Liberty University Brings Back Tim Clinton

After rushing in 2018 to tell me that Tim Clinton was no longer with Liberty University, the school has brought him back to lead a right wing initiative.

When Clinton was fending off allegations of plagiarism in 2018, I mistakenly wrote that he was on the faculty of Liberty U. Len Stevens from LU sent an email with the following message:

Liberty University leadership wants you to know that Tim Clinton resigned from Liberty University following the Spring Semester of 2018 for reasons unrelated to the allegations detailed in your article. Liberty University has no further comment.

Recently, I heard that Clinton had rejoined the school and wrote to ask Stevens if LU had done an independent investigation of the plagiarism allegations. I have received no response.

Also, back in April, former LU faculty member Karen Swallow Prior had this to say about Clinton’s most recent book:

In 2018 when the rampant and repeated instances of plagiarism by Tim Clinton were covered by Inside Higher Ed, I emailed Tim about it through his website. Because Tim was a fellow faculty member at Liberty University and is a brother in Christ, I thought it was important to reach out to him directly. I never heard back. When Tim later spoke at my church, I communicated my concerns to one of my pastors.

I am disappointed and grieved to see yet another instance of blatant plagiarism in this new book [Take It Back: Reclaiming Biblical Manhood for the Sake of Marriage, Family, and Culture]. The examples of plagiarism I’ve seen in it are so egregious that if they were committed by a student, I would give that student a failing grade for the class. Christians must do and demand better, especially Christian leaders.

The Inside Higher Ed article was published in 2018 and involved similar issues uncovered by Aaron New.

The new intiative is called the Global Center for Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery and references mental health issues provoked by the pandemic. One of the board members is Sam Rodriguez who last night at the AACC conference joked about the pandemic:

 

Karen Swallow Prior Calls Out “Egregious Plagiarism” in Tim Clinton’s New Book

Recently, psychology professor Aaron New wrote yet again about what he called plagiarism in a new book by American Association of Christian Counselors owner Tim Clinton and writer Max Davis. He showed that Clinton and Davis lifted sizable verbatim portions of books by George Foreman without placing them in quotes or indenting them to show that they came directly from the other books. In fact, they wove the exact quotes in with their own prose to make it appear they wrote all of the material. In the sections in question, there were quotes from the original books by Foreman that did have citations but they were included in such a way as to make it appear that the only material cited was a quote from the original. In fact, copious material was directly lifted from the original works.

Dr. New published his findings in a series of tweets which I reproduce here:

I showed this along with the new book’s endnotes to Karen Swallow Prior, Research Professor of English and Christianity & Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and asked if she thought this was plagiarism. Her response is in full below:

In 2018 when the rampant and repeated instances of plagiarism by Tim Clinton were covered by Inside Higher Ed, I emailed Tim about it through his website. Because Tim was a fellow faculty member at Liberty University and is a brother in Christ, I thought it was important to reach out to him directly. I never heard back. When Tim later spoke at my church, I communicated my concerns to one of my pastors.

I am disappointed and grieved to see yet another instance of blatant plagiarism in this new book [Take It Back: Reclaiming Biblical Manhood for the Sake of Marriage, Family, and Culture]. The examples of plagiarism I’ve seen in it are so egregious that if they were committed by a student, I would give that student a failing grade for the class. Christians must do and demand better, especially Christian leaders.

The Inside Higher Ed article was published in 2018 and involved similar issues uncovered by Aaron New.

I contacted the publicist and Max Davis but have not received any answer.

Today, Religion News Service published an article about plagiarism among pastors. I wait to see if anyone takes that seriously. I continue to wait to see if anyone in Christian publishing takes any of this seriously. I know academics like Prior, New and me do, but professional Christians apparently do not. Instead, if any questions are asked beyond this blog post, the Christian celebrity culture response will be to trot out a public relations humanoid with excuses and wait for the forgetting to set in.

More Apparent Plagiarism in Christian Books

Even though publishers infrequently acknowledge plagiarism in their books, some readers want to know which authors borrow from others and which authors do their own work. Hence, I continue to bring plagiarism news to light.

