“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
While away, I viewed these stories from afar and wished I could comment on them. Unfortunately, this particular story is still being debated, and I have come to a similar conclusion for very different reasons. Make sure you note that caveat. The Roys Report outlines the issue in Southern Baptist Task Force May Split with Guidepost Over LGBTQ Views. Here’s what is happening.
The Guidepost report appears to have miffed off the usual suspects aligned with the Conservative Baptist Network, although some would deny their affiliation. I suspect the Johnny Hunt report in the Guidepost investigation was key. Hunt is currently suing the SBC, Guidepost, and others. Hunt has lots of friends who support him. I wrote about that in Johnny Hunt, We Are Sure Getting to Know Who You Really Are. What Was That About Whitewashed Tombs?
The infamous tweet demonstrates the hypocrisy of those demanding that Guidepost Solutions be fired.
Now, it appears that the anti-Guidepost faction is using a tweet from the company to achieve its goals. According to the Roys Report
“We celebrate our collective progress toward equality for all and are proud to be an ally to our LGBTQ+ community,” the tweet read.
Seriously? Everyone knew it was a secular company, just like every other one. Many companies are LGBT-friendly, yet Baptists everywhere buy and consume their products. I have issues about Guidepost, but it has nothing to do with the chosen topic du jour by the conservative Baptist crowd. For example, here are some tech companies which are LGBT-friendly. They include:
I don’t think we will see these guys giving up their iPhones in protest. Hence, I believe this whole hoo-ha is just a cover for their agenda. According to the Roys Report, even the current SBC President is giving in to their demands. I guess they hold the power of the purse.
Almost immediately, critics of the report and state Baptist leaders began calling for the convention to dump Guidepost. Southern Baptists believe any sex outside a heterosexual marriage is sinful and have expelled churches in the past for having gay members.
Current SBC President Bart Barber told a gathering recently that he asked the current task force, which he appointed, not to work with Guidepost because of the controversy.
Bob Smietana of Religion News wrote the following for The Washington Post: Calls for SBC to cut ties with Guidepost Solutions greet firm’s Pride Month tweet.
Though a secular company, Guidepost has become a go-to firm for evangelical groups dealing with the issue of sexual abuse. It is perhaps best-known in Christian circles for a report on the culture at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries that found that RZIM board members were blinded by loyalty to Zacharias, a once-beloved author and speaker who has been accused of sexual abuse.
Faith Based Solutions, a newly created division of Guidepost, will still run the hotline.
However, it appears that ties to Guidepost will not be cut entirely. Guidepost recognized the potential problems and hired Samatha Kilpatrick to run a new side gig in the company, which they called Faith Based Solutions. I once joked that they turned on the light in an unused office, threw a Bible on the desk, and said, “Voilà! Problemo solved.” It wasn’t but more on that in a minute. According to WaPo:
In the statement, the task force said it had been working toward finding a “unifying solution.”
The task force has not cut ties completely with the faith-based division of Guidepost.
In the statement Tuesday — which does not mention Guidepost by name — the group said Faith-Based Solutions would still oversee a hotline for reporting abuse.
Faith Based Solutions is still Guidepst Solutions. They can drape the office in the Gospel all they want. However, there are still problems which I shall get to in a minute.
The task force outlined who they planned to put on their list of bad actors.
Look carefully at the highlighted part of the statement. The Roys Report said:
The task force also updated its progress on the abuse reforms, including the process for adding names to the Ministry Check website. The list will include names of those who have been convicted, have confessed to abuse or who have had a civil judgment against them. Churches will also be able to add names if they conducted an independent investigation. An expert panel will review each case before names are added to the list, according to the update.
“Faith-Based Solutions was never involved in this portion of the process,” according to the update.
I believe that Guidepost Solutions did a bang-up job on their investigation and the subsequent report.
TWW wrote The Explosive SBC Sex Abuse Report Mirrors the Catholic Church Abuse Scandal and That Will Have Long-term Consequences for the Denomination. In this post is a link to the results of the investigation. (I love linking to our posts since they tend to be filled with links and info. I’m tooting my horn. Sorry.) Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Christians from around the globe. Everyone said that the SBC sounds like the Catholic church. In that post, I said that this would be the result. Painful but necessary.
Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler refused to speak to Guidepost, a problem inherent in such a report. I believe future investigations will be stymied. Then, the inevitable happened. Johnny Hunt and David Sills have filed lawsuits targeting Guidepost and others associated with the report. I predict this will get really ugly.
Didn’t they say that other companies did not have the bandwidth to handle such a huge job?
The task force came up with another idea which Baptist News Global wrote about in SBC abuse task force gives in to anti-gay critics of Guidepost Solutions. They plan to break up the big job into smaller jobs. I’m glad I don’t have to figure out how to do this.
In the spirit of unity and cooperation, the ARITF met in Atlanta on Monday, March 27, and voted to consider alternative pathways (dividing the work among smaller firms which share our values) to establish and maintain the Ministry Check website. The ARITF is presently sourcing and evaluating additional firms to assist with the Ministry Check process who meet our qualifications for the highest professional standards.”
So what’s my problem?
Here we go.
The tweet is NOT the problem.
I want to emphasize this. LGBT people get molested in churches as well. Are these churches/guys saying that they will not care about a gay teen who is molested by a member of the clergy? It happens. Abuse is abuse, no matter one’s sexual orientation. Let’s cut the politicking and deal with the issue at hand.
Guidepost Solutions helps creepy and wealthy customers.
First, let’s go way back to when Guidepost Solutions was hired. We wrote: Guidepost Solutions, Hired by the SBC, Has a Seeming History of Helping the Wealthy “Bad Guy.” If I’m Confused, Others Are As Well. They help the “high profile. high net worth clients” with image problems. Harvey Weinstein, ARod, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn come to mind. Read the post for details. I must admit that I’m worried they will come out on the side of the “bad guys.” However, their investigation helped to alleviate that concern somewhat. I guess they come out on the side of those who pay them.
The Bryan Lorits/JD Greear problem.
In 2021, I wrote: JD Greear, Bryan Loritts, and the Guidepost Solutions Investigation: Moving Quickly From Caring Well to Couldn’t Care Less. Ultimately, Guidepost concluded that Loritts mishandled the abuse allegations but did not engage in a coverup. Greear really wanted Loritts and expressed his support despite a seeming number of alleged dubious activities on the part of Loritts, but the investigation seemed to “clear” him. I, along with others, have been writing about him for years. I am not comfortable with Guidepost’s conclusion.
- Independent investigations
Samantha Kilpatrick is a well-trained, capable lawyer. But unfortunately, she and several others conducted an independent investigation at my former church in which she was a member. As a result, the pastors were exonerated over allegations that they covered up the foreknowledge of a pedophile from SEBTS who harmed a number of teen boys. It is the reason this blog now exists. I was stunned at the outcome and took to blogging to see if anybody else had experienced what I did. The rest is history.
I believe that Kilpatrick learned much in the intervening years and would imagine she would never conduct such an investigation today. But old feelings die hard, and I am working on forgiveness in this matter.
Also, I hope the task force thoroughly explains what they mean by “internal investigations” since such investigations are not considered adequate by many sex abuse advocates and victims. Yet, they claim they will accept the results of such investigations for their list of “bad actors.”
Does Guidepost Solutions align with victims or bad actors?
Here is what concerns me the most. It appears they help out bad actors like Harvey Weinstein, who is now in prison, worrying about who is nice and who isn’t. I get it. It is a company that will serve everyone who will pay for its services. They are in business to make money, and the SBC should remember that. Ultimately, this is my concern now, and it was my concern when Guidepost Solutions was first hired. I hope the churches in the SBC spend more time thinking about this than an irrelevant tweet. Does Guidepost care more about victims than an alleged molester? It appears they didn’t when it involved Dominique Strauss-Kahn versus a hotel housekeeper. But it all got settled, so it was a win for Guidepost Solutions. How does the task force view this?
I continue to have my concerns about Guidepost Solutions and am surprised that more people haven’t raised their own concerns. I predict a difficult road ahead.