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Russell Moore ERLC

Did Russell Moore plagiarize his own resignation letter?

The Russell Moore saga continues with Russell Moore’s resignation letter to SBC President JD Greear being leaked to a rather low level blog. Russell Moore, the now former head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, made waves in the conversation leading up to SBC2021 when his letter to the Executive Committee of the ERLC Board of Trustees was leaked to the pagan Religion News Service. The letter frames Russell Moore as a champion for victims of child abuse while his opponents were in a white supremacist cabal to cover up sex abuse. Yet Russell Moore did nothing about it for years according to his own letter.

Naturally the letter implicated Mike Stone, the frontrunner for SBC President, as part of the persecution of Russell Moore. Mike Stone winsomely called Russell Moore a coward and a liar in a video published on Saturday. This came after Mike Stone released a press statement categorically denying Russell Moore’s nameless allegations.

The resignation letter is a more fleshed out version of the letter that was leaked to Religion News Service. But the similarities were so glaring I ran a plagiarism check and found that 9% of the 4000+ word resignation letter was plagiarized from the letter to the Executive Committee of the trustees. In the video above I go through the results of a plagiarism check.

The two letters follow the same general outline and are nearly the same length. The first letter dated February 2020 is clearly written to a much broader audience than the second letter which is more detailed on the allegations against Mike Stone and others. It’s worth mentioning that only seven people including Moore himself would have been privy to the first letter.

Several key sections are word for word clones. Even more sections of the letter are slight variations that the plagiarism tracker did not catch.

Analysis

From a purely academic prospective, Russell Moore plagiarized his resignation letter from his self-indulgent RNS leaked letter. There are two likely explanations for this: the first he opened up the same word document and rehashed the 4000 plus word document to tailor it to a single person. The second explanation is that these letters were penned around the same time thus explaining the similarities in content and structure. In any case, the first letter was clearly written for a much broader audience than six individuals. If both letters are authentic, then Russell Moore may have been planning a scorched earth exit strategy this whole time, all while he gets a golden parachute severance package (despite not being terminated.)

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