As I mentioned yesterday, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a major titan of the religious right, is about to lose his daily radio show in part because of at least two instances of blatant plagiarism. I've had some time to sleep on it, and I don't think that goes far enough. Land needs to be fired.
For those who missed it, let's review. A prominent blogger on Baptist issues, Aaron Weaver, discovered that Land's now-infamous screed about black leaders using the Trayvon Martin shooting to "gin up the black vote" for Obama had been lifted verbatim from a column written by the Washington Times' Jeffrey Kuhner. Weaver also found out that Land had lifted material from the Washington Examiner and Investors' Business Daily.
The ERLC's board of trustees, to my mind, had no choice but to cancel the show under the circumstances. But after reading a statement Land made after being caught red-handed, I'm of the mind that the ERLC didn't go far enough. When confronted with Weaver's evidence, Land had this to say:
On occasion I have failed to provide appropriate verbal attributions on my radio broadcast, Richard Land Live!, and for that I sincerely apologize. I regret if anyone feels they were deceived or misled. That was not my intent nor has it ever been. Clearly there has been no attempt to deceive the public or we would not have posted the articles that are used on the air.If I had peddled that excuse to any of my professors at Carolina, they would have first laughed at me, then haled me before the Honor Court, where I would have faced a minimum one-semester suspension. At best, Land has a fundamental misunderstanding of fair use. At worst--as Weaver contends--Land knew what he was doing.
Whatever the case, we need to help the ERLC give Land a not-so-gentle push out the door. I just started a petition to the chairman of the ERLC board of trustees, Richard Piles, asking him to fire Land. Sign here.