A letter sent to the elders at First Baptist Church in Lindale by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president Danny Akin claims innocence for involved SEBTS faculty, including Karen Swallow Prior and Dean of Graduate Studies Keith Whitfield in the case of the leaked rough draft used to attempt to blackmail Pastor Tom Buck and his wife Jennifer. The letter was posted on Twitter by the Servants and Heralds @SBCUnderground account.
Unfortunately, rather than reveal the truth behind what has happened, the letter compounds the lies that have already been exposed.
Rather than explaining the disparity between Buck’s logical claim that they sent the rough draft to Prior for commentary and editing (not to be shared) and Prior’s claim that Tom and Jennifer wanted her to shop around their personal and painful story before it was finished, the letter makes laughably and illogical claims about what happened.
Notably, Akin quotes Prior who claims that “In 2018, Tom and Jennifer Buck asked me to help them publish an essay written by Jennifer…”
Why would Tom Buck – a notable pastor with plenty of direct contacts at major publications – need the help of a Liberty University English professor to publish an essay?
Prior refuses to divulge who she shared the “essay” (in reality a rough draft in need of significant editing) – a strange omission if her sharing was done innocently. Prior claims that she “was contacted a few weeks ago through my Provost, Keith Whitfield, and asked if…” Wait.
Prior is not hard to get a hold of. No publication trying to reach Prior to verify anything would need to go to Keith Whitfield.
Prior then states that she told Tom Buck she “would not share who had contacted” her because she “knew Keith was contacted anonymously to reach” her.
So instead of simply stating “we were asked anonymously,” Karen refuses to share that Keith Whitfield was involved at all. Again, if all of this was an innocent miscommunication, why did Karen cover up Keith Whitfield’s involvement?
Akin writes that Whitfield was “contacted anonymously.”
If this essay draft was sent to a bunch of publications, winding up in the hands of fake news Baptist News Global and SBC Voices, why would anyone need to contact Whitfield or Prior anonymously? And by text message? Who would happen to know Keith Whitfield’s cell phone number but be afraid to reveal their identity?
Akin later writes that “No SEBTS personnel were involved in responding to a request to verify the story.”
This is correct, mainly because the source of the leaked article was SEBTS professor Karen Swallow Prior, who could easily have put this to rest immediately by telling the Bucks (or the world since she is an avid Tweeter) that she mistakenly thought they wanted her to shop the article. The explanation wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense since the Bucks wouldn’t have needed her help finding a place to publish the essay, but Prior could have maintained her innocent image and most people wouldn’t have been the wiser.
Instead, she went silent and hid behind Akin. Was this to cover up for herself? Or is it possible that Willie Rice advisor Keith Whitfield – receiver of anonymous texts – is the actual reason the draft just happened to fly all over the internet right at the moment Tom Buck brought his information about Jeff Ford to Willie?
Followers of this saga are supposed to accept that this “dirt” on a vocal SBC conservative with many enemies was floating around the internet for four years and nobody thought it was worthy of exploitation until 2022 when Buck happened to privately approach the SBC establishment candidate with a potentially politically damaging issue in his church. Then the draft just happens to enter the conversation.
We’re also supposed to believe that Todd Benkert of SBC Voices (clearly in the Bart Barber camp) just happened to contact Karen Swallow Prior regarding the draft, even though up to the point Benkert revealed his contact with KSP Tom Buck had not revealed her connection.
The manifest untruths are lining up, and the evidence of blackmail and conspiracy are being laid bare for the world to see. The only question that remains is, which liar will squeal first?
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