Dec 3, 2009

Silence of the Lambs

Plagiarism has brought down many an academic career, scandalized politicians and cost reporters and speechwriters their jobs. It is a form of theft and thus covered in the Ten Commandments under "thou shalt not steal," so I expect Christians to treat it as a serious matter. I have been looking into a case of plagiarism involving a Christian author recently, and I found no evidence to support that expectation.
Atheist and science bloggers discovered the plagiarism months ago. An Internet search reveals a dozen such blogs that mention Ray Comfort's plagiarism, yet I can not find a single Christian blog that condemns or even mentions the theft. Even sites that are critical of Comfort only take him to task for his sophistry, not his ethical transgression.
I contacted both the book publisher and Comfort's Living Waters ministry by phone. The person at Living Waters took a detailed message and all my contact info, but no one ever contacted me. He refused to give me a name or email address for a publicist, attorney or anyone. The publicist at Bridge-Logos, the publisher, answered their phone, but she claimed to have never heard the allegations and could not respond. I sent emails to her and directly to the owner of the company and again a week later reminded them that there was still time to comment prior to my deadline. Nothing.
Numerous major media outlets publicized an effort to pass out Comfort's book with the plagiarized passage on college campuses, but none mentioned the plagiarism. Three pages of text are taken with little change, making the theft quite obvious. Comfort is a best-selling author of dozens of titles, a television personality and a frequent guest on radio and news shows. Men of lesser stature have had to answer for passing off another's work as their own.
Is there a double standard here? The Bible warns us that men of poor character and ill intent will use piety and righteousness as a disguise. Have Christians let down their guard to dangers within their midst?

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