Democrats, the GCR & Stubborn Facts!

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence…”  John Adams (Argument in Defense of the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials December 4,  1770)

Even though our nation’s second President, John Adams, is credited with the above quote, it was our country’s 40th President, Ronald Reagan, who made it famous in the 1980s.  Reagan, who often used the first part of the quote — “facts are stubborn things” — had a slip of the tongue when, in a speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention, he said, “facts are stupid things.”

That seems to be the view of the overwhelming majority of House Democrats, who on Wednesday elected Nancy Pelosi as their new Minority Leader.  Despite the fact that they were on the receiving end of the worst House defeat in the last 70 years, Democrats doubled-down and kept Pelosi as the face of the Democrat Party.  In addition to viewing the American people as stupid, I guess they also view the facts surrounding their massive loss as stupid too.

Ever one to reject those stupid facts staring her in the face, Pelosi, when asked why she should continue as the Democrats’ leader in the House of Representatives, said:

“Because I’m an effective leader, because we got the job done on health care and Wall Street reform and consumer protection. Because they know that I’m the person that can attract the resources, both intellectual and otherwise, to take us to victory — because I’ve done it before.”

Perhaps Ms. Pelosi actually believes what she says.  However, just because she wishes things to be a certain way does not mean that she can “alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Likewise, just because certain establishment leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention wish the facts and evidence to be of a certain state does not mean that they can alter or otherwise change said facts and evidence when it does not suit them.  After all, facts are stubborn things!

In yet another setback for the GCR, the Alabama Baptist Conference of Directors of Associational Missions this week overwhelmingly endorsed an open letter to the SBC which, in essence, opposes some of the more radical elements within the GCR recommendations.  In addressing their serious concerns with the direction of the SBC, the DOMs said:

“In recent days there is a movement within the Southern Baptist Convention that not only alarms many committed to Southern Baptist mission work, but also causes division among all entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

In what is obvious to all but the most ardent and committed pro-GCR supporters, the GCRTF’s recommendations have caused and are continuing to cause division within the Southern Baptist Convention.  As Peter Lumpkins at sbc tomorrow put it:

“The really sad thing is, this open letter remains indicative of the hairline crack in the historically time-tested but delicate network of the Cooperative Program.”

But, like so many Democrats on Capital Hill on Wednesday, pro-GCR forces are furiously trying to alter the facts and the evidence that stand as a massive indictment of the GCR process. 

And, when the facts and evidence cannot be altered, then some pro-GCR supporters resort to accusing opponents of the GCR as being the ones responsible for instigating the divisiveness in the first place.  Add the Alabama DOMs to that list.  Saul Alinsky would be proud! 

This tactic reminds me of the oft-repeated legal saying, “when you have the facts on your side, argue the facts; when you have the law on your side, argue the law; when you have neither, pound your fist on the table.”  I recently came across an article which brilliantly captures a post-modern twist to this quote.  The author, writing about Arizona’s Illegal Immigration Bill, titled his piece, When you can’t argue with facts, call them “racists” and “Nazis.”

I’ve not been called a racist or a Nazi because of my opposition to the GCR, but I have, as of Wednesday, been compared to Jerry Springer.  In fact, SBCVoices — a group blog of diverse voices within the SBC of which I am a contributor — was likened to the Jerry Springer Show.

As a pastor and a blogger, I have found that one must have fairly tough skin to accept criticism when it comes.  I am neither offended nor hurt when another blogger, who I have never met, writes unflattering things about me.  As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad press!

I am not at all surprised by the negative reaction that I have received from a few who would rather pound their fist on the table instead of engaging in reasoned debate.  Who would rather dismiss arguments out of hand without so much as one counter-argument in opposition to what I write.  Facts are stubborn things and, when people do not possess the facts or the evidence to support their wishes or inclinations, they want to change the channel.

But, just when I think that maybe I’m all alone in my observations, along comes the DOMs of the Alabama Baptist Convention to affirm what I have been saying since July:  that the GCR has increased division, not unity, within the SBC.  When I have doubts about what I write, it is amazing how people I do not know and who I had no idea were even reading my blog, begin to send emails my way encouraging me to keep writing.

