Baptist leader apologizes to Obama for Trayvon Martin comments

Richard Land sends personal letter to president, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton

(Jerome Horton)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Southern Baptist leader has apologized to President Barack Obama and other black leaders for accusing them of exploiting Trayvon Martin's death for political gain.

Richard Land on Wednesday said he impugned the motives of Obama, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Land says he has sent personal letters of apology to each of the men, asking for their forgiveness.

Land is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Land's comments come at a time of declining membership and the denomination's efforts to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white, Southern base.

The apology in the Baptist Press comes after a meeting between Land and black Southern Baptist leaders.