The Pen

SBC: Please Pass the Transparency

On December 9, the Baptist Press joyously reported that Louisiana College (SBC) regained its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

They did not report why SACS removed Louisiana College’s accreditation, which was – in part – reporting from Pulpit and Pen that included:

  • A secret committee on the Board of Trustees paying president Joe Aguillard’s homosexual, drug-using assistance to sign a gag-order regarding things he knew about Aguillard’s personal integrity (link).
  • The undue influence of David Hankins and the Louisiana Baptist Convention over the college (link)
  • David Hankins’ devil’s bargain with Joe Aguillard to save his job in spite of great financial impropriety and absolute incompetency – the price of which was running Calvinists out of LC (link)
  • The unbelievable lack of integrity from David Hankins led to the creation of a split-off convention (link) – to be fair, this didn’t have anything to do with SACS, but still
  • Search P&P by clicking on the hour-glass icon for names Hankins, Aguillard, LC, Tommy French, and more to discover the wealth of reporting on the nastiness, darkest, most corrupt corner of SBC life

The Baptist Press, which did not cover the majority of the Top 10 SBC news stories of 2015, pumps sunshine. It’s not really the press. I’ve been both saddened and encouraged to see Baptist News Global (formerly, Associated Baptist Press) led by Bob Allen (you know, those low-down and dirty moderates) do a fantastic job in covering Southern Baptist affairs with honesty and journalistic integrity. Those who we would agree with on very little theologically, print truth that the Baptist Press wouldn’t touch. What does that tell you?

The Baptist Press belongs in the world of Winston’s Ministry of Truth, celebrating the raise of chocolate rations that were, in reality, cut.

All of that to say

I was rather impressed with an article over at Synergism Today, by Rick Patrick. I’m not so sure Patrick and the gang would want to apply the content of his article to David Hankins or the trustee boards of LC or Brewton-Parker,┬ábut the content is still solid. It is posted here without permission (like we would get it), but is in accordance with fair use.

It is a difficult task for the average Southern Baptist layperson to obtain much in the way of detailed information concerning SBC entities and organizations. One would expect all such matters to be painstakingly reviewed by boards, journalists and messengers attending annual meetings. If information remained unavailable, one would expect the opportunity to contact the entity in writing and acquire the requested information. However, the fact remains that much of what takes place in the SBC simply happens behind closed doors with less than ideal transparency. We have secret documents, undisclosed salaries, poorly publicized channels of support and relatively unknown hiring practices. There are entirely too many secrets.

This essay does not allege any kind of corruption or malfeasance on the part of our SBC organizations. Rather, it merely establishes that a level of secrecy exists that could, in theory, enable such malfeasance. It appears that our system of checks and balances is insufficient. In some cases the information is being withheld. In other cases the information is available but not widely disseminated….One expects totalitarian regimes to own and control communications in order to shape public opinion in favor of the ruling party. The Soviet Union infamously underreported the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster two days late after other nations had already uncovered the story. In the Iraq War of 2003, who could forget the comical Iraqi Information Minister and his bombastic propaganda lauding an Iraqi military being systematically dismantled by American forces? Apart from the basic issue of honesty, there is a systemic organizational failure whenever the fourth estate relies for its financial support upon the very organization it covers.

For the full, unedited article by Rick Patrick, click this link to go to Synergism Today, the official blog of the Connect316 network.

Throughout, Patrick makes some good points. The Baptist Press operates as the Ministry of Truth. It’s time the Proletariat revolt.

[Contributed by JD Hall]