Baptist Seminary Donors Send Board Chairman Blistering Complaint for Firing Paige Patterson

By Tom Gilson Published on June 30, 2018

Sixteen major donors to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary sent a blistering letter on Friday to Kevin Ueckert, chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, complaining about the board executive committee’s May 30, 2018 actions in terminating former president Paige Patterson.

Patterson had been placed on emeritus status by the entire board on May 22, due to concerns regarding his statements about women. The board also granted him a place of residence on the seminary’s Fort Worth, Texas campus at that time.

On May 30 the executive committee of the board, a smaller sub-group, met again and terminated his relationship with the seminary. Patterson was in Germany at the time on seminary business, according to Sharayah Colter, wife of Patterson’s former chief of staff.

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Board chairman Kevin Ueckert issued a statement on June 1 explaining the decision as the result of Patterson’s past mishandling of a student’s allegation of rape at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Patterson had previously served, as well as strong evidence, according to Ueckert, that Patterson had not been truthful about his handling of documents relating to that case.

Strong Language 

Yesterday’s letter was written by Gary Loveless and addressed to Kevin Ueckert and the executive committee members. Using strong language, Loveless disputes both the executive committee’s process and its allegations against Patterson. The committee meeting was conducted in an “illegal” manner, he says. The action it took was an “abuse of power,” a “failure to afford even a modicum of due process” and “a complete miscarriage of justice.”

Bart Barber, a member of the committee, spoke “falsely and slanderously” against Patterson in a national Southern Baptist Convention meeting in June. Ueckert acted “in a premeditated manner and with malice aforethought to intentionally mislead … while simultaneously defaming … Dr. Patterson.”

Loveless’s letter continues in that tone for seven pages.

Allegations Disputed

The letter includes evidence as well that it claims clears Patterson of all the allegations made against him. Part of that evidence is a letter sent Patterson in 2003 by the woman involved in the Southeastern Seminary rape allegation. She has recently come forward to claim that this letter was “edited.” Sharayah Colter, who released the letter to public view, disputes the claim.

Loveless and his co-signatories demand the executive committee “bear personal responsibility” for failing in their legal fiduciary obligations. And they give notice that their financial giving to the seminary would not continue until “the serious wrongs … are righted.” Those gifts, they estimate, have in the past totaled “in the millions of dollars” and could reach “tens of millions” in the future.

They are calling for the creation of a ten-member investigative committee, of which they would choose five members.

 

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