This is an easy post for me to write because I am citing other people. Notice how easy that is. I find material that is informative and I bring to my readers with a citation so everybody knows who did the work. I don’t need to claim it as my own. I point you to the source. That’s how you avoid plagiarism. See, easy.

Only One Life

First, let’s take this Twitter thread from Jill Hicks-Keeton. She demonstrates that the work of Museum of the Bible co-founder Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee in their book Only One Life about Rosa Parks is remarkably similar to Joyce Hanson’s biography of Rosa Parks. Hanson’s book came first.

Here are the tweets:

More Tim Clinton

Now comes Dr. Aaron New with yet more material from Tim Clinton. Aaron has a lengthy thread with all of the apparent plagiarism involving Clinton and various co-authors. I will let Aaron explain the recent finds.

If you click through the images, you will see a pull quote from Chris Thurman in The Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling. However, there is nothing in the book that identifies Thurman as the source of the rest of the material highlighted by Aaron. Clinton and Hawkins cite Thurman’s Soul Care Bible article in the recommended resources list but don’t use any quotes to designate the verbatim use of his material.

In the remainder of the thread (go here to read it all, it is very long), you will find numerous instances where material has been taken from Soul Care Bible authors and use without citation in The Quick Reference Guide. Let me show just two more that Aaron provides in his thread:

No quotes are used for Norman Wright’s and Miriam Stark Parent’s words which come verbatim from the Soul Care Bible. In the Loss and Grief chapter of The Quick Reference Guide (the second book), Clinton and Hawkins included a Norman Wright book in their resources but there is no way for the reader to know that much of the chapter was quoted directly from Wright in the Soul Care Bible.

In the case of the material lifted from Miriam Stark Parent’s Soul Care Bible entry on Loneliness and Personal Growth, Clinton and Hawkins give her an unsourced pull quote but that is all. In the recommended resources, Stark Parent doesn’t get a mention. Clinton recommends three of his books, but readers have no way to know that much of the chapter they just read was originally written by Mirian Stark Parent.

To see more posts on citation problems in Tim Clinton’s work, click here. To see more posts about plagiarism and citation errors in general, click this link.

To follow me on Twitter, click here.

Christian Counseling Keynote Speaker Mike Pompeo Delivers Some Nasty Examples

UPDATE: (1/26) – The NYT obtained emails supporting Mark Louise Kelly’s assertion that questions about Ukraine were to be a part of the interview with Pompeo. He claimed Ukraine wasn’t on the agenda.

Mike Pompeo must be about to break the cognitive dissonance meter. He is in the thick of the Trump Ukraine scandal having to defend his boss while holding himself up as a Christian leader at the State Department. I am old enough to remember his talk at the annual conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors.After he spoke at the AACC conference, he posted video of the speech with the caption, “Being a Christian Leader.” There were mighty and many complaints about this apparent favoring of Christianity by the Secretary of State and the caption was eventually changed.
Now with the caveat that anyone can have a bad day, I bring you Mike Pompeo’s performance in an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly on Ukraine’s former ambassador Marie Yovanovich:

Christian leadership?

Obviously Pompeo was caught in an effort to save face. He hasn’t defended every state department employee if he hasn’t defended Marie Yovanovich. There is an obvious exception and he can’t even acknowledge this. That would be bad enough but then it gets worse.

According to Kelly, Pompeo then dared her to find Ukraine on a map, swearing in a belligerent manner.

If all of this took place as portrayed, Pompeo owes that reporter an apology and should answer the questions. He owes that to Yovanovich and his department at State, as well as the citizens of the nation. Trump and his administration don’t seem to have a sense that they work for us.

Today Pompeo came out with a statement defending himself. Here it is:

With this statement Pompeo suggests that a reporter agreed to have a conversation after the interview and that the conversation would be off the record. While that could be true, I am skeptical. Furthermore, it isn’t clear when the interview was over.

In any case, even if the reporter agreed to keep the conversation off the record, Pompeo is not denying it took place or any of the contents. I still can’t square this with his claim to be a Christian leader. Berating, challenging and swearing at a reporter who asked a good and relevant question is not Christian leadership. He is mad he got caught but that is on him. He projects his mistake on the entire media as a scapegoat, but I see what happened. Then he implied the reporter pointed to Bangladesh instead of Ukraine when he asked her where Ukraine is on a map. The reporter has a graduate degree in European studies, I doubt she made that big of a mistake, if she did at all.

