Just a few minutes ago, in a stunning about face, Janet Mefferd disclosed that she removed from her website the interview with Mark Driscoll that prompted charges of plagiarism. She also removed all of the visual evidence of plagiarism and apologized to her audience for her conduct during the interview. Saying she should have gone to Tyndale House first, she expressed regret that the matter had become a controversy among Christians.
For most of the morning, observers on social media had noted that her blog was down and her twitter feed had been purged of references to the controversy.
In her brief announcement, Mefferd did not indicate what triggered the change of mind.
It strikes me that the horse is already out of the barn on this.
Ironically, her 4pm guest is slated to discuss Christian celebrity culture.
Ms. Mefferd’s full statement as heard on her December 4 broadcast (2nd hour from 5:29-6:28) is as follows:
Before we go to break, I just want to say something really, really quickly to you. A few weeks ago, as many people know, I conducted an interview with pastor Mark Driscoll. And I received lots of feedback on that interview, both positive and negative, but I feel now that in retrospect, I should have conducted myself in a better way. I now realize the interview should not have occurred at all. I should have contacted Tyndale House directly to alert them to the plagiarism issue. And I never should have brought it to the attention of listeners publicly. So I would like to apologize to all of you and to Mark Driscoll for how I behaved. I am sorry.
Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate that the story would go viral online the way it did and creating such dissension with the Christian community was never my aim. And so in an effort to right things as best as I can, I have now removed all of the materials related to the interview off my website, and also off my social media.
On The Allegations Of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll (12/2/13)
Zombies, Plagiarism And Mark Driscoll Helped Me Write This Blog Post (12/3/13)
Mark Driscoll And His Church On Plagiarism (12/4/13)
Mark Driscoll Accused Of Plagiarism By Radio Host (Religion News Service)
More Allegations Of Plagiarism Surface Against Mark Driscoll (Religion News Service)
Last evening, the Springboro School Board canceled two Constitution classes which had drawn protests from parents, teachers and students. Notice of the board action was posted on a Facebook site called Springboro United for Responsible Education.
According to WHIO, school board member Jim Rigano issued a statement saying in part, “We felt that having the community participate with evaluating these courses would be an excellent opportunity for schools and community to work together. Instead, the courses have received some criticism from the community, which we take very seriously.”
Some Springboro citizens had sent an open letter to the school board and created a petition at Change.org.
Yesterday, I reported here on Institute on the Constitution’s ties to white supremacist group League of the South.
While the cancellation is a step in the right direction, I am confident that parents and community groups will continue to press for answers to questions about why the IOTC was considered a viable resource.
Below is the entire press release:
Springboro Community City Schools News Release
For Immediate Release
July 3, 2013
CONSTITUTION COURSES CANCELLED
SPRINGBORO- Springboro Community Schools has cancelled two community education courses on the U.S. Constitution originally scheduled for this summer.
“We felt that having the community participate with evaluating these courses would be an excellent opportunity for schools and community to work together. Instead, the courses have received some criticism from the
community, which we take very seriously,” said Jim Rigano, Board of Education Vice President. “We wanted to allow time for additional review to fully investigate community concerns.”
The two courses were a 12-week course by the Institute on the Constitution scheduled to run from July 9 through September 24, and a one day seminar by the National Center for Constitutional Studies.
Anyone currently registered for the 12-week course by the Institute on the Constitution should contact instructor Ricki Pepin at 937-322-3149 for a refund or other information. Those who registered for the seminar with the National Center for Constitutional Studies through Springboro Schools will receive a refund.
This is now on the district website.
UPDATE 1/5/13: But now see this: EAP Brochure describing homosexuality as an addiction.
When I asked Bell whether or not this brochure was his, he wrote back (1/4/13) saying:
Why do you ask?
Do we need to modify the current investigation to include that of
harrassment and electronic stalking?
You had no desire before to verify any content that included us. You decline, as do others, to print the requested retraction.
O.A.T.S. in Virginia
This just gets stranger and stranger.
This just came in my inbox from Virginia pastor Raymond Bell:
We are contacting the respective groups we feel should be aware of some events over the last several days.
Beginning on December 20th and article (source unknown) began circulating on the internet alleging contact with us as well as slandering our company.
The following have published this article and republished the article:
Gay Star News
And the blog of Professor Warren Throckmorton of
Grove City Christian College
As the entities were identified, contact was made and they were advised we had no knowledge of the article and had never been contacted despite being named as a source. They were each directed to post and publish retraction.
They have declined.
As this is internet based it crosses both state lines and international boundaries making it a matter for federal offices and federal authorities.
We ask that your office investigate as to the conduct of these groups and if within your reach to remove any operational privileges, rights, licenses, or other operational provisions.
Overcoming Adversity Through Silence
in cooperation with
Cowboy Church of Virginia
Bell is referring to a post I put up earlier today. I did not republish the Gay Star News story but instead referred to it as an illustration. I contacted Bell and then he replied indicating that he had not spoken to reporters. I changed my post to reflect his communication to me about the Gay Star News story on December 20.
Mr. Bell’s complaint is with Gay Star News. It is perfectly reasonable to report what another source has said. In the event of a misquote or allegation of a made up story, it is also reasonable to report that which I did in the earlier post and am doing now.
Exodus International announced today that the organization will no longer sponsor the Day of Truth (website has been disabled). In an article on CNN’s Belief’s Blog posted by Dan Gilgoff, Exodus leader, Alan Chambers tells the tale:
“All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they’d like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.
Probably surprised by the move, GLSEN’s Eliza Byard welcomed the news.
“I thank Exodus for making this very important step,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard on Wednesday after hearing of Exodus’ decision. “The Day of Truth was an effort to push a very specific set of opinions about homosexuality into schools in a way that was inappropriate and divisive.”
On the Day of Truth, middle and high school students are encouraged to wear Day of Truth T-shirts and to distribute cards that say “It’s time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality,” according to Exodus’ manual for this year’s event.
“I don’t think it’s necessary anymore,” Chambers said of the event on Wednesday. “We want to help the church to be respectful of all its neighbors, to help those who want help and to be compassionate toward people who may hold a different worldview from us.”
As I noted in the article, I think this is a very significant move. Over the past three years, I have been documenting a split in the evangelical world over how to relate to the gay community. With this decision, Exodus has moved even farther away from the side of fear and stigma. I welcome it as quite consistent with the article I wrote yesterday for CNN.
Wilderness Outcry, touted as the beginning of the Third Great Awakening, is off. From the WO website this morning:
Dear Friend of DSM and Wilderness Outcry,
We are very sorry to announce that due to a lack of funds, the large 5-day gathering called Wilderness Outcry will no longer take place this upcoming summer. We believe this vision is of the Lord, and certainly no one can deny the desperate need of our nation for prayer, but the reality is that provision for the high cost of doing an event like this – most of which must be paid in advance – has simply not materialized.
This was never intended to be a money-making event. Without charging a registration fee for attending, we knew our costs would be several hundred thousand dollars. We were confident we could raise this money. We were wrong. The line between true faith and presumption can be very fine sometimes, and our ability to truly discern God’s will can be difficult. Obviously, we fell short in both areas.
We are saddened and grieved with this development and repent for any presumption on our part. We sincerely ask your forgiveness for any inconvenience this has caused you.
For those of you who have registered and paid for a campsite, we will issue you a full refund. For those of you who have donated to Wilderness Outcry, you will be receiving a personal email from my office.
To contact my office with any questions, email: [email protected].
Much of the site has been disabled. You can read the promo for the conference here.
Here is a local news report on the cancellation.