Rank-and-file Texas Baptists are angry about a huge financial scandal in the Rio Grande Valley that has marred their reputation. But most say they still trust their leaders—including executive director Charles Wade—to correct abuses and restore confidence in the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
That message emerged from the BGCT’s annual meeting November 13-14 in Dallas, as messengers (delegates) turned back several attempts to take the matter out of the hands of Wade and the convention’s executive board.
“I think Dr. Wade is going to come out of this all right, and I think he should,” said Lou Balenton, pastor of New Trinity Baptist Church in Plainview, as he left the convention hall. “He’s a man of integrity. I believe there should be some reprimands for staff members, but not for Dr. Wade.”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).