Thursday, November 4, 2010

How much is enough to spend on lawsuits? $5 million and rising isn't enough...ask the Missouri Convention

When is enough, enough? Is spending $5,220,000 suing your Christian brethren over trustee actions enough? How many more millions should be taken from folks in the pews in a futile quest to recover assets that were legally ‘taken’ from one Baptist group and now controlled by another?

If I were a Missouri Baptist I would be thinking that it might be time to end the legal efforts to restore to the status quo ante certain Missouri Baptist Convention entities, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and the Word & Way newspaper.

The lawsuit, lawsuits really, are complicated and have been plodding along for almost nine years now. Missouri moderates appear to be the most clever of all SBC moderates with their actions to hijack these MBC institutions. Loyal MBCers wouldn’t be happy but you win some and you lose some and sometimes you get to the place where you cut the line and let the fish go.

As the ABP article reports, the convention handily rejected a motion to end the lawsuit. Messengers were dutifully lectured on the fact that they “cannot be apprised of everything board members know because of attorney/client privilege, [one of the MBC VPs] said. "The Executive Board has the whole story.... You need to trust them. If you knew what they know, you wouldn't be discussing this today."

Oh? The continuing appeals are a slam dunk for our side? Light at the end of the tunnel? How much will it cost to trust them next year...and the next...and the next? I'd be just a little unsettled were I an MBC messenger listening to this.

The above quote from the ABP story on the matter. A simple search can find multiple stories from BP, ABP and other news outfits over the past years.


Norm said...

William: Hijack.

Norm: When you drive your car, William, be careful that you are not caught by the police for hijacking it.

Can a conservative ever be satisfied?

William Thornton said...

The scenario by which the MBC lost those entities was rightly termed a 'hijack,' something we discussed many times over the years at BL.

But at some point one wonders how much money should be spent to keep them.

Can a mod ever be satisfied? Good question.

Blake said...

This is a great example of the disconnect between SBC bureaucrats and the laity. I have a really hard time believing that had the vast majority of Missouri Southern Baptists known how badly their convention leaders are wasting Cooperative Program money on fruitless, unChristlike endeavors that they wouldn't seek to impeach every last one of them. I can't believe that the 753 messengers who voted to continue a losing battle are either informed or representative of the diversity of Missouri Southern Baptists. Who wants to start the betting on how much longer the Green County Baptist Association director remains in his job?

Norm said...

Does the fact that you discussed something mean your conclusion is legitimate or that it must be so? If you wish to make an argument on moral grounds, you may have a case, but so might the trustees. In terms of legal behavior, the type of behavior that conservatives used to justify many of their actions during the controversy, you have no grounds for the term 'hijack.' Something like ‘what goes around,’ no?

I think the MBC mods are satisfied, William. Mods realize that in a world with legitimate competing interests there are things in which compromise is mature behavior. However, compromise to SBC conservative leaders means something that the 'other' does; that is, "when you come my way, 'we' have compromised." Really difficult to arrive at an acceptable alternative when one party behaves in such an immature manner. Given the actions of SBC leaders, do the trustees have any other course of action for maintaining meaningful use of the facilities that they built? They have already been shut out of the positions and processes of the convention. We already know that 51 = 100 in SBC, but MBC conservatives with a 49 share now wishes to make it 100, and, by definition, the opponents’ 51 as 0. Jesus tells us that if we play by the sword, we die by it, too. I would suggest the MBC conservatives put in down; good things might come of it.

William Thornton said...

Do mods ever move on? Some do. Some don't.
Do cons who feel wronged (MBC) ever move on? In that case, not yet.

There seemed to be a good case for the MBC. They have lost so far, and at a high price.

I'm asking if the expense makes the cause no longer worth pursuing.

I'm not interested in a rehash of all the con/mod history here, Norm.

Norm said...

William: I'm not interested in a rehash of all the con/mod history here, Norm.

