Friday, October 19, 2018

The Christian Author, the Plagiarism Scandal, and the Immoral Silence

Zondervan has arrived at a settlement after conceding that non-fiction author Christine Caine had plagiarized extensively from the work of Carey Scott (HarperCollins Christian Publishing/HCCP). And as the story got passed around the interwebs with very little in the way of a response, professor Warren Throckmorton had cause to write "I don't think plagiarism matters much to most Christians." He suggests that many Christian celebrities use ghostwriters and have a loose idea of what it means to authors something.  And as with the Caine/Zondervan case, reparations may be paid but apologies won't be made.  The entire issue is swiftly swept under the rug.

I am reminded of the number of scammy publishers than tried to dress themselves up as "good Christians". For example the awful vanity outfit "Christian Faith Publishing", and Tyndale Books and HCCP have both been sued by contributors claiming dishonest practices. And let's not even get started about Tate Publishing.... All areas of publishing have problems but there does seem to be a preponderance of silence on the part of Christian publishing professionals where purveyors of prose from genres such as memoir or romance come forth and either apologize or counter-attack, according to their temperament. Perhaps because, not being clothed in the righteous robes of Christian purpose, they are willing to take personal responsibility for what they have done.

Or perhaps because the media and their consumers are more willing to demand it?

2 comments:

Angie said...

Reminds me of this case from '09, when a famous Christian writer plagiarized a relative unknown, and his fans decided that since, after being called out on the theft, he "graciously" gave her credit for the piece, she should be grateful that he, a Famous Writer, thought so highly of her work that he believed it was worth stealing. o_O

I blogged about it at the time, with links originally posted on Dear Author:

http://angiesdesk.blogspot.com/2009/01/inspirational-plagiarism.html

Angie

Emily Veinglory said...

That is another interesting example. It's like occupying the moral or religious high ground makes them some how immune for being wrong--even when it is objectively obvious that they have. I think most of us--myself included--have some impulse to self-justify rather than accept blame. But with writers our audience should help keep us honest rather than make excuses.