Here is another problem with Pompeo’s remarks. He implies that U.S. Ukraine policy should depend on how many Americans care about Ukraine. This is frightening and again speaks to how politicized this administration has made our foreign policy. Ukraine is an ally that helps keep Russia from redrawing the map in eastern Europe. They are a freedom loving people who do not want to become Putin’s subjects. Mike Pompeo, I care about Ukraine and many Americans do too.

Pompeo told the AACC audience that he was working for religious freedom around the world. I don’t believe him if he doesn’t care about Ukraine. Putin doesn’t care about religious freedom. He only cares about his freedom to establish his religious machine. Religious minorities in Russia don’t have it as good. Is this what Pompeo wants for Ukraine?

Here is a link to the entire interview.

To Christian Counselors, Mike Pompeo Lauds the Trump Administration’s Foreign Policies While Kurds Die

Today, in Nashville at a conference hosted by Tim Clinton (aka the American Association of Christian Counselors), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lauded the foreign policy of the Trump Administration. His glowing praise comes amid Congressional testimony from former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and worsening atrocities involving the Kurds and Syrian Christians.

Calling America a force for good in the world, Pompeo told AACC attenders that the Trump administration “has spoken the truth in many ways that previous administrations haven’t done.” Pompeo lamented the persecution of Christians by ISIS at the same time Christians are now being killed by Turkish forces invading Northern Syria. This morning’s Christianity Today headline is: “Christians Killed on Syria’s Front Lines.” Due to President Trump’s decision to remove American military presence, Christians are suffering at the hands of Turkish aggressors.

The section discussing religious persecution that I referred to above begins at 12:31 and ends at just after the 15 minute mark in the clip below.

It is surreal to hear Pompeo talk about truth telling in foreign policy when there is abundant evidence that the President has not told the truth about his dealings with Ukraine. To me, the whole situation is surreal. The entire crowd acts as if nothing is happening in the wider world. The president just stabbed the Kurds in the back and is under an impeachment investigation. The president’s whim makes the resurgence of ISIS more likely and emboldens a dictator in Turkey who is no friend of religious freedom.

 

Trump Admin Ordered to Provide Basic Needs for Children; AACC Lauds Administration’s Record on Trauma

On Wednesday, I noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been booked to speak at the October Tim Clinton (aka American Association of Christian Counselors) conference in Nashville. Clinton touted Pompeo’s record on trauma in his announcement. See below.

However, the Trump administration has a rather dismal record on trauma in our own nation. In fact, yesterday a federal court had to instruct the administration on basic care for migrant children. Among other things, the Trump administration had argued that soap and dental care were not basic needs for children. An appeals court said otherwise:

“Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety,” the appeals court panel ruled.

Why would anyone need to be ordered to do this for children?

It is no secret that Tim Clinton supports Trump and is on his evangelical advisory committee. He is the owner of AACC and can do what he wants with it. However, he markets the business as a trade organization of a diverse group of counselors, some of whom work with children and many of whom work with trauma. There are experts in trauma resolution speaking at the conference, such as Diane Langberg. Break out sessions on trauma are scheduled. In my opinion, it is an insult to have a key representative of an administration generating trauma speak to a group who every day tries to prevent and heal that trauma.

Sec. of State Mike Pompeo to Speak at American Association of Christian Counselors Conference

Tim Clinton (aka The American Association of Christian Counselors) is holding a conference for counselors in early October of this year. It is a huge undertaking and generally draws over 5,000 counselors. Clinton has taken heat in past years for politicizing the conference by inviting non-counselors to speak. This year he has outdone himself by scheduling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Trump administration has been widely criticized for the way it has handled support for Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Arguably, the Trump administration has a mixed record when it comes to the issues Clinton raised in his praise for Pompeo.

I will raise just one illustration on religious persecution: North Korea. No president has coddled the North Korean dictator like Donald Trump. There is religious persecution in North Korea and the U.S. has done nothing to make that an issue there.

