Can NAMB’s lawyers get anything right? It makes one wonder if they are doing this on purpose to mislead the federal court about the nature of the Southern Baptist Convention.

As we reported November 18, 2022, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) filed a misleading memorandum during the pretrial wrangling in McRaney v. NAMB. That report was posted Friday afternoon. By Monday afternoon, NAMB filed a corrected version of the document attempting to repair the misleading statement asserting that the “Southern Baptist Church” was a thing.

As we reported, on page 10 of document 171 in the McRaney v. NAMB case is this stunning footnote: “It is also difficult to see what these allegations have to do with the dispute between Plaintiff and NAMB, or how Plaintiff was personally harmed by this purported misconduct. Moreover, such alleged statements in a legal brief are protected by a judicial proceedings privilege and would not give rise to an independent tort claim by the Plaintiff. Even if Plaintiff’s allegations were correct (they are not), to hold that he has standing to bring a claim arising from these alleged misstatements in a legal brief filed by a third party would effectively invite every member of the Southern Baptist Church to sue NAMB for statements made in another entity’s brief.”

The revised statement is much the same but changes the problematic part to read: “to hold that he has standing to bring a claim arising from these alleged misstatements in a legal brief filed by a third party would effectively invite every member of any Southern Baptist church to sue NAMB for statements made in another entity’s brief.”

As we said at the time of our original report, there is no such thing as the Southern Baptist Church.

And to show you why the latest footnote is also wrong, let us quote from Bill Townes affidavit filed Feb 12, 2020, in Virginia’s Chesterfield County Circuit Court. According to the then CFO of the SBC, the Southern Baptist Convention “has no members. No church, association, or state convention is a member of the SBC.”

Let’s say it again for those slow understanding it–which must include the high-price lawyers working for NAMB–there are no churches in the SBC.

This is a cornerstone principle of SBC polity asserted many times in SBC legal filings. Why can’t NAMB attorneys explain to the federal court SBC polity?

At this point given all the misleading legal filings from NAMB and Ezell’s good buddy Russell Moore at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the average Southern Baptist might be asking if these mistakes are on purpose.

Below you’ll find the corrected filing from NAMB–the updated footnote is on page 10. Below that you’ll find the 2020 legal filing from Bill Townes. Compare and contrast.