I was contacted a few minutes ago by someone who spoke to the chair of the Nominating Committee for the 2018 SBC, which we have been discussing. It contained 69 nominations for new positions and 67 of them were white.
First of all, the person I spoke to is a friend I trust to tell me the truth. I cannot and will not reveal that person’s name, but this person’s word is impeccable.
Here’s what I was told.
- The Nominating Committee report was released because there is a deadline for releasing it. It had to be released when it was.
- Like all Nominating Committee reports, it is a work-in-progress. If you look at past years, it is not unusual for there to be minor or even significant changes to the final report.
- The current Nominating Committee is actually the most diverse ever – there was no intent to exclude. They work state by state gathering nominations. The process tended to focus on the pieces, not the whole.
- When the final report was gathered, the chair realized that the slate was not diverse enough and a committee was appointed to begin working to correct that.
- The announcement of the slate could not be delayed because of the statutory requirements.
- That committee has already been tasked with correcting this nominations report before the SBC.
- I am assured that the final nominations report will be much more diverse than the current one.
- I was told that the chair of the committee, a lawyer from Kansas City, is a fine man who is deeply grieved about this entire thing. He had no intent to present a monochromatic slate such as this one and is committed to seeing that the final report is much different than the current one.
I do not have contact information for the chairman, but I present this information as a report from a trusted friend. I assume every word I have shared to be true because of the trust I have in the friend who shared it. Whether you believe me is up to you.
If the chair of that committee would like to speak to this, we would gladly give him an opportunity to do so.
In our previous post, we said we believed this was unintentional – not done out of racism but more out of carelessness. That seems to have been the case. Because of the posting deadline, the 67/69 slate was published before it could be corrected. Perhaps a note that this report was going to be changed to address the lack of diversity would have been helpful.
- We trust and assume that the final report presented to the convention will evidence much greater diversity.
- I hope people will be gracious to the chair and to the committee. As the process was explained to me I realized how unintentional this was. I don’t like what happened – not at all – but I am convinced that the chair and the members of the Nominating Committee did their work with only the best intentions. And having seen the problem they are seeking to correct it.
- My friend is a big believer in the Baptist system. Here, it APPEARED to have failed but I was assured that the process of correction had already begun even before this problem became a national story.
- I hope our brothers and sisters in the minority communities will realize that while we sometimes get it wrong, there is a strong will among Southern Baptists to include you in this process. The reason so many of us were so upset about this is that we knew what you thought when you saw this.
So, for the time being, I am going to “trust the committee” and wait until I see a final report. If it represents a genuine commitment to racial diversity then I hope we will join together to give the committee a round of applause in Dallas.