Richard Land's Terrible Week Gets Even Worse as ERLC Launches an Investigation

As Brian noted the other day, it has not been a very good week for Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

First there was the continuing controversy over his statement that "race hustlers" where using the Trayvon Martin tragedy in order to "gin up the black vote" for President Obama. Land had largely remained defiant in the face of the criticism he had been receiving, saying he was being "mugged" by the media and that he would "not bow to the false god of political correctness."

But this week, Land backed down and issued a rather passive-aggressive quasi-apology, saying he "overestimated the progress that has been made in slaying the ugly racist ghosts of the past in our history."

But that was not the only bad news for Land, as he also had to fess up to having routinely plagiarized articles and columns during his weekly radio program, where he had a habit of reading things on air written by others without attribution and passing them off as his own words.  

But Land's multiple apologies have not put an end to his problems, as the ERLC's executive committee has now issued a statement saying that it is "very concerned" about how Land's behavior "may damage the work of the ERLC" and is launching an investigation

Comments by Richard Land about the Trayvon Martin killing "have angered many and opened wounds from the past," the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's executive committee said in a statement released April 18.

The executive committee also registered concern that Land, the ERLC's president, had used sources from other media without proper attribution for some of his comments in his weekly radio call-in show.

An ad hoc committee has been formed "to investigate the allegations of plagiarism and recommend appropriate action," the ERLC executive committee reported in its statement.

"The [ERLC] Executive Committee is very saddened that this controversy has erupted, and is very concerned about how these events may damage the work of the ERLC in support of Southern Baptists and in furtherance of the Kingdom of our Lord," the six-member committee said.

On the website for Land's weekly radio program, all of the archived programs have now been removed and replaced with this message from the ERLC:

We recently became aware of instances in which Dr. Richard Land read from materials written by others during his radio show without clear and proper attribution to the authors of those materials on the program. We have also learned that news agencies occasionally access this website and use clips from Dr. Land’s past broadcasts without prior notice or permission. Due to the danger that such unauthorized use by news agencies or others might include quoted material used by Dr. Land without clear and proper credit being given to the author or source of the quoted material, we have removed links to prior radio broadcasts.

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