’t function like a typical denomination with an elected hierarchy), Land can’t just be fired by “the SBC.”  This must come down from a set of trustees charged with overseeing the particular entity he presides over.  These trustees are (unfortunately) usually hand-picked by the entity themselves and are thus fairly loyal.  In fact, the entire convention could be aligned against Land and still could do almost nothing to fire him should the trustees decide not to do so.  That’s a problem, but it’s also our particular style of polity.  There are great advantages to this type of governance, but here it’s clearly a negative.

    Still, if you pay attention, you will see several Southern Baptists (some even within the higher levels of leadership) who will denounce his views and likely many more will express their distaste for his comments privately.  It’s certainly not that the entire SBC is in agreement with him or that they just don’t care – it’s just that the polity does in fact restrict what can be done.  That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see motions being made and resolutions presented in the upcoming annual meeting regarding the censure of Land (the meeting in June is really the only time the Convention actually can do business – were it not 2 months out, a lot more might be being said right now).

    I do hope that explains some of the lack of immediate action as well as clearly point out that contra Robert Masters above, we don’t all “love DR Land” (at least not in the sense that we in any way are happy with his position or his recent comments).

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    “Self admitted Liberal”

    WTF?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Watch what, exactly? The regular gun massacres?

  • KA

    How fast would the SBC get him out of the way if he was found to be having an affair or other known sexual relationship? He would no longer be representing them as soon as that word was out in the public. There are ways to chastise him and repudiate his words. I have started a change.org petition to let the SBC leadership know that his comments are unacceptable and they need to repudiate his comments. 

    http://www.change.org/petitions/southern-baptist-convention-to-repudiate-remarks-made-by-dr-richard-land-ethics-religious-liberty 

  • KA
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Fountain/100001468497844 David Fountain

    Good information. Additionally, due to the recent Land controversy, several posters on various sites have said they will ensure that no portion of their tithes and offerings go to the Southern Baptist Convention. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ok, but why should it take a sexual indiscretion to damage his credibility when his obviously race-baiting comments aren’t enough to indicate he’s not worth listening to?

    (>_<)

  • http://twitter.com/drrandle D.R. Randle

    David, I am saddened to see people do this.  I think there are better ways to go about protesting the comments of Land than withholding money from the entire SBC.  There are many good Church planters, missionaries, and employees of the SBC that receive that money who repudiate Land and his statements.  Many of these are African-Americans and other minorities who by no fault of their own are being hurt by Land’s words.  There are ways to withhold money directly from the ERLC and to encourage others to do the same.  It’s understandable to not want to fund some segments of the SBC because of this, but when it affects the very people Land himself hurt, then it becomes part of the problem and not the solution.

  • Hypocee

    Hah! Just seen by chance today, Richard done got fired dance!
    Richard done got fired dance!
    Richard done got,
    Richard done got,
    Richard done fired dance!

    (…a full quarter later)

  • AnonymousSam

    “I believe the ‘culture war’ is a titanic struggle for our nation’s soul
    and as a minister of Christ’s Gospel, I have no right to retire from
    that struggle.”

    You don’t know the meaning of the words.

    You tempt me to say things which would make SCP-682′s opinions of humanity sound charitable.

    My name is Truth and you are a pathetic liar.


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