Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission made some comments on race and the Travyon Martin case that have caused quite the stir. There is a reason they caused a stir, because his comments were racially insensitive. Numerous Southern Baptist bloggers have commented more eloquently on the topic, as such - I'll link to them:
- Dave Miller of SBC Voices
- Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research
- Dr. William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
- Doug Hibbard of SBC Voices
Bottom Line: Whether we agree with Land or not, he appears in the public to speak for the convention. As such, the SBC has a responsibility to respond to his actions / comments. He made a public apology, but did not really apologize for the content of what he said, only that he offended. Other Southern Baptists need to step up and say that what he said was wrong and frankly, he had no place talking about this issue whatsoever in his role. And Ed Stetzer is right in saying, "...[T]he Southern Baptist Convention itself has not yet gained the moral authority to speak with full credibility on issues of race." We need to be careful about what we as a body of believers say - there are still raw feelings about the SBC and rightly so, but we are on the whole a good body of believers that love Christ.
I have been a member of the Southern Baptist Convention for nearly 4 years now. In our church's current state we have seen rotating Pastors come through giving guest sermons until we have picked an interim pastor. Our congregation is 99% white with a number of aging congregants. We have had white guest preachers and black guest preachers, in either case they were treated the same and treated as brothers and sisters in Christ. I have rarely seen such a body of believers who recognize our differences, but allow them to divide whatsoever. When a local predominantly black National Baptist church burned down, our church reached out in Christian love inviting them to our church. Reaching out to all of our fellow laborers in Christ is important. I hope all the churches of the SBC get to the point where all members treated equally for we are all weak and all fall short of the glory of the Lord. None of us are perfect - all of us are weak and in His eyes we are all brothers and sisters. Let us not forget the old children's song, "red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight." To the Lord, we truly all are - let's treat each other that way.