Anyone who’s been around Washington, D.C. very long knows the value and frustration of a Friday document dump. During that season wherein we served as a congressional investigator and policy advisor to the Republican chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, we spent many long hours and endless weekends going through tens of thousands of pages of documents provided by the Obama administration and various private and public corporations.
The hostile purpose of a document dump is to deluge a constitutionally-authorized congressional check on administrative abuse with so much information that it makes it difficult — if not impossible — to find evidence of wrongdoing. The strategy was doubtlessly more effective before the advent of electronic communications and data transparency.
Still, any administration has tremendous power to keep from the public information which may prove embarrassing in the best scenarios, and incriminating in the worst.
The same is true in the Southern Baptist Convention. It is far too easy to keep the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and their messengers to the annual meeting in the dark about an entities’ fiscal condition, administrative activities, and presidential discretionary expenditures. At times, it is far too easy for entity administrators to keep the same information concealed from the “prying eyes” of the entity trustees who may have questions.
For years, Paige Patterson and his famously submissive wife, Dorothy, have kept files on everything and nearly everyone. We know this because we were shown his archival space on the second floor of Appleby Hall on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary nearly 20 years ago. Sense that time, conflicts between the Pattersons and the institutions they served over proper ownership of seminary records have emerged. Some have been resolved. Others have not.
At the present time, Southwestern Seminary is a party to a federal civil matter involving the alleged administrative abuses of its former president. This matter, should it proceed to trial at the court-approved pace, will stretch well into the year 2021. At this rate, The Baptist Blogger has neither the time nor the interest to serve as an ongoing resource for public disclosure of our collection of materials related to the mismanagement of Southwestern Seminary and sundry abuses and fraud schemes that occurred during the Patterson era.
Today, we have sent to SWBTS President Adam Greenway an offer to provide to the seminary copies of certain documents in our possession that may assist in efforts to better understand his predecessor’s actions, assess their relevance to pending litigation, and push back against false narratives about the Patterson era and the reason(s) for his termination.
Upon the transmission and posting of this letter, The Baptist Blogger is suspending future public disclosures of many records related to the Patterson era at Southwestern. We make this decision both as a matter of stewardship of our time and as an expression of confidence in the integrity and courage of Dr. Adam Greenway to do the one thing that Patterson never quite seemed able to do.
Tell the truth. All of it. Until He Comes.
4 thoughts on “Document dump”
It will be interesting to see how the current trustees going to handle the information that they have.
Are they going to be like Pontius Pilate, do whatever the SBC political wind blows and wash their hands? Or are they Christ like, stand with truth, and bring light to darkness?
“What is truth?”
This is not about vengeance to get PP back. This is about who Jesus is and who we are because of Him.
Maybe we need a freedom of information policy in the SBC. Personnel issues could be private but we need more transparency on financial and policy decision making.
What happened to the TOTYs?
It is interesting that we have a “Freedom of Information Policy” in the GOvernment but not in the SBC ….