Southern Baptist expert Richard Land, the voice of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, borrowed his diatribe on President Obama’s Trayvon Martin remarks but, oops, failed to credit the sources for whole paragraphs of invective.
He even stood by his Trayvon-Obama comments when they came under fire.
But then a Baylor grad student blogger caught the quotes in Land’s regular radio br0adcast — where Land never mentioned any sources — and checked the language against the footnotes on his website where the original authors of the language were cited.
And today, Land issued double apologies — one for form and the other for content.
He began issuing a statement of gratitude that the oversight was brought to his attention:
On occasion I have failed to provide appropriate verbal attributions on my radio broadcast, Richard Land Live!, and for that I sincerely apologize. I regret if anyone feels they were deceived or misled. That was not my intent nor has it ever been. Clearly there has been no attempt to deceive the public or we would not have posted the articles that are used on the air. Richard Land Live! is a live radio show. While I do not use a script, listeners familiar with the program know that both the audio of the program and material I reference during the program are posted on the program’s Web site during or immediately following the broadcast. During the program I encourage listeners to share these links and content among their circle of influence. This has been standard operating practice for the program since its launch in 2002. I am grateful this oversight was brought to my attention. One can always do better and I certainly pledge to do so.
The sharp-eyed blogger, Aaron Douglas Weaver, now studying for his doctorate in Religion, Politics & Society, did one of his internships at a rival, more liberal Baptists ethics center, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. His blog, the Big Daddy Weave, tracked the Trayvon comments and earlier examples of broadcasting views without credit, then citing sources on the website.
What interested me, having interviewed Land and seen him in several public appearances, is why someone so articulate didn’t come up with his language, or even an original point, on such a hot topic as the Martin case.
In a phone interview late this afternoon with Land, he told me he had been “sloppy” about giving credit on the air but that he had “no intent to deceive.” Still, he stepped up immediately to take responsibility for what he read on the air…
because reading it means I am giving it my stamp of approval.
Then Land, one of the prime movers behind the Southern Baptist Convention’s 1995 resolution apologizing for the denomination’s racist past, went on in his own voice to address the controversial comments he read/said about Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and the president:
I obviously overestimated the extent of progress that has been made in slaying the racial dragon of our past. I should have remembered that whenever we have a discussion about race, the ghosts of our ancestors are in the room with us. And I underestimated the need to be extremely careful in how you address any controversial issue that involves race as a factor.
I am grieved that anyone would feel my comments have retarded in any way the Southern Baptists’ march toward racial reconciliation, which I have been committed to for the entirety of my ministry, since 1962.
Land went on to say,
I certainly apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended by my remarks.
I noted that the candidate considered the front-runner to be the next SBC president is a black pastor, the Rev. Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Land called him a personal friend, saying he was “delirious with happiness” at the prospect of Luter leading the SBC.
(Source: USA Today)