Norm: Do you ever tire of bringing this issue up and using the term 'hijack' when you do? You cannot pass judgment on me, William, without casting the same verdict on yourself. Moreover, how do you fault one for responding to an issue that YOU present on a blog, a blog designed for comment? If you are going to use certain language to make your point, surely you are prepared for comments that question its use? And lest you forget, the issue is based in the con/mod controversy (recall your words "... the cause ...."), thus it is impossible to speak to this absent its context, as you have demonstrated.

William Thornton said...

You know Norm, I've benefited from some of your occasional comments here but just don't want to go through this stuff again, so I'm requesting that you cease making comments. I just don't see the sense in these exchanges.

I am aware of your opinion of me and have been for a number of years. If you desire to return to BL I would be happy to support that.

Goodbye. I wish you well.

Norm said...

Let me get this straight: You post comments and are challenged on such and for doing so, I am asked to leave? You are the one that began the process of banning me at BaptistLife and now you wih to ban me here because I write things that you apparently find discomforting, but things, nonetheless, no reasonable person would assert is anywhere close to being offensive or absent merit. Is this the baptist way?

William Thornton said...

Yep, Norm, you have it straight. Call it whatever you wish.

I do always read my email (you can find my address on the blog) and will read and exchange as much as you want there.


Norm said...

Sorry, William, I will not accommodate your unreasonable request; that is, I will not impose a ban on my voice, especially given the reasonableness of my comments. If you wish to prevent some or all of my posts from seeing the light of day on your blog (given you do not moderate posts prior to their presentation), then decency demands that you indicate on your blog that I am no longer allowed to post or only that selected posts are permitted (which would be a policy that is arbitrarily applied). If you are going to comment publically on issues, then you must be prepared to defend your comments or ignore the challenges to the integrity of said comments.

William Thornton said...

No, Norm.

As all bloggers eventually say: 'It's my blog. For good or ill, I get to do what I want with it.'

You can have the last word. Just say all you want in the next comment, then that's it.

Norm said...

So be it, William; that others realize that it is you banning me, not that I am leaving willingly or that I have done anything that merit's this behavior on your behalf. But before I am banned, consider your own words on the subject:

William (9/7/2007): ... is one of the mod/lib blogs that I read ... Don't expect our freedom-loving moderate and liberal bloggers there to allow any challenges to the mod status quo found in their pieces. Pats on the back and suck-ups are apparently the only comments that are allowed. Fair enough, it's their blog.

William (9/7/2007): Try offering a comment that counters whatever is blogged. Like I said, it's their blog, but one suspects that such behavior would gain immediate criticism from mod/libs if the blog were conservative and the comment from a moderate. There are blogs that do not allow comments - well and good. Those that do allow comments, but not contrarian comments, should either stop comments altogether or state that only comments in agreement with the blog are allowed.

William (9/8/2007): ... when I use the term "openess" with respect to the ... blog, I meant to describe how open the blog is in allowing comments. The ... blog apparently nixes any contrarian comments. In contrast ... is wide open. So far as I know, all of your ideas, posts, comments, links and whatever else have been freely allowed ....

William (9/10/2007): I am generally sarcastic by nature towards a lot of folks here.

William (10/10/07): I don't understand enabling comments and then not allowing comments. Why not just disable that?

William Thornton said...

To all: I asked Norm to cease commenting. Consider that request to be arbitrary and not as a result of any egregious behavior on his part.

Over the years, he and I have had at least a thousand exchanges. I do not wish to continue and the few readers here may judge me harshly for this as he has. Nonetheless, it is my decision.

He is a fine Christian, albeit somewhat more lib than I, and quite intelligent. I just don't have the desire to keep going down the same roads.

I am sure there are other more worthy outlets for his comments.

Blake said...

Just a suggestion, why not let him make the comments and let others argue with him if they so choose. I think we can be understanding if you don't wish to respond if you've had the argument a thousand times over already, but neither is anyone asking you to be the sole defender of the position you hold.

Anonymous said...

William - I totally understand your choice in this matter. I do think that 1000 is a little but shy of he actual number. I also know how one way the conversations can be.

Your blog... your choice... I support.

Jon L. Estes