October 2001 Baptist Press article on Buckner Benevolences
by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 28 May 2003
There was a significant decline in criticism of the BGCT in the SBTC’s publications following its first year as a convention, but some problematic statements have occurred. The Southern Baptist Texan carried an article by the SBC’s Baptist Press in October 2001 titled “Abstinence program linking Buckner and Planned Parenthood stirs concern in Amarillo.” The article criticized Buckner’s involvement in an abstinence education program in Amarillo because, it was said, Planned Parenthood was among the 24 co-sponsors.  The article was written by Baptist Press reporter Tammi Reed Ledbetter, wife of Gary Ledbetter, editor of the SBTC’s Southern Baptist Texan.
Buckner president Ken Hall responded strongly in statements to The Baptist Standard, referring to the BP/SBTC coverage as “misleading” and “untruthful.” Hall said “Buckner would not lend itself to anything that would teach anything other than total abstinence before marriage” and “We strongly believe in the absolute sanctity of life-from pre-birth to death.” 
The program in question appears to actually have been separate programs by each of the participating organizations, all under the umbrella of the Amarillo Area Foundation in terms of funding and targeting of teen pregnancy. The details of implementation may be comparable to the program implemented the previous year. The Amarillo Area Foundation funded a local Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in August 2000. Under this umbrella, several organizations engaged in projects of their own design, all targeting teen pregnancy. Buckner engaged in a six-week Family Enrichment Program, CareNet Crisis Pregnancy Centers provided abstinence seminars, Planned Parenthood conducted a program concerning parent-teen communication, and other groups engaged in other programs of their own selection.  A Buckner report announcing award of the grant for 2001 suggests the same organization, with Buckner itself awarded support for its Family Enrichment Program. 
(excerpt from A Report on the SBTC)
- 77 Ledbetter, Tammi Reed, “Abstinence program linking Buckner and Planned Parenthood stirs concern in Amarillo,” Southern Baptist Texan, Oct. 2001, pp. 18-20.
- 78 Wingfield, Mark, “Buckner president calls SBTC and BP attack ‘public relations terrorism’,” The Baptist Standard, 8 Oct. 2001, p. 1 [http://www.baptiststandard.com/2001/10_8/pages/buckner_hall.html].
- 79 “Programs provide assistance to parents,” Amarillo Globe-News, 25 Sept. 2000, on line [http://www.amarillonet.com/stories/092500/spe_toparents.shtml].
- 80 “Amarillo Begins Program to Curb Teen Pregnancy,” BucknerToday, winter 2001, on line [http://www.buckner.org/pages/btwinter2k1/around_state/amarillo_pregnancy.html].
© 2003 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 28 May 2003.
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