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Jon Meacham - Produce Proof or Publicly Apologize!

Friday, April 28, 2006

I had posted this earlier, but had removed it while I was waiting to hear back from Mr. Meacham. I am re-posting it at this time with the intention of updating it when he gets back to me.

Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham recently spoke at the inauguration of John Lilley as the president of Baylor University.

If the reports by Tim Woods of the Waco Tribune-Herald are accurate, I believe that Jon Meacham needs to produce some proof regarding one of the claims he made in the speech or publicly apologize to Bob Jones University.

The article is here: Newsweek editor's speech highlights Lilley's inauguration as Baylor head

The particularly egregrious comment, in my opinion is found below:

Meacham interspersed jokes with serious discussion of faith and people’s intellectual examination of their own beliefs. He told the crowd of an e-mail he received from a man at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., in response to an article he wrote for Newsweek.

“The message was to the point: Dear Mr. Meacham, I am praying for you, but I hope you go to hell,” Meacham said.


I cannot honestly believe that Mr. Meacham received such an email from "a man at Bob Jones University." It sounds a lot more like something someone who only knows a caricature of BJU may believe people at BJU think and say, rather than what someone who is actually at BJU would think or say.

If such an email does exist, I want to see it. I would like some proof. I have sent an email to Newsweek seeking a clarification from Mr. Meacham, but the initial reply I got (an automated response with FAQs) led me to believe that I probably will not get much of a response. However, I did get an email in which Mr. Meacham has promised to respond to my concerns.

As a believer and as a BJU graduate, I can attest that I have never heard anyone at BJU express a desire that matches what is claimed to have been included in this email. Christians do not "hope" people go to Hell. We desire for their repentance, not their ultimate damnation.

Mr. Meacham's offense will probably not get any play in the MSM, but it is not an innocent offense. Perhaps it would be better understood by Mr. Meacham and his friends if the shoe were on the other foot and someone prominent were quoted as saying, "I received a email from a member of the editorial staff at Newsweek and he said that we are going to be devote ourselves to denigrating Christianity as often as we can and we hope that we can get all Christians to stop subscribing to our magazine." Surely they would expect some proof of this email or demand an apology. I am sure that they would already have their lawyers working on a lawsuit by now.

So, let's see it, Mr. Meacham. Put up or apologize. If you actually have some proof, I will just a publically call for an apology from the person who wrote the email and/or the school. I seriously doubt any such proof exists.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you have YOUR apology already scripted in case Mr. Meacham does produce the evidence, no?

That a student, staff person, or even faculty member could have written such a thing is not unthinkable, especially given the verbal track record of the late Bob, Jr.

But I agree. If he has evidence, let him produce it. Yet, if he's like others who get such things, he probably laughed, deleted it, and moved on.

Jay C said...

Anonymous-

I'm sure that BJU would be able to track down this email; as you surely know, records of emails are kept by both email sending accounts and email recipient accounts.

If what he said is true, then BJU needs to throw the student out pronto. If it's not, then he's committed libel and needs to apologize. I don't think BJU would press charges or anything like that, but if this was played in the MSM, it would be a tremendous black eye for an institution with it's own share of black eyes.

filosofo said...

I too find it hard to believe that someone at BJU would write those exact words. But I wonder if Meacham meant it as a paraphrase for something to the effect of "I'm against everything you believe in" or "I hope you fail," which could be a rough translation of what most people mean when they say "go to hell."

Frank Sansone said...

Anonymous,

I am more than ready to deal with this if Mr. Meacham does produce some evidence. As I said in my post, I will just as publicly call for an apology from the person who wrote the e-mail in the first place if such an e-mail exists.


Filosofo,

I could understand Mr. Meacham speaking generally, but the article has him saying it as though it was written that way - notice that he comments on how it was to the point.

Also, Mr. Meacham is actually more than just a generic editor of Newseek, he has repeatedly written on a number of religious subjects and I would expect that he should have a better understanding of the issues surrounding Christianity than just any editor, IMO.

Frank