Friday, May 4, 2007

Lessons Learned from Yesterday in Blog-Land

For all of those who find the whole thing bewildering, some data to help you sort things out.

First, the Silver Lining

Do you believe in Romans 8:28? But for the eruption of blog activity yesterday, the charges against Wiley Drake would have continued unrefuted. These charges were on the Internet and being discussed long before yesterday.

A Timeline

Intelligence Report, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center of civil rights fame, reported in their Spring 2007 issue (no specific date of publication was readily visible on their web site) that Wiley Drake had affirmed the actions of James Kopp, an anti-abortion-motivated murderer. See the article here.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Bob Allen posted an article on Ethics Daily largely repeating the details from Intelligence Report. See his article here.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Aaron Weaver, proprietor of the blog Big Daddy Weave, posted an article the same day as the Ethics Daily piece. Weaver entitled his article "SBC 2nd Vice President Supports Doctor Killer". I commented in the response thread on this article. In the comment thread Weaver specifically and emphatically asserted that Drake had already been contacted about these allegations.
Friday, April 27, 2007
William Thornton over at BaptistLife discussion board, opened a thread in response to the Ethics Daily story. See the thread here
Monday, April 30, 2007
Wade Burleson entered the ongoing thread at BaptistLife and posted comments affirming Drake's philanthropic ventures but attempting to style him as the prototype of what "many in current leadership" in the SBC would make of us all.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Aaron Weaver posted a second time, chiding us all for not taking this story more seriously than we had. See his second article, "The Sound of Silence Surrounding Wiley Drake". In his article, Weaver pointed us to several similar philippics against folks in the SBC. If Bro. Aaron wanted a stronger reaction from SBC bloggers, then he certainly got it!
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Wes Kenney began to contact people about publishing a blog article on the Drake situation. I am one of many whom he contacted. Wiley Drake was among those whom Wes tried to contact. When Wes contacted me, I replied that I had seen the whole story reported at Big Daddy Weave and Ethics Daily more than a week ago—that this was old news (i.e., that Wes's article was well written and worthy of publishing, but that he was not breaking anything that had not already been broken). I told him that I had already commented about Caligula's horse over at Big Daddy Weave, but that I might post something along those lines on my site. I'll let Wes comment on his own, but I think he was as bothered by Wade's attempt to push all of this off onto SBC leadership as by anything else.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Wes posted his article (see here). I posted an article going back and dredging up my previously reported negative thoughts about Drake's initial election (see my article "Incitatus"). Wade Burleson posted an article distancing himself from Wiley Drake (see here). When things started to get out of hand, and due to my own concerns that Wes Kenney was being labeled a fundamentalist, that Wiley Drake was eerily silent (words rarely spoken about Wiley Drake) regarding the whole matter, that Wade Burleson was not being given credit for having distanced himself from Drake, that a conversation with a Baptist journalist did not yield confirmation of the allegations, etc., I posted a more moderating post (see my post entitled "Wiley-Gate?", and please note the question mark).
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Blogger-Of-The-Week Art Rogers tracked down Wiley Drake and discovered that Drake denies the whole thing. Kudos to Art.

Lessons Learned

  1. This story is not about irresponsible blogging. Wes tried to contact Wiley Drake. I assume that he is among several. Wade Burleson has a reputation of trying to contact people first-hand when allegations are coming forward. We know that Wade has known about these charges at least since Monday. If Wade was unable to get in touch with Wiley Drake about them until late last night, then we can understand why Wes had trouble getting through to him.
  2. If you are going to comment publicly on current events, sooner or later you are going to need to retract and apologize. Most bloggers are capable of doing so. Some seem constitutionally incapable of doing so. I leaped to the conclusion that Drake was guilty, even if I did not post that conclusion. For that, I publicly apologize. I remain at the end of all of this just as unsupportive of the Drake election as I ever was before any of this broke, but I am much, much more sympathetic toward him if these charges are indeed unsubstantiated.
  3. The huge losers in this may be Ethics Daily and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Shame on them if they are gossip columns. Nevertheless, they deserve an opportunity to try to defend their stories. I've tried to contact the SPLC, but to no avail. Art, you seem to be the man—can you help us there?


Anonymous said...


as always, bro. you have laid it all out very consisely and accurately. this was helpful in helping us all see the facts, and helping us all realize that some are very quick to jump to judgements about people. i face this all the time in the bog world. it's amazing to me at how some people are so quick to call others liar and falsely accuse and all sorts of things that are not good, and then some refuse to see thier guilt, and/or they dont learn from thier mistakes. it was just like the young man who stood up at the bic II at union u. and called anyone who doesnt view five point calvinism like he does...a liar. i'm serious. he rudely stood up and called a lot of people he doesnt even know a bunch of liars. i think that people ought to be more polite, and they should not be so quick to jump to judgements, and they should learn from thier mistakes. i think that we all should learn from our mistakes.


Bart Barber said...

Yes, David. I agree.

Marty said...

Don't look now, but Bart has become an actual blogger, not just a Ph. D. with a computer!


Bart Barber said...



Sure...why not...thanks!

Art said...


For the record, since I have chided Wes for his post, Wes told me that he had tried to contact Wiley as well.

My concern was that he made the supposition that Wade and Ben were in collusion to promote Wiley in order to tweak the nose of the powers that be. I told him specific facts that denied that supposition and encouraged him to call Wade/Ben and ask them first hand, which he did not do.

Alan Cross said...

Good post, Bart. I have said all along that one good thing about the blogosphere is that it is self corrective. People have lampooned bloggers for being irresponsible, but again, it was bloggers who, really within a day, brought correction to the mistakes of mainstream media.

I think that we are all learning here. That is why I continue to be glad that I primarily write about SBC stuff on the blogs of others and leave mine for more gentle, redemptive topics! :)

Bob Cleveland said...


You sure are smart. So that Doctorate WASN'T honorary, huh?

I don't know what I'm doing hanging around this crowd. I feel like a flea trying to talk to dogs.

(Hey wait ... fleas FEED ON dogs .. never mind)

Bart Barber said...


Thanks for your hard work on this.

Really, I think Wes may have been responding to Wade's comments on the BaptistLife board as much as to any supposed collusion.

Bart Barber said...


Lest we be guilty of making the same mistake twice in as many days, let us say that we may have corrected something. Let's hear from the SPLC and Ethics Daily. Aaron Weaver, if I read him correctly, has not yet abandoned the possibility that these charges are accurate. I'm more skeptical about it today than Aaron is, but let's wait for a response from SPLC and Bob Allen.

Bart Barber said...


The doctorate wasn't honorary, but it could very well have been a momentary lax of parameters.

Bob Cleveland said...

Bart: Don't go Klouding the issues......