More on Richard Land's Slur

March 03, 2008

Last week, I critiqued Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, for using a crude and derogatory term to describe a U.S. Senator. Today, Ethics Dailiy picked up the issue with an article about the offensive statement. During a lecture at Criswell College, Land called Senator Chuck Schumer the "the schm*** from New York." Such crude language is inappropriate, especially coming from a religious leader's mouth during a sermon to the next generation of church leaders. However, Ethics Daily pointed out an additionally troubling aspect of the remark. The word is Yiddish slang and the Senator that Land attacked is Jewish. Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics offered his concerns:

When a Baptist preacher slurs a senator of Jewish faith with such a degrading word in a lecture to theology students, he discloses a hostility towards Jews and may communicate that using Yiddish insults against those of Jewish faith is acceptable for ministers. ... The fact that he has had a month to think about what he said and has not issued an apology or at least a retraction suggests a disturbing insensitivity and an indifference to crudeness.
Parham is absolutely right. Land should publicly apologize for his remarks, as should Criswell College leaders. If Land is going to lead the SBC's organization for issues related to ethics, then he should avoid crude and offensive insults.