I promise that I’ll keep writing, even when others would rather I didn’t.  And when I see leaders, whether in our own government or in the SBC, try to alter the state of facts and evidence, I’ll point it out.  After all, facts are stubborn things!

4 comments for “Democrats, the GCR & Stubborn Facts!

  1. November 18, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    OK, Howell, please provide the “stubborn facts” behind your statement that “pro-GCR forces are furiously trying to alter the facts and the evidence”.

    What facts are being altered?
    What evidence is being altered?

    I believe you are doing a bit of table pounding yourself with this post, my friend.

    • November 18, 2010 at 10:09 AM

      William,

      Fact: The messengers to the 2009 SBC Annual Meeting in Louisville authorized the creation of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force by about a 95% positive vote. I was one of the 95% who voted in the affirmative. The Task Force was supposed to bring us together to more effectively carry out the Great Commission.
      Fact: Johnny Hunt, who appointed the Chairman and all members of the Task Force, promised that the proceedings would be open to a representative of Baptist Press.
      Fact: Other than a few open forums, all proceedings of the GCRTF were closed. There were no representatives of Baptist Press allowed to attend.
      Fact: Approximately 10 days before the Annual Meeting in Orlando, a press release was issued by Ronnie Floyd, Chairman of the Task Force, announced that ALL records of the GCRTF proceedings would be sealed for 15 years.
      Fact: Although less than 10% of all Southern Baptists voted to approve the GCRTF Recommendations, the SBC establishment continues to move forward with major changes to our structure and methodolgy.
      Fact: Since June, more and more Southern Baptists have vocally questioned the GCR recommendations.
      Fact: The nomination and election of Kevin Ezell as NAMB President caused an unprecedented public questioning by Baptist State Convention Executive Directors of the wisdom of such a move.
      Fact: The SBC, as evidenced by several large state conventions openly “opposing” the GCR, is less, not more, united than we were two years ago coming out of Louisville.
      Fact: The GCR has caused Southern Baptists to be more divided. Evidence the Alabama DOM’s open letter which itself talks about the division caused by the GCR.

      These are some of the stubborn facts to which I refer. William, I simply do not understand how you and others cannot see that the GCR has itself been divisive. The establishment of a “culture of trust, transparency, and truth” that the GCR recommended has not been achieved as a result of the GCR. In fact, quite the opposite has occured. You may not view and interpret the facts and evidence as I do, but this is what I see as the state of facts in the SBC as a result of the GCR process and recommendations. Thanks for the questions. God bless,

      Howell

  2. November 18, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Howell you said that facts and evidence were “altered.” You have yet to list one fact that was altered but I recognize that you have a list of complaints and obviously you didn’t envision this thing unfolding as it has.

    How could anyone have missed the fact that state conventions were in the bulls eye of the GCRTF was evident even before the recommendations were adopted?

    How could anyone look at what Ezell (and, if you read my blog you saw my criticisms of him from the time he was nominated) is doing and not recognize that it is exactly what the GCRTF recommended. You voted for that.

    And, please, state conventions are autonomous. They don’t have to do anything. So, why are some voting to move towards a 50/50 split?

    • November 18, 2010 at 1:53 PM

      William,

      The clearest way to say what facts are being “altered” is to say that there is more division within the SBC as a result of the GCR. What proponents of the GCR keep dwelling on is that the convention (i.e., the messengers representing about 10%) of all SB churches, voted by about a 75% to 25% margin to approve the GCR recommendations. If there had been no pushback, then I suppose we could say that the 10% spoke clearly for the vast majority of Southern Baptists. I simply do not think that is the case. To bury one’s head in the sand, as some pro-GCR folks do, and not acknowledge the divisive nature of the GCR, is “altering” the facts and evidence.

      I did vote for the creation of the Task Force in 2009, but I most assuredly voted against the Task Force Report and Recommendations in 2010. The reason I did is precisely because I saw what what coming down the pike. The language change in the Cooperative Program/Great Commission Giving recommendation was, IMO, merely illusory, but it gave most messengers, who had initially voted “no,” the opportunity to change their vote, thus securing passage of the entire report. If I had it to do over, I would have also voted no in 2009.

      Yes, State Conventions and churches are autonomous, but do not underestimate the influence that money and politics (often closely related) has on the States. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

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