TEAM MCRANEY will be filing an appeal in the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the court to overturn the latest ruling of the Federal District court, in which the judge seemed to overturn himself in his latest ruling on the “ecclesiastical” question. The SBC is not a denomination, but a voluntary fellowship at all parts, AND breaking tort laws under ecclesiastical cover should concern everyone (past and future abuse victims), not just Southern Baptists.
Ezell Not Found Innocent of Any Claim
The court did not exonerate Kevin Ezell of any claim I have made against him. In fact, Ezell has not himself denied or offered a public account of his actions (he lets NAMB PR Director Mike Ebert deceive others for him – see 2 past FB videos). Kevin has proven repeatedly to not be trustworthy and will lie, deceive and threaten when someone stands in his way or challenges his kingship. But it did not just begin with me, his life pattern is clear.
SBC Polity: Not Polity of Methodist or Russian Orthodox
SBC is not Methodist nor Russian Orthodox as the judge referenced. NAMB is not a church. #NAMB does not meet legal or practical requirements of a “Supporting Organization” for the BCMD in spite of the misleading affidavits of NAMB Ferrer and BCMD Stolle (also see video). The BCMD is not owned or operated by NAMB nor dependent upon them, in fact BCMD was started 161 years prior to NAMB. Kevin Ezell does not have “absolute privilege” to violate libel laws nor tortious interference laws against me, the #BCMD or any other State or Associational leader.
Victims of Abuses, Churches, Associations, State Conventions, and SBC entities and their Leaders in Danger
Alarm bells should be ringing and so should some phones. Several significant protections for victims will be lost and the ascending liability for the SBC just increased with the latest ruling of the court in this case. Protections will be lost for individuals who are victims of all manner of abuse by or within any partner of the SBC (church, Association, State, and national entities) and the perpetrators can successfully claim it is an ecclesiastical matter, not involving civil protections.
As well, every SBC Executive Committee leader and all the entities should be deeply troubled that their liability exposure just skyrocketed, as the court has opened the door to viewing all partners of the SBC as of the same one church and thereby ecclesiastical. This absolutely is not the case in the governing and organizing documents of the SBC, but it did not prevent NAMB President Kevin Ezell on behalf of the NAMB Trustees from making such a ridiculous claim/argument before the courts in order to defend Ezell from a hearing for justice for his actions.
LIBEL and THREATS ALLOWED: Leaders Beware
Based on the court’s current ruling, virtually anything said or done against anyone by any other SBC, State Convention, Associational entity leader is an ecclesiastical matter, and there is no practical or judicial outlet to get relief or remedy.
Hypothetical scenarios as examples: among infinite number of others. All of these would likely be deemed “Ecclesiastical” under then application of the current ruling in my case.
- NAMB President (or ANY SBC entity personnel) for whatever the reason threatens to without money (even PUBLICLY) against your State Convention until a State Exec (or any employee of a State Convention or Association) are terminated, you have absolutely NO recourse for relief inside the SBC or in the courts.
- NAMB President (or ANY SBC entity personnel) makes a false accusation privately or public, by voice or written, that a State Leader or Associational Leader or Local church leader has committed an affair, had a homosexual relationship or had some other sexual relations outside of marriage, you have absolutely NO recourse for relief inside the SBC or in the courts, as that would be considered.
False claim about anything, not just doctrine… sexual relationship, sexual perversion, alcohol or drug use, criminal activity, marriage relationships, how you treat woman, abuse of children or women, the list is virtually endless. All of these would be covered as “church” matters because the judge basically ruled that all my claims involved ONE church, the SBC, which encompassed NAMB and the BCMD.
This would apply at the local level as well. An entity head, such as Ezell, can interfere with a local church matter or staff with lies or threats or whatever he desires, and it be covered as “ecclesiastical” under this ruling if it stands.
In some respects, the ruling is an overextension of the clergy penitent privilege, which in most states has been revoked in order to protect children from their abusers in the church. This is another matter where victims rights and protections are being placed above the overreach of church privilege by the ministers. In 2003 Kevin Ezell invoked the clergy privilege to keep from testifying under an issued subpoena against a church member who was later found to have molested at least 7 boy children. The court allowed Ezell to not testify under clergy privilege because it was a church matter between a pastor and his church member. All the while, the sexual molestation victims have a potential primary witness not testify under ecclesiastical doctrines and applications, and an accused molester walks freely in the halls of the church. Ezell/Ebert threatens Joni Hannigan for even reporting his actions and her journalism career and capacity to earn a living is damaged. Is that protected as ecclesiastical as well?
Statesmen and Action Needed in SBC
We get what we tolerate. Are Southern Baptists going to tolerate Kevin Ezell’s damaging actions against people and damaging arguments before the courts? Bullies get stronger until they are confronted and brought into the light. It is time for National, State Leaders and Associational Missional Strategists and the Messengers of cooperating SBC churches to speak.
The time for #SBC leaders to act is now, as significant protections of the SBC could be lost forever. Southern Baptists deserve to hear directly from SBC Executive Committee General Counsel Augie Boto, SBC EC President Ronnie Floyd and our 50+ year SBC attorney Jim Guenther on whether NAMB’s filing with the federal court is in keeping with Baptist governing documents (see below) and history since 1845. Autonomy upheld for 50 years inside the SBC entities because of the separation, and yet now, the court’s current ruling appears to be seeing the entire SBC as one church, not separate, voluntary partners. All types of massive negative ramifications for this decision if it stands.
An amicus brief on SBC polity would be in order to protect the SBC’s future, for this is on their watch. ERLC and IMB have done it to protect Muslims rights and recently on behalf of a Catholic organization. Here is another example of ERLC filing as friends of the court. WE need our SBC leaders to file as friends of the court for the SBC’s future and for justice.
Decision before the SBC leaders and Messengers
- What can and should we do to right the wrongs me as a valued individual?
- What does the SBC do to insure the current ruling gets challenged in the courts to be overturned with honest communication from the SBC legal representatives on SBC
- What is done with NAMB as a SBC entity for making these claims in the court that are counter to
Many Thank Yous!
Thanks to the many who are entrusting their heart breaking stories to me in the last several days. SBC members will be shocked to learn of the damages faithful servants have suffered for decades at the hands and influence of Kevin Ezell.
Thank you for the prayers. It is time for Reform NAMB Now and time for change.
Will and Sandy McRaney
** Quick reply as we formalize an article in response. Stay tuned for more FB Live videos and our written updates and releases.
Here are some additional links which may be helpful.
- Silence: Ezell Threatens Sexual Abuse Victim/SBC Journalist for Speaking Truth — maybe to protect himself and other Highview/Southern Seminary friends/SBC Leaders
- SBC Constitution – See Article IV — NO even attempt at SBC exercising authority over any church, State Convention or Association — SBC is Voluntary Fellowship, not a denomination
- SBC’s “A Closer Look” – for explanation on SBC polity and why BCMD is not a “church” of the SBC or NAMB
- 1992 SBC Resolution on “The Autonomy of Baptist Churches and General“
- Part of Highlighted article on SBC historical arguments for voluntary fellowship. “The Bad Shepherd SBC lawsuit “
SBC Leaders: aware of the legal dangers of NAMB’s claims….
- NAMB Claims it Can Interfere in State Conventions & More
- Over 120 Days & SBC Leaders are Still Leaving the Fate of the Cooperative up to a Judge?