COMPONENT TWO of the report is entitled, Making Our Values Transparent, and states:
We must also work toward the creation of a new and healthy culture within the Southern Baptist Convention. If we are to grow together and work together in faithfulness to the command of Christ, we must establish a culture of trust, transparency, and truth among all Southern Baptists.
I'm sorry, but transparency wasn’t one of the characteristics of the work of the Task Force. The group decided early on to completely shut out all Southern Baptists, including all Baptist Press and other SBC journalists and to meet behind closed doors. Not even a BP rep on background was allowed.
Bad move. Really bad move and one that makes Component Two a bit of hypocrisy.
Now we read that the Task Force wanted their discussions recorded for Baptist posterity and Southern Baptists get to cool their heels for a decade and a half.
GCR recordings to be closed 15 years
Of this, Chairman Ronnie Floyd said,
“The GCRTF voted to follow the precedent set by the SBC Peace Committee and have the sessions recorded. As with the Peace Committee, the recordings will be deposited at the SBC Historical Library and Archives, where they will be maintained until opened to researchers,” Floyd said in an e-mail to Baptist Press Executive Editor Will Hall. “The GCRTF will determine those number of years just as the Peace Committee did.”
There you have it. The task force elected to serve Southern Baptists tell the 16 million (uh, not 'strong') SBCers to just wait a decade and a half to listen to what was said. On Baptist transparency and openness, Floyd and the others propose and (more accurately) dispose transparency in one tight package. Tough luck Southern Baptists.
The Biblical Recorder noted (in a story I am unable to link right now), said:
All those references to the Peace Committee prompted me to call Dan Martin, who was news editor for Baptist Press during that period. He attended and recorded every meeting of the Peace Committee. And he wrote a news story for distribution to Southern Baptists after every meeting. And he participated as the scribe for the final report.
Sealing deliberations for 10 years meant by the time the records were available for reflection, consideration and research no one cared, Martin said.
He said there are only two reasons to seal records from more immediate availability: 1. “You’re ashamed of what you said,” or 2. “You don’t want to have to live by what you said.”
I rather hate to note a small, dark cloud over the GCRTF's work, but might there be one other reason for secrecy: Some of the Task Force members will be in line for SBC jobs in the near future and would rather not have their statements available for review?
I’d like to see an openness and transparency resurgence in Southern Baptist life. We haven't seen it here.
Too bad for us. It was a golden opportunity.