Monday, May 14, 2007

Who Is on the Side of Liberty?

As we near San Antonio, expect to hear more and more rhetoric claiming that SBC Conservatives are the opponents of religious liberty. I've been blogging now for around a year, and I would challenge each of you who have been a part of the medium for a while to look around and see whose liberty has been curtailed. I personally know of several conservative bloggers who have been intimidated out of blogging. Jobs have been endangered. Lawsuits have been threatened. People have been bullied. No, I will not name names and put these people into greater peril, no matter how much anyone might demand substantiation. But I know that it has happened. On the other hand, although I constantly see people qualifying their anonymous posts with "I have to stay anonymous because I'm a student at SWBTS" or "As a missionary I would love to speak out, but I have to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions," it seems to me that the major vocal dissenting bloggers from a year ago are all still out there just as vocal as they ever were (or more so). If anyone had been terminated or flunked for their dissident blogging, I'm betting we would have heard about it (as probably would the Supreme Court by now). Hmmmm.


Wade Burleson said...

I seem to recall a good man once saying, 'Figures won't lie, but liars will figure.'

Art said...

Of course they haven't been fired. They are remaining anonymous to avoid persecution. How hard is that to figure out?

R. L. Vaughn said...

If memory serves, "SBC Conservatives are the opponents of religious liberty" was a rallying cry in an earlier controversy.

Luke said...

Seems to me that if they really believe what they are writing is so important that they just must speak up, it would not matter to them who knew what they believed. Standing behind anonymity to me, invalidates their convictions. I thought that identifying with Christ meant stepping out into the open and being willing to face persecution. Silly me, there goes my conservative mindset showing again.

Even though I am relatively new to this blogging stuff and do not know all that you refer to in blogdom, I really appreciate your site Bart. You have just about motivated me to start attending the SB conventions even if just to see all the commotion. Bet I could get a lot of sermon illustrations from watching the political wrangling. Seriously, with so much seeming to hang in the balance, I really must weigh the matter of my attendance.


Alan Cross said...

I've been heavily involved in this for a year and a half and I can honesly say that I have no idea what you are talking about here. You seem to imply that "conservative" bloggers, meaning those who were for the actions of the leadership (funny, all this time I thought I was conservative) were harassed and intimidated. Whose jobs have been endangered? Who has been intimidated? I am not saying that it hasn't happened because I totally trust your honesty, but if any of that happened it is wrong and it should be documented, instead of just speaking generally, don't you think?

Benjamin S. Cole said...


If you need names of people who have been intimidated, threatened, and terminated because of dissident blogs, then please give me a call. I have several names I can give you.

And I'm not worried about sharing the names.

Anonymity is the bastard child of deceit. That's a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Best to just put it out there and let the chips fall on whomever's boots are closest.


Anonymous said...


another good post.


Bart Barber said...



Bart Barber said...


It isn't hard to figure out, except that the threat is entirely speculative.

Bart Barber said...


Come to San Antonio in the hot Texas summertime and I will personally buy you a bottle of water.

Or, if you want something harder, you can see some of the folks on the other side of a few issues. :-)

Bart Barber said...

Alan and Ben,

I agree that it should be documented. I think it would be great for those involved to step out courageously and say what has happened to them. But I will not choose to be courageous on their behalf, since that's not really courage, is it?

Bart Barber said...


My phone did ring from your number tonight. Perhaps we can visit tomorrow. I apologize for screening your call. At the moment I was, with my "elder"ly hands upon them, praying for the healing of a husband and wife with cancer.

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

I thought I was conservative too. I remember last year before the convention reading many blogs that were so full of scandalous libel I couldn't believe what I was reading. This from Christians? What I see is more honest discussion taking place and less lies. That to me is a good thing. I see cooperation and listening taking precedence. Much less exciting, but more Biblical.

Grosey's Messages said...

* sigh

Paul Burleson said...


"Perspective"...the aspect in which a subject or it's parts are mentally viewed...a view of things [as objects or events] in their true relationship or relative importance.

We all have our own don't we. :)

It was good to hear you at the Arlington conference though I didn't have the privilage of meeting you.

Bart Barber said...


I heard your name mentioned, but never managed to lay eyes upon you that I could discern. Otherwise, I would have sought you out. Maybe we'll meet upon another occasion.

I hear there is some sort of upcoming event in San Antonio...

Bro. Robin said...


WOW! You must be on some sort of blogger hotline. I feel like I am in a hotel lob...... Never Mind.

Bro. Robin said...


Sorry, I forgot the customary


after my comment.

sbc pastor said...

In my opinion, there are essentially two reasons why Southern Baptists will continue to reject the efforts of the Burleson-blogger coalition to sew discord in our convention: 1) bad theology, and 2) unchristlike character. Thanks for the post, Bart. God bless!!!

In Christ,

Debbie said...

Jeremy: You must be reading something different than I am. Would you call what you have written on your blog alone correct in both fact and theology and Christlike character?

SWBTS Student said...

For the record, I do not comment "anonymously" because I am afraid of flunking ... I do that well enough on my own.

A Simple Student @ SWBTS

Marty said...

Brother, you are so far out in left field that you can't even see the batter.

Marty said...


I personally know of several conservative bloggers who have been intimidated out of blogging. Jobs have been endangered. Lawsuits have been threatened. People have been bullied. No, I will not name names and put these people into greater peril, no matter how much anyone might demand substantiation. But I know that it has happened.

Welcome to my world. Except for the "intimidated out of blogging" part. And substitute "jobs endangered" for "positions forfeited or declined."

Maybe now we can talk about which bloggers were nominated to serve on SBC committees for this year (your side) and which ones did not and did not whine about it (my side) and one who even congratulated you (me).

Last I saw you, Robin, Jeremy, Les, Don Hinkle and Scott Lamb, Tim Rogers and Russ Moore were still blogging away. Of course, Brad Reynolds hasn't posted since sometime in January. Hmmmm.

If some of those bloggers quit blogging, perhaps it was because they were bringing a bad rep to the institutions that they represented. Hmmmmm. Perhaps if their "liberty has been curtailed" it is because their "liberty" had become "an offense" to others, perhaps their peers.

I'm not doubting your statement, I believe you to be a man of integrity. However, the main ones representing your general point of view that I have tracked since the beginning, save the one mentioned above, are still going in some degree of strength.

Les Puryear said...


Why are you putting me in the same company as Robin, Tim Rogers, Jeremy, and Bart? We haven't agreed on anything since I started posting about BFM2K. :)

Not intimidated nor bullied,


Marty said...


OH, MAN! Great counter and point taken!


I hope things are well with you, my brother.

Bart Barber said...


At least put me in right field!

Bart Barber said...


...thinking about what you are make a good case...I think perhaps I may have overstated mine.

How about this? Some repercussions from blogging have gone both ways. Some people on either side are good at playing hardball.

Marty said...

I completely concur. Thanks for the interaction.

And I would always put you in right field, but you'd have to put yourself in far right field.


Anonymous said...


I was visiting a prof. one day when Brad Reynolds walked in. The prof. asked him why he wansn't blogging. His response, being a pastor and all, was that he was too busy to keep it up.

Just FYI. :)

God bless,

Marty said...

Thanks, Dougald.