March 27, 2009

Mo. Convention Uses Mission, Ministry Dollars for Legal Fight

Ethics Daily has an important article today entitled "Mo. Convention Uses Mission, Ministry Dollars for Legal Fight." The piece, by Aarik Danielsen, details how the Missouri Baptist Convention has used Cooperative Program contributions to help fund its lawsuits against five Missouri Baptist ministry organizations. The article says that MBC audit reports suggest that more than $1.5 million from the CP has been used, despite promises that no CP money would be used to fund the lawsuits.

2 comments:

  1. Yay for stories by my buddy Aarik!

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  2. Anonymous2:09 PM

    This was a very interesting article and raised several issues and questions that have been discussed in Missouri Baptist circles since the inception of the lawsuits - over six years ago.

    I would like to make a few observations.

    At the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) it was reported that NO Cooperative Program (CP) $'s had been used for legal fees. The story line has changed--in the beginning of this legal mess Missouri Baptist were being told that no current year CP $'s were being used for legal fees. At that time, this distinction was considered necessary because of the Strategic Initiatives Fund - those $'s originally came into the control of the MBC as CP $'s. Interesting change of the story--kinda brings the term "money laundering" to mind.

    The CP reserve fund that is mentioned towards the end of this article was funded by $'s not sent to William Jewell College and under-spend from CP budget one or more years. So, if this money is being spent on legal fees, it is CP $'s.

    Finally, the thought that you can borrow money from yourself and change its source is ridiculous and insulting to all Missouri Baptists if our leaders think we will believe this. In addition, if it is a loan from yourself you never really have to pay it back and from past actions of the MBC and its Board; this reader fully expects that to be the case.

    The MBC leaders should be concerned that they are in violation of federal tax law. IRS Form 13909 has a check-box for a violation which states "organization engaged in deceptive or improper fundraising practices". This reader believes that if you lie to or mislead Missouri Baptist regarding the use of CP $'s for legal fees you are being deceptive.

    It is time for Missouri Baptist to be informed, take a stand, and let their MBC leaders know that they want CP $'s to be used for Kingdom work not mean-spitited legal action that is not legally grounded and was not necessary in the first place.

    What is the true focus of the MBC -- God's ministry or individual power and control?

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