Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Plagiarism, Sources, and False Memes,

This picture, purporting to show the results of Trump/Sessions Immigration policies is not what it seems to be.  See below for details.


I have only once preached the same sermon twice.  I was at St. James's,  Cambridge, MA and when l was searching for inspiration for one particular Sunday I came across (via Google)  a sermon which I had preached three years previously.

I thought that it was "pretty good", so I preached it again.  I began by saying "I preached this three years ago, but I had forgotten it, and so had you!".

One Sunday I re-preached a sermon which had been given by a Cambridge colleague, the Revd. J. Mary Luti.  It was splendid. 

Naturally I sought her permission, and naturally I told the congregation that I was preaching one of Mary's sermons.

One Sunday in a town which I will not name, and at an Episcopal parish which I will not name I heard a mighty fine sermon on stewardship.  I thanked the preacher ( a friend of mine) and with his permission I posted it to this blog.

Two or three years later an eagle eyed reader of my blog pointed out that the sermon had originally been preached by a Presbyterian minister in another City and State. 

The version I had heard had been lifted, and was not original to the mind and pen of the preacher whose sermon  I had liked. It had been 90% plagiarized.

I felt a sense of betrayal.  

Identifying sources is a cardinal rule for journalists.  It should also be so for preachers.  

Indeed the printed and published versions of my own sermons include footnotes which identify the source of any quotations I have used.


Which leads me to those Memes which good hearted people post on Facebook.

I get a lot from left of centre sources.  Indeed I am a lefty, but not all of the Memes can be trusted.

I saw one which alleged that child immigrants to the U.S.A. are being transported in Cattle cars.  BOGUS

I saw another which stated that the Republican majorities in Congress  had utterly abolished the CHIP (Child Health Insurance Programme)  BOGUS

One Meme alleged that the Trump/Sessions anti immigrant policies had confined children into cages.  Turns out that the photo' dated back to Pres. Obama's days.


More recently we have seen a photo' of a child in a cage  (the photo at the head of this page).  It's not what it seems to be. See


Listen dear friends.  I am as lefty/liberal as it is possible to be.  I have nothing but disdain for most of the policies of the Trumpites in the White House and in the Congress.

But the Progressive cause is ill served by false/fake news and memes.

For the sake of justice and truth my progressive friends  make a decent Newspaper (e.g. the Guardian, the Independent, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and many local newspapers) your primary source for news.

Imperfect as they are these papers are more to be trusted than Face book Memes and the like.

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