I had a good laugh last night when I received the following email from David Corry, a General Counsel with Liberty’s Office of Legal Affairs. I’m posting it here with grammatical, factual, and spelling errors as received.
from: Corry, David M firstname.lastname@example.org
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:39 PM
subject: Cease and Decist False Statements regarding Liberty University Trustees
Your recent internet blog on peterlumpkins.com/typepad.com has come to the attention of Liberty University and its Board of Trustees. (http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2012/04/liberty-university-trustees-unanimous-mark-driscoll-is-not-welcome-by-peter-lumpkins.html) I write on their behalf to inform you that it contains false information that is defamatory and calculated to injure Liberty University by portraying it in a false light. Furthermore, the content of Liberty University’s Board of trustees meetings are confidential and protected both by Virginia law and confidentiality agreements signed by all trustees and officers in attendance. I understand that you are responsible for the blog and write to demand the immediate removal of the post, as well as a posted retraction. The failure to take the actions requested here will result in my advising Liberty University of its full array of legal rights, which include a civil action for damages and injunction relief against you and SBC.com and WordPress.com (Automattic). Additionally, Liberty University may have to take swift action publicly, naming you, to protect and restore its reputation, which action may prove embarrassing to you.
By copy of this email to SBC.com and WordPress.com, we are placing them on noticed as the publishers of the blog, that they have aided in the publication of false information which is defamatory, as well as confidential information that is protected by Virginia law, and that they should take steps immediately to remove, restrict access to, and restrict availability of this material. Not only does Virginia law compel such a result, but their own policies and rules would produce such a result. One of their contributors has violated the terms of service by posting information that is objectively false, defamatory and portrays Liberty University in a false light. To the extent any information in the blog posting regarding occurrences at a confidential board of trustees meeting is not false and defamatory, it is protected as confidential information by law. Accordingly, they should immediately remove the posting as being a violation of their policies governing blog postings for being harmful and objectionable.
Please govern yourselves accordingly.
In His service,
David M. Corry
Office of Legal Affairs
OK. This is a prank. Right?
After my a solid chuckle, I could only imagine this was a prank. Some fun-loving student was having a little joke at my expense. After all…
- Peter’s email address was incorrect
- They thought we blogged at SBC.com
- The confused WordPress.com and Typepad.com
- Who ever heard of legal notice via email?
- The grammar & spelling wouldn’t pass a freshman English course
- How could Liberty actually feel threatened by Peter Lumpkins?
So, I spend about 15 minutes on the phone today with David Corry. In my opinion, he is a nice guy in a difficult situation. Who would want to defend a paranoid leadership team against every rumor & opinion on the Internet?
Then I spend another 45 minutes talking to Peter Lumpkin. We agreed this was an attempt to intimidate a “little blogger” and silence any suspicion of dissent withing the Liberty University Trustees. After all, are those “Christian Champions” at Liberty really planning an embarrassing court case vs. Peter? That would be a blogger’s dream come true!
I told both sides that Peter is our crazy cousin who likes to start fights. But I think it’s wrong to silence voices who make us nervous. Let the people decide. If the story is false that will be obvious in just a few weeks.
Anyway, Dave Miller also gave me his thoughts, but he’s a little nutty and may not be an American citizen.
Let’s Hear Some Noise
I’d love to read your comments on this latest attack attempt to intimidate free speech by an institution loosely affiliated with the Virginia Baptists (the conservative branch). Do you think Peter was wrong? Would you hire Mr. Corry for your next legal battle? What is wrong with Baptists in Virginia? Comments are open below (and I’ll tell Dave to let ’em run wild.)