Just weeks after revealing that former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a secret dream of becoming a preacher, Clinton’s friend and spiritual mentor, the Rev. Bill Shillady, has seen his new book of devotions pulled from shelves.
Shillady, who sent Clinton daily devotions and prayers while she was on the campaign trail, recently released, “Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” but less than a month after the book came out, publisher Abingdon Press is yanking it from shelves due to purported plagiarism.
“Abingdon Press initiated an extensive review of the book and was alarmed to discover other content unattributed by the author. Abingdon Press has zero tolerance for plagiarism,” company president Rev. Brian K. Milford said in a statement published by The Washington Post. “Consequently, we have discontinued sales, will remove existing copies from all sales outlets, and will have them destroyed along with our existing inventory.”
Clinton, who supported Shillady’s book project, wrote the foreward for the collection of devotionals and appears on the cover. The plagiarism controversy comes just one week before her own book about her election loss — “What Happened” — hits bookstands.
CNN noted just how close Clinton and Shillady are, with the preacher co-officiating her daughter Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, presiding over her mother’s memorial service and blessing her grandkids.
Controversy first broke over “Strong for a Moment Like This” when a central part of the book — a prayer and devotion that Shillady sent to Clinton the morning after she lost the election – was called into question. While this piece was credited for inspiring Clinton, an Indiana pastor named Matt Deuel emailed CNN and said that the text closely matched a blog post that the had written in 2016.
Shillady released a statement apologizing last month for that specific incident of plagiarism.
“My entire approach to this book project has been to credit all of the many ministers and sources who contributed to the devotionals that were written for Hillary over the course of the campaign,” he said. “In preparing the devotional on the morning of November 9, I was determined to provide comfort with the familiar adage that ‘It’s Friday But Sunday is Coming.’ I searched for passages that offered perspective of this theme. I am now stunned to realize the similarity between Matt Deuel’s blog sermon and my own.”
Shillady continued, “Clearly, portions of my devotional that day incorporate his exact words. Matt and I have spoken. He was extremely gracious and understanding. I have assured him he will receive full credit moving forward.”
But the publisher reportedly found infractions that go beyond that first one. For his part, Shillady took responsibility on Tuesday and offered an apology as well as a plea for forgiveness, saying that he “deeply regrets” his actions.
“I was wrong and there is no excuse for it. I apologize to those whose work I mistakenly did not attribute. I apologize to those I have disappointed, including Secretary Hillary Clinton, Abingdon Press, and all the writers and others who have helped me publish and promote this book,” he said. “I ask for everyone’s forgiveness.”
As Faithwire previously reported, Shillady made headlines last month when he revealed that Clinton once admitted she “thought all the time” about becoming and ordained Methodist minister, but felt it may hinder her political dreams. In the Atlantic, Emma Green reported Clinton told Shillady she had a “secret dream” to preach — and he seemed to think she should pursue it.
“Given her depth of knowledge of the Bible and her experience of caring for people and loving people, she’d make a great pastor,” he said.