SBC Leaders Respond to Pride Month Tweet by Guidepost Solutions, Firm Used to Investigate SBC Sexual Abuse Allegations
Guidepost Solutions, the firm leading the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, tweeted support for the LGBTQ+ movement June 6 as part of “Pride” month, first designated by President Bill Clinton to celebrate homosexuality and other related lifestyles.
The tweet stated, “Guidepost is committed to strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion and strives to be an organization where our team can bring their authentic selves to work. We celebrate our collective progress toward equality for all and are proud to be an ally to our LGBTQ+ community.”
Guidepost Solutions also has led investigations into allegations at other high-profile ministries, including Christianity Today, RZIM, Preemptive Love Coalition, and Summit Church.
While the firm does not have a Christian statement of faith, it advertises its services to faith-based groups. “Our substantial institutional integrity practice works with domestic and global religious institutions and parachurch organizations from all faiths and practices on a variety of cultural, compliance and investigative matters,” the website states.
“We understand the challenges that faith-based organizations face in identifying, addressing and preventing issues such as sexual harassment and abuse,” it continues.
A sexual abuse task force appointed by the SBC chose Guidepost Solutions to lead the investigation in September of last year. Among the reasons it was chosen were its “considerable background involving abuse in religious contexts” and team members who “are understanding and appreciative of the Baptist faith and biblical principles.”
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The Guidepost report, released on Sunday, May 22, declared that leaders were aware of abuse cases for decades, but instead of focusing on the survivors, prioritized protecting the denomination from liability, using congregational autonomy as an excuse.
The firm also led a previous investigation into allegations that former SBC president Ronnie Floyd and pastor Mike Stone had tried to delay attempts to deal with the allegations and silence abuse survivors.
Members of the task force responded to the Guidepost tweet.
Andrew Hebert said, “The SBC Sex Abuse Task Force contracted Guidepost to do the EC investigation because of their reputation as a world-class investigative firm.”
The tweet continues, “We did not choose them because of theological or political agreement. We do not agree with their recent tweet affirming Pride Month.”
Other Southern Baptist leaders were more critical.
Tom Ascol, president of Founders Ministries, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, and a candidate for SBC president, tweeted, “This is who we gave our tithe dollars to?”
“I & 47,000 other SBC pastors, plus millions of faithful members feel betrayed,” he said. “We paid $millions to a LGBT-affirming & proud organization to guide us on moral & spiritual matters!? Is there no fear of God?”
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, called for breaking ties immediately with Guidepost. “I firmly believe those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community have value and worth, especially to our Lord,” his statement reads. “However, that is a completely separate thought from hiring a firm to investigate the issue of sexual abuse.”
“I do not believe the Southern Baptist Convention should be connected in any fiduciary way to any organization that is consulting with us on such an important topic yet does not share our biblical perspective of human sexuality,” Davis said.
At least one abuse survivor advocate, Wade Mullen, expressed concerns about the choice of Guidepost Solutions in 2021 based on previous cases where he said they have protected powerful clients over the interest of victims, Julie Roys reported.
However, attorney, abuse survivor, and advisor to the task force Rachel Denhollander supported the choice of Guidepost Solutions to lead the SBC investigation, referring to it as a “highly qualified firm.”
The Guidepost report also makes recommendations to the SBC, including creating an “Offender Information System” to track known abusers, establishing an independent commission to deal with abuse, limiting the use of non-disclosure agreements, and creating standards for churches to certify that they are following best practices.