In any case, Clinton owns the AACC and can bring in anyone he wants to. It is beyond belief that psychology or counseling CEUs could be offered for listening to a political speech but that is how Clinton runs his show. I want to remind counselors that you also have a choice.

AACC Sponsor Promotes Bible Soaking for Mental Illness

The American Association of Christian Counselors bills itself as a professional association, but it is more like an online infomercial for various educational, health, and mental health products. The creators of the products pay a premium to get before the AACC audience as sponsors and endorsers of the organization. Owner Tim Clinton reaps the benefits.

A new participant in this marketplace is Christian Healthcare Ministries. As I have pointed out previously, CHM is an odd partner for AACC since CHM as a rival to health insurance doesn’t reimburse participants for costs of counseling or psychotherapy. AACC owner Tim Clinton advocates his members buy healthcare coverage which doesn’t cover the services they provide professionally. Why would a licensed counselor who values professional mental health treatment purchase health coverage which doesn’t cover professional mental health treatment?

The mission of CHM and mental health advocacy is actually more at odds than I have previously reported. Not only does CHM not cover mental health treatment, the group significantly minimizes the need for treatment and the reality of psychological disorder.

In an article on the CHM website, CHM board member and OB/GYN Carol Peters-Tanksley encourages CHM members to avoid negative people and soak in the Bible to prevent mental health challenges. After noting that the prevalence of mental health problems is significance, she offers her answers:

When facing challenges like fear, bitterness, poor self-image, lust, money troubles, grief, worry, marriage conflict or any other issue, delving into what the Bible has to say about a specific struggle will change you. Soak in God’s word. Spend time reading and contemplating it. Let the power of Scripture penetrate your soul, wash out the junk and fill you to overflowing with God’s truth and grace.

If your mind needs transformation, pay attention to the media, the people and the Scripture you take in. You’ll experience a different kind of GI-GO: God in, God out.

That’s it. CHM is getting access to 50,000 (at least that’s what Tim Clinton says) Christian counselors to sell programs without mental health treatment as a benefit. Couldn’t CHM at least suggest members go see a counselor?

However, a search of the website for counselor turns up no such recommendation. A search for depression yields a couple of articles on stopping SSRIs. The fact is that CHM isn’t friendly to Christians in mental health or mental health treatment generally speaking. Thanks to AACC, as CHM’s subscriber/members increase, the potential clients of AACC licensed mental health professionals decrease. Why is AACC recommending this to members? Whose interests are being considered first via the promotion of CHM?

AACC Pushing Healthcare Coverage Without Counseling

The American Association of Christian Counselors is promoted as a trade association for Christian counselors. However, in fact it is the for profit business operation of Tim Clinton. The AACC doesn’t elect officers or  involve members meaningfully in the management of the organization.

Because business is the main focus, one must carefully consider what AACC offers to members.  Currently, AACC is pushing a healthcare program which seems to run counter to member interests.

Christian Healthcare Ministry is a cost sharing program which enrolls people to pay each other’s medical bills.  AACC is pushing this program on the front page of their website:

CommentaryPutting aside other concerns about CHM, a big problem for the members of AACC is that this program doesn’t cover (allow members to share the costs of) counseling or psychotherapy. That’s right, AACC is pushing a substitute for health insurance that doesn’t reimburse for mental health services. CHM apparently is able to bypass the mandated mental health coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and that’s just fine with AACC’s Tim Clinton.

In a long list of services and procedures (including pregnancy for “unwed mothers”) “ineligible for sharing,” this exclusion is listed:

10. Psychological treatment, tests, or counseling: Only emergency room bills incurred to physically stabilize the patient are eligible for sharing.

I am past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. I can’t imagine AMHCA promoting a service which failed to recognize our members. Actual trade organizations advocate for their members as well as for the work their members do. In this case, there is clear discrimination against mental health treatments. Why is this being recommended to a group of mental health professionals?

The recommendation of a healthcare option without counseling runs counter to another initiative of AACC. In the past, Clinton has promoted certification as a way to attract third party payments.

