Liberal Arkansas Bishop May Be Covering Up Child Molester Boy Scout Leader In Local UM Church
Our colleague in ministry, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, has a serious problem that, given the power invested in her judgment and decisions, can affect the lives of hundreds of our ministerial friends over the next eight years.
Bishop Huie's problem is that she does not comprehend, probably does not actually feel it in her heart, that a man's children are dear and precious to him -- and that children need their father in their lives.
I suspect that Bishop Huie is deluded by a radical Feminist perspective that discounts the contribution of men to their children. The Holy Spirit turns the hearts of the fathers to the children. But Bishop Huie proposed four times to move me far from my children. I turned her down.
AND she is letting loose in the Church a "preferential child molester" that I reported to the police here in North Little Rock I have attached the story of how I have been left without an appointment and may face trail in the Church because the Church chose the interests of a molester over the safety and ministry of the congregation. I am asking that you write the Bishop expressing your opinion about this. SHE NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU. This will be our contribution to her moral and spiritual growth.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie
Please, pass this message on to others who may be sympathetic to this cause.
Yours in Christ,
Michael D. Hinton, M.Div.
CHURCH CHOOSES MOLESTER OVER PASTOR
By Michael D. Hinton, M.Div.
"I'm not going to let you accuse me of something that never materialized," said Dennis, as he slid out of my Study one Monday evening before the Boy Scouts met down the hall.
I caught Dennis with his hands cradling the face of an 11 year-old boy in a back room of our facility after a church dinner and pie auction the day before. It was December 5, 1999, and I could tell by looking what he wanted to "materialize." A brief time of prayer and reflection helped me decide upon a course of action. I needed to exercise my influence and authority as Pastor in Charge to keep children safe at church and allow Dennis to seek the spiritual/psychological help he needed. For the second time in my short tenure at the Amboy church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, I was dealing with a man whose behavior is both sick and sinful. I confronted him this time as a matter of church discipline, having witnessed first hand his predatory activity. I had a number of concerns about Dennis' activities at church. He worked with our Scouting program and otherwise endeared himself to children and youth who attended church activities. I saw a pattern in the behavior of this 60 year-old single person and my suspicions were confirmed twice by real-time events, first, by his seemingly penitent confession, having been reported by a previous victim, but second, by my own observation. And now that I am no longer Pastor at Amboy, I can tell what Dennis confessed to me in my Study one Sunday morning months before, in September.
But before that, let me interpret the political climate of Arkansas Methodism, and of the United Methodist Church in general, because these crises dont occur in a vacuum. Though encountering a "preferential child molester" in your flock may be a precipitating event, I've discovered nothing is very far removed from politics in the Church. The Liberal/Evangelical split is played out in nearly everything that happens, as various antagonists position themselves for greater control of institutional resources. A Christian soul may naturally recoil at scandalous sin and a true Pastor may exercise great care and professionalism in discharging his or her duties, but if you are on the wrong side of a controversial issue from your Bishop, any conflict may become an excuse for persecuting an activist Evangelical. The result of Dennis' bad behavior is that six months after I caught him, I am left without an appointment and he is still showing up for Scout meetings at the Amboy church.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie is a vicious hater of Evangelicals. Her bigotry is evident in her remarks concerning Asbury Seminary, my alma mater, and in her reddened face as Asbury is mentioned in her presence. Evangelicals lag way behind in appointments in the Arkansas Area, with none on the Cabinet and few with significant pulpits. There seems to be a systematic strategy of removing Evangelicals from the populous Little Rock metropolitan area.
The Bishop's prejudice in this regard has an insane quality to it, which overpowers all other concerns. In another matter of possible child abuse that I brought to her attention last August, for instance, in which a child reported being "strangled" by his father, a United Methodist Pastor in Illinois, Bishop Huie was visibly angry with me as I sat telling her about it in her Study. She complained that I would bring a bad report about a Pastor from another Conference. The impression I got was that she didn't want to hear it from me.
