Secret changes highlight allegations of errors in report by the Pro-LGBTQ Guidepost Solutions.
Why should Southern Baptists trust the Guidepost report now that an entire section of the report was retracted without explanation?
Secret deletion shows Guidepost was reckless. Note how Russell Moore critics were singled out for attack in report.
At least one paragraph in the Guidepost Solutions report on Sex Abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention was secretly redacted—without any explanatory note—calling into question the professionalism of the Pro-LGBTQ firm’s report.
According to the online publication of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention an entire paragraph appearing on page 105 of the report was redacted without any explanation. The Capstone Report contacted Richards via social media earlier this week—he replied to our request for comment with the link to the article at the Texan. And his comments are enlightening.
“I would just like to get the truth out there that my name should have never been included in that report, and that my conversation with Phillip had nothing to do with sexual abuse,” said Richards, the emeritus executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
And there is much more.
According to the report, Richards said that Guidepost “never contacted him before publishing his name in the report.”
Never contacted Richards? That seems odd for legal experts to include a paragraph without any type of investigation. Which prompts us to ask—what other paragraphs are predicated on similar out-of-context evidence? What other paragraphs include people who were not contacted prior to publication of such an explosive report?
Highlighting the reckless way that Guidepost produced the report is the secret deletion of the offending paragraph. There is nothing in the report to explain this or provide context for it. Richards said that something should have been included to let people know.
According to the report, “Richards still felt that a footnote should be added to page 105 of the report noting why the paragraph including the quote had been removed.”
The now deleted paragraph in the report attempted to make Richards out as an SBC leader opposing reform efforts to address sex abuse in churches.
Guidepost redacted this paragraph: “Here again, divisions within SBC leadership were clear. Indeed, some discussions became very adversarial. In a recorded conversation on Nov. 16, 2019, Dr. Bethancourt took issue with a prior comment by Jim Richards; Mr. Richards had told Dr. Bethancourt: ‘If you want a war, we’ll give you a war.’”
The fact Guidepost did not contact someone included in the report and has now removed the offending paragraph tells you a great deal about the quality of the report. Further, many other individuals have condemned the report. In fact, Mike Stone claims Guidepost libeled him, and he offered to produce evidence that would clear his name. Hopefully, Stone will soon release what he claims is a smoking gun.
Notice a trend here? Guidepost attacked many critics of Russell Moore.
And as one sage observer of Southern Baptist politics said privately, “Who could have predicted that the Guidepost report would include gratuitous out of context quotes from Russell Moore critics?”