US political news never ceases to amaze us, but this time in a different way. An accusation of plagiarism has been brought against Hillary Clinton’s pastor, Rev. Bill Shillady, a Duke Divinity School alum and executive director of the New York-based United Methodist City Society. But the ending it had is exemplary for today’s time!
CNN and The Washington Times reported Monday that Clinton's longtime pastor plagiarized the writings of another minister in his new book ‘Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton,’ that was scheduled to be released on Tuesday.
Published by Nashville-based Abingdon Press, the book, "Strong for a Moment Like This," is a compilation of devotionals Shillady emailed the former secretary of state. This is based on the emails that Shillady wrote to Clinton from April 2015 till December 2016. Shillady believed his emails as a way to minister to a candidate in perpetual motion.
The book contains 365 devotionals and the copyright on the book is held by Shillady. It also includes 11 pages of end notes crediting some source material but one from November 9, the day after she lost to President Donald Trump.
Shillady wrote Clinton the day after the election, assuring her that better days were ahead: “Sunday is coming. For the disciples and Christ’s followers in the first century, Good Friday represented the day that everything fell apart. All was lost. The momentum and hope of a man claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah who was supposed to change everything, had been executed.”
Eventually, that part seems to have been taken from a March 2016 blog post by the Rev. Matthew Deuel, a pastor at Mission Point Community Church in Warsaw, Ind.
CNN says Deuel had contacted the network after it published an excerpt to inform then that Shillady’s devotional seems “inspired” by something he had written earlier on his blog. Shillady told CNN that he’s often inspired by material on the internet but failed to recall lifting text verbatim from another pastor.
The whole controversy took a beautiful turn when later Shillady apologized to Deuel in a statement published by CNN for not giving him the credit he deserved and ‘extremely gracious and understanding’ Deuel, as Shillady adjectified him, accepted his apology saying he appreciates that his own words were used to inspire Clinton, but however Shillady "probably" could have done it differently.
"The last thing the world needs right now is two pastors having a public dispute over a blog and the reality is, there’s nothing new under the sun," Deuel said. “The grace and forgiveness we find through our faith in Jesus has led us to grace and reconciliation with each other. I wish nothing but blessings for him and his work”
The controversy was catchy enough to get noticed for further controversies with Hillary’s name in it but the beautiful end the two pastors gave it is all that the world needs now! As expected of any pastor or religious preacher or practitioner, the actions should speak louder than any trumpet-mouth on earth! Their action and reaction certainly will leave any heart hopeful about a compassionate world with tolerance to others.
Thanks to the two pastors for acting as it was expected of them. Till last reported, Shillady, the executive director of the United Methodist City Society in New York assured him to receive full credit moving forward.
Devotional is connected with the act of religious worship and prayers.