13 April, 2007

Pastor's Scottish Accent Discovered to be Fake


For almost five years now Eric MacLeod has been the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Austin. Loved by his congregation and the community, MacLeod is known affectionately as the "Silly Scotsman." Many describe him as "charming" and "whitty" with his Scottish accent, but still able to be serious and sensible when it comes to preaching. Members of the congregation speak highly of his preaching abilities, often encouraging their friends to visit the church just to hear MacLeod preach.

"We loved his accent." Said Elizabeth Thompson, a member of Trinity. "He could read the phone book and it would be interesting. It really made us pay attention more during sermons."

But recently MacLeod's standing in the eyes of his congregation took a serious nosedive when it was uncovered that he was not Scottish at all, but rather, he was from Florida. Now he faces losing his job as the church's pastor.

"I came up to the church late one Tuesday evening to pick up some papers that had been left in my box." Said Alex Hampton, one of the church's ruling elders. "I walked past the main office of the church and noticed there was a light left on. As I went in to turn it off I heard someone on the phone in Eric's office, but it didn't sound like him. So I went in and there he was, talking on the phone with someone in a plain old American accent. I was just plain shocked. Our eyes met, and I could tell he was nervous about being caught. Neither of us said anything, and I just left."

MacLeod was called before the elders the very next night where he confessed that he had lied to the church for five years, and that he was not from Scotland.

"He told us that the accent was all a fake, that he really wasn't from Scotland." Said Hampton. "But it's more than just the accent. All the stories about the 'old country' that he used to tell us in his sermon illustrations, his supposed knowledge of Scottish ales, his quoting of 'old Scottish sayings,' the rolled "Rs" and the witty jabs at America 'from across the pond,' all of it has been fake. We've been betrayed!"

Since the scandal was uncovered MacLeod has not spoken to the congregation, nor has he made any public statement, but is expected to this upcoming Sunday morning.

"All these years I've been telling everyone we had a pastor from Scotland when we've just had some guy from Florida." Said Thompson. "It really irks me. You take away the accent and he's about as dry as the Sahara."

While the elders have not formally decided what will happen to MacLeod, it has been suggested that he resign as pastor.


Jacob said...

It's like the Ramtha syndrome, only he's not possessed by a 3500 year old Celtic warrior!

Anonymous said...

You know, I took a class from a professor of English history that was an American, but had an "Oxford" accent. His explanation was that one wasn't allowed to graduate from Oxford without the accent, but a fellow classmate of mine was quite angy and thought she had been cheated. I thought his lectures would have been just as interesting with an American accent, though.

Rev. said...

Anybody checked out S. Ferguson and A. Begg to make sure they're legit?!?

Unknown said...


I'm on it! We'll start our own little inquisition.


Amanda said...

Americans and their fascination with British accents! LOL! Reminds me of the old Friends episode where Ross speaks in a (bad) English accent in an attempt to impress his students (or maybe that's where you got the idea!). Funny post, as always.

Stefan Ewing said...

How do you come up with new ideas every day? The Holy Spirit really must be working through you (though it's not always clear to what purpose ;)).

Unknown said...


You asked...

"How do you come up with new ideas every day?"

That's a good question. I'll admit some days are harder than oathers. I know every article is not going to be a ROTFLOL for everyone, but I try.

What I usually do is write down an idea when I think of it on a special Notepad file on my computer. The ideas come from various places. It might be a recent news story, a website article, something I experienced personally, or just something that struck me as funny. I never intentionally copy someone else's work. Someone a while back noted a similarity between one of my stories and an old story on "The Onion." If there was a similarity it was pure coincidence because I don't read "The Onion." Usually I've got about ten stories or so warming up in the bullpen.

I try to space out the articles and the points I'm trying to make over the course of a week. For instance I don't just want to pick on Independent Fundamentalist Baptist in every story for a week.

Most of the time the actual article is written either the night before (sometimes on the morning of at 5AM over coffee, which results in some interesting typos).

I hope this gives some insight into the deep recesses of my brain (scary ain't it?).

As far as the work of the Holy Spirit...let me just say that I'm thankful the Lord is giving me the opportunity to make four to five hundred (sometimes more and sometimes less) people both laugh and (hopefully) think every day.


Anonymous said...

I was at First Prez - Columbia, SC last week for Good Friday service (my daughter works for the church). Ferguson sure sounded like a real Scotsman

Stefan Ewing said...

Tom, you wrote that you "never intentionally copy someone else's work." That should be self-evident—your stuff is truly original. Anyhow, I think it's safe to say that putting "Christians" and "humour" together results in a pretty small niche...there's no opportunity for copying anyone else—you're one of a kind!

Okay, enough of the unadorned adulation. I'm in a good mood—I'm getting baptized this weekend! Praise the Lord!

Anonymous said...

I want to know how SEWING knows about Rick Warrens new book venture..... "The Purpose Driven Holy Spirit." I also hear that Rick Warren and Tim Layahe are prepared to come out with their new book deal... "Left Behind On Purpose."


Rev. said...


I think the best way to check for authenticity is to put Haggis in front of them. Only a true Scot would (could) eat Haggis. ;)

David Shedden said...

I'm told the premium on your stipend for a Scottish accent is at least $10,000. Worth every dollar if you ask me, a Scotsman who'd love to be a preacher in the US...