Thursday, May 3, 2007


I offer the following wrap-up observations.

  1. This controversy ought not to be about Wes Kenney. Wes merely did what bloggers do—he commented on events that have been reported in a denominational press organ relying upon an advocacy newsletter. Wes did not break this story. Wes is one of the most evenhanded bloggers in Southern Baptist life. I cannot help but wonder where the vantage point is from which Wes Kenney is so far to the right of you that he looks like a fundamentalist. Wes is not the issue here.
  2. The election of Wiley Drake ought not to be about Wade Burleson. Bro. Wade is responsible for comments that he has made about the SBC "deserving" Wiley Drake (see here) and for pretending that the endorsement of murder (or whatever else he might have meant to typify by reference to Drake) is somehow the logical result of being a conservative Southern Baptist (see here). But unless he colluded with Ben Cole and Bill Dodson, the only responsibility he has for the VP election is his own vote, however, he voted.
  3. I am anxious to hear from Wiley Drake. It would be nice to have these charges either confirmed or denied.We have heard from Wiley Drake! Art Rogers (see here) was finally able to get through to Drake. Drake denies ever having visited the site in question. Now, I'm REALLY anxious to hear from Bob Allen over at Ethics Daily, who broke the story last week into Baptist life.
  4. I have regarded Drake's election as a disrespectful action since I learned of it. Whatever he is and whatever he believes, he was elected as a lark. That's not the right way to select our leadership. Frankly, it is the kind of petulant stunt that political movements ought to avoid if they wish to be taken seriously.


Debbie said...

Bart: Point number 2 concerning murder. Are you serious???? I cannot help but think Dr. Barber is joking. I think you know that statement is way over and beyond the Richter scale and ask you to please change it as that is not what Wade meant.

Bart Barber said...


How's that?

Paul said...


I don't understand how that it seems to be your opinion that when a slate of trustees is elected by convention messengers who enact policies that go beyond our confessional statement that the messengers seem to know what they are doing, but when convention messengers elect Wiley Drake it is a petulant stunt.

As far as I know Bill Dodson, Ben Cole and Wiley Drake each had one vote. Wiley was not elected by a vote of 3-2.

I'm not defending his election. I am suggesting that it is possible that trustees in the past may have been elected who's only reason for being in their position was to serve a political movement but would have been deemed unqualified by the messengers had they only known the skeletons in those person's closets.

Honestly, those who elected Wiley Drake are only doing what convention leaders have taught them to do for almost three decades.

Bart Barber said...


Let me help you understand. Drake's nomination speech belonged in Jay Leno's monologue. It was a comedy bit. The difference between the selection of trustees and the election of Drake is that the former is taken seriously and the latter was not.

Les Puryear said...


I guess it goes to show you what a few jokes can do to a convention of preachers and laypeople who tell jokes during sermons and teaching. Everyone jumped the gun on this story and it's really sad.



Bart Barber said...


Indeed, if Bob Allen has misled Baptists on this one, then a great injustice has indeed been perpetrated.

Alan Cross said...


Everyone who wrote on this probably needs to apologize. I wrote a comment here and one on Wade's blog and I wish I hadn't. I am sorry I did. It is a good lesson to me to not jump into something without it being verified. Now, we should be able to trust ABP and Ethics Daily, and the main purpose of blogs is to comment on news and not make the news, but we should still probably all slow down abit before we make a bunch of accusations. On all sides.

That is why I am waiting for the IMB Trustees Ad Hoc Committee final report before I make final judgments on this whole thing. I am still holding out hope.

Today, I spoke too soon and it isn't anyone's fault but my own.

Bart Barber said...

Indeed, I have posted apologies in a couple of places, too. But the very experience itself makes me judicious in how I phrase the apology. I leaped to one conclusion; I want to beware of leaping to the other. I am wrong for having concluded too early that Drake was guilty as charged. I want to hold off on concluding that Bob Allen is guilty as charged.

Either way, I think Drake's election was a mistake. Either way, I think Allen's publication is...well...we differ on many things. I will follow what unfolds with interest.

Wade Burleson said...