The BCCC credential is now for Clinical Professionals who are state-licensed mental health professionals and want or need this practice certification in order to:

give managed care and other organizational providers a respected credential—one that certifies both competence and ethical practice—that they are increasingly demanding in response to subscribers who want Christian counseling.

So AACC wants members to pay for a board certification to help gain insurance payments for counseling services but now advertises a service which doesn’t even pay for those same services.* I don’t know what Dr. Clinton is getting from this advertisement on the AACC website but I can see from the CHM guidelines what counselors and their clients won’t get. Since the AACC isn’t member controlled, there won’t be answers to any questions about it.

 

*In fact, no managed care organization I know cares about this certification. Managed care organizations require state licensing. In both cases, the benefit of the pitch isn’t for the members.

**Hat tip to Aaron New for pointing out the CHM ad on AACC’s website.

Aaron New: Questions for Students and New Counselors to Ask AACC

As students approach graduation, they often consider the next phase of their work. Joining a professional association is one aspect of professionalization. I hope psychology students at grad and undergrad levels consider what Central Baptist College Prof. Aaron New has to say below.

The AACC has been promoting its upcoming World Conference this October.  One of the special events of the conference is the “Connect U & Young Professionals Panel” targeting college students and recent graduates.

1. As I noticed these promotions last week, it occurred to me that I wish I would have known about the AACC as a recent graduate what I know now.  I invested in the AACC for many years, and did so rather blindly for three reasons. One, the organization seemed to be the only (or main) show in town. Two, AACC conferences had all the big names in Christian counseling. Three, my professors encouraged me to be involved.  I didn’t ask any questions or pursue any other options.  But I regularly gave the AACC my money in membership dues and conference expenses to be part of the club.

If I had it to do over again, I would want answers to some questions before making the same commitment. What follows are some questions I encourage students and new professionals to ask AACC leaders and supporters. I will begin with those for which I already have some answers, then I will suggest others.  The AACC may not like addressing these questions, but it is not unreasonable to ask them to do so.

Is the AACC a member-driven organization? How do members participate in the group?

The AACC is *not* a member-driven organization. It is a for-profit business owned and operated by Tim Clinton.  Members don’t vote on anything or participate in governance of the organization. Principally, they form a pool of consumers for AACC marketing efforts. There are no requirements or pre-requisites for membership other than a willingness to pay membership dues.  https://www.aacc.net/memberships/

In most professional associations, members serve on committees which serve the profession. Policies are suggested to the governing board made up of representatives elected by members. Those representative deliberate and vote on items suggested by members. Members have input into the rules, ethics and policies that govern the profession. Not so in the AACC. All decisions are made by Tim Clinton. He may use input from others but there is no requirement that he do so.

2. Does the AACC have officers?  Who are they?  How are they determined?

The AACC does *not* have elected officers. Though Clinton promotes himself as the “President” of the AACC, this is a self-appointed title and the position is not voted on. Any other officers are staff hired by AACC and are not elected. The president and staff are not accountable to members.

3. Does the AACC have a board of directors?  Who are they?  How are they determined?

The AACC does *not* have a typical elected board of directors – one that oversees the operation and direction of an organization.  Dr. Clinton is not accountable to a board and may run his business in any way he sees fit.

4. If there is any other kind of board?

The AACC has advertised several different boards over the years.  For many years up to 2018, the AACC claimed to have 1) an Executive Board, 2) an Editorial Board, 3) a Business Advisory Board, and 4) a Clinical and Pastoral Advisory Board (see: http://old.aacc.net/about-us/leadership/).  In 2018, the AACC began to promote a different set of boards.  1) an Executive Advisory Board, and 2) a National Board of Reference (see: https://www.aacc.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/AACC_Board.pdf).

I will make two observations here.  First, I have been told by multiple sources that the AACC boards only serve in an “advisory” role. They give input when asked, which seems to be a rare occurrence. Second, the boards do not appear to be updated very often.  In 2017, I brought it to the attention of the AACC that William Backus was still listed among the members of the Clinical and Pastoral Advisory Board even though he passed away in 2005.  After repeated requests for a more current list of board members, I was told by a customer support representative, “I have asked 2 different people for lists of the board members, and all the lists I have received do include the gentleman you listed below. That is the most up-to-date list that we have.”

