Around the Internet and elsewhere various people have objected to the nomination of Dr. Albert Mohler for election as President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Among the reasons for objection have been the claim that Dr. Mohler's election would represent a conflict of interest, since he presides over the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Nobody has been able to offer any specific credible suggestion as to how a seminary president might advance his personal interests or the interests of the seminary as SBC President. Furthermore, the SBC has elected so many entity heads as SBC President in the past as to make the phenomenon not even noteworthy any longer. Yet still some people will persist in this objection. Why?
I make this observation: I have yet to encounter anyone who raises the conflict of interest objection who has absolutely no other objections to Dr. Mohler's election. In other words, the "conflict of interest" objection seems not to have strong enough legs to stand on its own. People who have other reasons to object to Dr. Mohler's election, according to my theory, latch upon the "conflict of interest" objection to buttress their real reasons for objecting to his election.
As evidence, I encourage you to do a little blog searching regarding this scenario. The office of First Vice President has the sole responsibilities of consulting with the President regarding appointments, presiding over portions of the annual meeting, and stepping into the presidency upon the inability of the President to fulfill his responsibilities. The only qualification for being First Vice President is to be able to be the President if required. If a person is unfit to be President, that person is necessarily also unfit to be First Vice President.
Last year, International Mission Board employee David Rogers was nominated for the office of First Vice President. His nominator suggested that a missionary—an employee of the SBC—was precisely who we "should have…leading us." I do not recall anyone from any point of view suggesting last year that it would be a conflict of interest for an employee of the IMB possibly to be in a position to influence the selection of trustees for the IMB (consulting with the President to make appointments, and possibly winding up as President himself to make the appointments).
If you can locate for me anyone who both objected to David Rogers's nomination last year on the basis of "conflict of interest" and is objecting to Dr. Mohler's nomination this year on the basis of "conflict of interest," then we will have located someone who is demonstrably operating out of a personal conviction (however misguided it may be) about conflict of interest.