Uhh . . . your comment deserves a well enunciated.


Very nice.

Bart Barber said...

Gosh, Wade, I thought my reply was pretty good.

Art said...


I got Wiley on the first call. I hadn't called him because I had a filling replaced today and hadn't had time nor felt like it.

I assure you, he is not that hard to get.

As for political groups avoiding petulant actions - there are sooooo many things I could point out right now.

I'll settle for pointing out, yet again, that Bill Dodson nominated Wiley in 2005 and promised to return until he was elected. I'll further remind everyone that nothing was going on in the SBC at that time (Summer, 2005). None of this was being discussed and blogs were not known among us.

Wiley was not put forward by Wade or Ben. He was put forward by Bill Dodson.

This assumption is just as false as the one that Wiley signed the statement of support.

It is also one which I implored Wes Kenney to validate with Wade and Ben before publishing - especially since I told him it was not true - and yet he published anyway. This is still being assumed to be true and it is not.

If people expect to be heard - in the blogosphere or in the SBC - they are going to have to step up to the minimum standard of accuracy.

And I think your answer to Paul was a sidestep. He's right. You can't clamor for convention participation,saying during the panel discussion last week that we get what we deserve, and then hang Wiley's election on anyone but the convention.

Big Daddy Weave said...

As you mentioned, Ethics Daily reported on a story first published in the Spring 2007 edition of the Intelligence Report. It is fair to characterize the Southern Poverty Law Center as an advocacy organization. They do advocate on a various number of causes.

The SPLC's Intelligence Project (originally called Klanwatch) puts out the Intelligence Report which updates law enforcement, the media, and public on the activity it investigated. The Intelligence Report is described as an award-winning quarterly magazine and has become the most prominent publication on extremism in the country. According to the website, IR has 300K subscribers - 60,000 of which are law enforcement personnel. Intelligence Project also cooperates with various federal law enforcement programs.

All this said, SPLC's Intelligence Project is widely respected in Washington DC (that's where I first learned about SPLC) and among law enforcement officials around the country. Bob Allen was simply covering a story broken by a respected organization known their groundbreaking expose's on hate groups (such as in Oklahoma City where the federal government worked with the SPLC in their investigation)

If Wiley is upset, perhaps he should contact SPLC and contact the Army of God. There are available email addresses on both websites. Because as it stands currently, his signature is still on that declaration.

Bart Barber said...


More than once I have made this point. Indeed, it is a numbered point in the OP. I am not hanging Drake's election on Wade.


Not at all.

Haven't done so.

Or show me where I did.

Rather, I pointedly and specifically blamed THE PEOPLE OF THE CONVENTION WHO VOTED FOR HIM (last post, comments). Ben cannot escape responsibility, because he wrote the man's nomination speech, which was the single most prominent factor in his election.

But the sole point of analogy between Incitatus and Drake—the one-and-only objection that I have been offering since July about Drake's election—is that the messengers to the SBC did not take the VP election seriously.

In which case we got precisely what we deserve. Is it so bad for me to try to get us to behave in such a way that we would deserve better?

Bart Barber said...


Why wouldn't a journalist contact Drake directly for confirmation or denial? Part of what lent credibility to this story is the fact that SPLC's story asserts what appears to be refusal-to-comment by Drake and the leadership of the SBC ("SBC officials declined to comment publicly..."). Looking more closely, the article appears to refer to an unwillingness by "SBC officials" (whoever that is) to comment publicly on Drake's election nearly a year ago.


So, did SPLC give Drake and the SBC a chance to comment on this story? Right now, it looks like they didn't. Otherwise, why wouldn't we have heard these denials a month ago?

Anonymous said...

