Home Christian News Voddie Baucham Publisher Defends ‘Fault Lines’ Against Plagiarism Claims

Voddie Baucham Publisher Defends ‘Fault Lines’ Against Plagiarism Claims

Voddie Baucham

(RNS) — The publisher of a bestselling Christian critique of critical race theory denies claims the book’s author misquoted sources and fabricated quotes.

Salem Books publisher Tim Peterson called the claims unfounded.

“Fault Lines” by Voddie Baucham Jr. was a top 10 bestseller among religion books in April, May and July, selling tens of thousands of copies and prompting praise and criticism in evangelical circles. The book warns of a “looming catastrophe” in evangelical churches in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

Floyd’s death and the protests that followed revealed that secular ideas like social justice and critical race theory have infiltrated Christian churches, argues Baucham, a conservative author and seminary dean.

Those theories, he claims, run counter to Christian teachings.

In his book, Baucham points to the work of law professor Richard Delgado — one of the founders of critical race theory, an academic field that studies how systematic racism affects society — to bolster his argument.

“Racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class whites (psychically). Large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it,” Baucham quoted Delgado as saying.

Then Baucham included in the quote this statement, which he put in italics: “This means whites are incapable of righteous actions on race and only undo racism when it benefits them.”

Author and blogger Joel McDurmon claims the statement about “righteous actions” never appears in Delgado’s writings. In a blog post and on social media, he has accused Baucham of fabricating that statement and falsely attributing it to Delgado. McDurmon also alleges Baucham plagiarized the work of atheist author and anti-CRT activist James Lindsay.

McDurmon, a conservative author who has spoken at events with Baucham in the past, said “Fault Lines” paints Delgado and other CRT scholars in the worst light possible. He argues that Baucham’s inclusion of and denouncement of the quote about whites being “incapable of righteous action” sets the tone for the entire book.

“There’s this very loose respect paid to what the sources actually say and mean,” he said. “And there’s this readiness to take them in the most sinister way possible.”

He also believes Baucham intentionally sought to mislead readers.

McDurmon points to a January 2021 speech given by Baucham that includes the same contested Delgado quote. In the speech, the author appears to claim Delgado made the “incapable of righteous actions” statement in his writings.

“This means whites are incapable of righteous actions on race and only undo racism when it benefits them, when their interests converge with the interests of people of color—and yes, he used the word ‘righteous,’” Baucham said during the speech. “White people are incapable of righteous actions on race. Everything is racist. … Again, not me — this is critical race theory.”

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Bob Smietana is an award-winning religion reporter and editor who has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles and features for magazines, newspapers, trade publications and websites. Most notably, he has served as a senior writer for Facts & Trends, senior editor of Christianity Today, religion writer at The Tennessean, correspondent for RNS and contributor to OnFaith, USA Today and The Washington Post.