5. How are ethical complaints against AACC members submitted and how are they handled?

The AACC does have a code of ethics.  But I am suspicious of how well they enforce this code.  Consider this correspondence from September 2018.  Readers will notice that it takes some time for the AACC to respond.  In the end, the AACC refuses to indicate who serves on the Law and Ethics Committee or how to submit a complaint to them directly (as I think is instructed by the code of ethics).  Instead, the AACC states that ethical complaints are to be funneled to the person in charge of public relations for the AACC. 

6. How does the AACC decide when/where to be active in political debates and races?

The politicization of the AACC has been a concern of mine for some time now.  I began asking Dr. Clinton to avoid politicizing the AACC back in 2016.  I felt strongly enough about this issue, that I attempted to write AACC board members.  This letter became incorporated into an online petition that gathered 190 signatures, though I’m not sure it was very effective. 

7. The AACC Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the AACC.  What does it do?  Where is the data/evidence of this work? Does the AACC profit from the AACC Foundation?

The publisher of this blog has looked into the relationship of AACC to the AACC Foundation in two articles (here and here). In summary, the AACC Foundation is a nonprofit means of getting income to the AACC. A miniscule amount goes to charitable purposes. 

8. The AACC lists several colleges and universities as “partners” (https://www.aacc.net/schools/). What does this mean, exactly?  How does a college/university become a partner?  What advantages or benefits do these partners have for AACC members?

9. Since the AACC isn’t a nonprofit like other professional associations, where do the profits from the AACC go? Why doesn’t the AACC disclose financial statements like other organizations do?

10. Who serves on the Law and Ethics Committee of the AACC? How are members determined/appointed?

11. How many AACC members have had their memberships revoked (or been otherwise sanctioned) for ethics violations?  For what reasons?

12. What is AACC’s “Christian Care Network” and how does it differ from the new “Christian Care Connect” (that charges clinics/organizations $749/year and individuals $249/year)?

13. To become a member of the CCC, is anything required beyond paying the annual fee? How is the integrity of this referral source maintained? What assurance does the public have regarding the legitimacy of these referrals?

14. What is the relationship between the AACC and all of these organizations? Is there one or more parent companies involved?  What loyalties (formal or informal) do these organizations have to each other?

    1. Light University – https://www.lightuniversity.com/
    2. International Board of Christian Care – http://www.ibccglobal.com/
    3. Board of Christian Professional & Pastoral Counselors – http://www.thebcppc.com/
    4. Board of Christian Crisis & Trauma Response – http://www.thebcctr.com/
    5. Board of Christian Life Coaching – http://www.thebclc.com/
    6. International Christian Coaching Association – http://www.iccaonline.net/
    7. Ignite Men’s Ministry – https://www.ignitemen.net/
    8. Extraordinary Women – https://www.ewomen.net/
    9. Life, Love, and Family – http://www.lifeloveandfamily.org/
    10. James Dobson Family Talk – https://drjamesdobson.org/

15. About these organizations: Do AACC membership dues (or any other AACC revenues) support any of the other organizations?  What staff are responsible for working at multiple organizations?  What resources do any of them share?  Are there any financial conflicts of interest for any of those parties?  Where these organizations are not entirely independent, is that information made available to members/users?

16. There have been concerns about Tim Clinton and ghost-writing and plagiarism. Has this been addressed by the AACC via their ethics committee?

17. The AACC has made Christian Heathcare Ministry a ‘premium elite partner’ but CHM is an insurance alternative that does not cover psychological treatments or counseling. Can you explain the nature of this partnership? How does it promote Christian counseling? How does it benefit AACC members (especially those who are licensed and accept insurance reimbursements)?

For myself, I have concluded that the AACC is not a professional organization worth my affiliation. Elsewhere, I challenged my colleagues,

So here is my call to Christian Counselors. Leave the AACC behind. You don’t need their expensive conferences or memberships. You can do better than their borrowed and recycled materials. There are better, more authentic ways of navigating your professional affiliations.

I would likewise encourage college students and recent graduates.  As the AACC comes courting you, be wise.  Ask some hard questions before you settle on your professional affiliations.