Bart, many questions return to Bob Allen. This style of "journalism" is his MO. Come on, Ethics Daily? Why is everyone -- Wes? -- reading and putting stock in that CBF rag? Bob is famous for putting stories together, nailing someone with guilt-by-association, and never calling the other side (usually the conservative side) for a statement or explanation.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

I believe we all need to take responsibility for Brother Wiley Drake being elected as VP. No doubt there were other much more qualified candidates and I firmly was in support of one who will be speaking at the Pastor's Conference this year. However, his nominating speech was not up to the standards of nominating speeches. According to one blogger, it was the nominating speech that ruled the day. You can read his account of this speech below. According to Brother Wade, who is now strangely distancing himself from Brother Wiley, it is the nominating speech that turns the decision of the people.
"The Second Vice-Presidential nomination speech by Bill Dodson on behalf of Wiley Drake will go down in history as the best nomination speech ever given at the SBC. Give credit to the Bill Dodson for a brilliant delivery --- just the right amount of pauses --- a masterful performance of drawing the messenger's in through humor. Comedy is all about timing, and Dodson's timing was impeccable. However, the entire speech was scripted, as well as the (pauses), by the erudite Ben Cole. Anyone who wants to be elected to convention office needs to hire Ben to write his speech."

Also, Brother Art seems to take issue with Brother Wes. Brother Wes gave his take on a news story from a reputable news organization, by a reputable news reporter. While Brother Art warned Brother Wes, he still has the right to speak his opinion. Anyone who has spent any time with Wes Kenney knows he is not doing this for the "splash". Note what Brother Art said while live blogging last June;
"Bill Dodson is making a hilarious nomination speech for Wiley Drake. You have to watch this at Still, it is powerful and he has my vote, for sure! Like Ben Cole once said, “Wiley was missional before missional was cool.”

I don’t know that Wiley could accurately define “missional,” but he lvies it accurately every day."

While Brother Wiley has denied this signature being his, I accept his statement. However, please do not distant yourselves from a candidate that was wholeheartedly supported and promoted as what the SBC needed. Wiley Drake was promoted before the convention by many.

If the speech is what rules the day, I wonder??? Naw! Brother Ben has already told me that I would not be asked to read from the wordless book even if he did write my nominating speech for that position. :>)


Art said...


You still hang it on Ben and ignore Bill Dodson and his nomination the year before.

I do appreciate you saying that the convention is responsible.


Wes has a right to his opinion, but that is not all that was given. A theory of connectionalism was coupled with the assumption that the story was accurate in the first place - all without contacting the principals involved, and after I had denied his suppositions and urged him most stridently to contact them before publishing.

Wes has a right to his opinion. He also has a responsibility to the people about whom he is writing.

We all do. I know that you agree with that, because I have heard you advocate the exact same thing in defense of suppositions concerning Paige Patterson.

It applies across the board to everyone.

Art said...

Oh, and Tim,

I have not distanced myself from Wiley. I love him. He was missional before missional was cool.

I disagree vehemently with most of his politics and what he thinks the convention ought to be. When I and others have told him that to his face, he told us that it was fine with him because we were still brothers.

That's the kind of cooperation we need, and I love Wiley.

Has this been a tough year for some leadership because of Wiley's actions and (actual) statements? Yes, probably. But, in the end, I don't think it is nearly as harmful as Bart and Wade seem to have thought and I like the idea of reaching across the aisle to people with whom I disagree.

Big Daddy Weave said...


I'm not going to speculate whether Drake was contacted or when exactly the SPLC contacted the SBC for comment. Or if the Army of God verified the signature. I don't think this story is a month old, though. When working with extremists, my guess is that those extremists always deny their connections to hate groups when interviewed by the SPLC. Nonetheless, SPLC should be contacted for those concerned.

Others who blogged on Wiley Drake have been pointed by Brian Kaylor to this story.

I did find this statement kinda odd if not conspiratorial...

"Why would someone tell such a dumb lie?

The only motive I can think of is that a few are fearful that God’s people, not the machine, might re-elect me to 2nd V.P. again.

If Wiley Drake has been framed for the past 5 years, I'd hope he (or one of his supporters) would follow through and make a few phone calls. The numbers/e-mails are available.

A final awaits me...

Big Daddy Weave said...

The first sentence should read:

I'm not going to speculate whether Drake was contacted by EthicsDaily or when exactly the SPLC contacted the SBC for comment.

I've said this before to Daniel Randle - I was told Drake had been contacted by a friend (from college) who works at SPLC. I don't know the author of the story. I have had no contact with BCE.