Before coming to Arkansas as the episcopal leader, Bishop Huie was a Superintendent in the South Texas Conference. Friends of mine relate an experience with Huie that reveals her maniacal prejudice against Evangelicals. My friends are a clergy couple; let's call them Frank and Edna. Frank published an article that Huie found offensive because it revealed an Evangelical perspective. Huie visited my friends to discourage any more such articles. During the visit, apparently, Frank left the room to get more iced tea for their guest. While he was out of the room, Huie said to Edna that if she, Edna, wanted to get anywhere in the ministry of the Church that she should "get rid" of Frank. Whereas I'm sure Huie meant divorce and not murder, I think Huie would rejoice if Evangelicals passed out of existence altogether.
Bishop Huie, second, is one of those petty Feminist/Liberal types, described by Robert Bork in SLOUCHING TOWARD GAMORRAH, whose bankruptcy of ideas is manifest in personal attacks on members of the presumed opposition, a la the Clinton Era politics of personal destruction.
Bork writes, "The enemy within is modern liberalism, a corrosive agent carrying a very different mood and agenda than that of classical or traditional liberalism. That modern liberalism is intellectually bankrupt diminishes neither its vitality nor the danger it poses. A bankrupt philosophy can reign for centuries and, when its bankruptcy becomes apparent, may well be succeeded by an even less coherent outlook. That is what is happening to us now. Modernity, the child of the Enlightenment, failed when it became apparent that the good society cannot be achieved by unaided reason. The response of liberalism was not to turn to religion, which modernity had seemingly made irrelevant, but to abandon reason. Hence, there have appeared philosophies claiming that words can carry no definite meaning or that there is no reality other than one that is 'socially constructed.' A reality so constructed, it is thought, can be decisively altered by social or cultural edict, which is a prescription for coercion."
So it is with the political shenanigans I've experienced among the liberal clergy and church hierarchy of Arkansas, first under Richard Turncoat Wilke and, worse, under Janice Riggle Huie. They have studied, connived and conspired to create illusions of competence for themselves and to place various onuses and contrived outcomes upon others. They do this from a position of sheer appointive power. They secure the cooperation of otherwise sincere churchpersons (though said persons may be quite ignorant and entirely too deferential to authority) through the craven fear that the appointive system seems to instill in Arkansas Methodists. I am not from Arkansas but rather grew up in West Texas. The political climate here is very different. It seems to me that the appointment process is overburdened by those who want the temporal blessings of a barely bourgeois institution within a poor, under-developed, capital-starved, poorly-educated, small, parochial, Southern state. And the good-ole-boy system has recently become a good-ole-girl system because nothing is sacred -- nothing of spiritual formation, nothing of doctrinal discourse, nothing of professional expertise -- all is subsumed under the rubric of getting ahead.
Huie's appointments in the Arkansas Area are blatant exercises in reverse discrimination and she suffers delusions of grandeur, as if she alone, with a handful of appointments in a tiny backwater of a shrinking denomination, can reverse millennia of racial and sexual oppression! I know now of two very decent male Pastors in Arkansas who are left without churches, supplanted by the Bishop's overwrought sense of social justice in favor of unproven female leadership. There are several single men and women ahead of many of us who have children in the home, and who otherwise are on equal footing in terms of Pastoral skill and experience. It is an agenda, clearly, at work. But the web of deceit surrounding these injustices is pervasive and convincing to the casual observer. Only the critical and unprejudiced mind can see through the smoke that constantly blows in the face of unsuspecting Arkansas Methodists.
Eyes from outside, I say, and a few whose vision is not protected by dollars, actually sting from the caustic vapor and can see, painfully, the truth. In an unusual turn of events, for instance, the only person I asked several years ago to help me in grievances against Wilke's wicked ways is now a victim of the very political danger that caused him to pass on my request. In conversation with a current Superintendent I learned that he was not happy with the way Bishop Huie treated a friend of his. Though this Superintendent said he has not even called his friend, I detect in his concern the seeds of potential justice. I believe with all my heart that exposing the oppression and bondage of the Arkansas appointive system can benefit hundreds of clergy and countless church members, whose spiritual interests are constantly traded off for the personal political advantage of a very few privileged individuals.
Bishop Huie, third, like so many in our Church, including many Evangelicals, employs a close political calculation that belies her sincerity. You see, there is a carelessness in those who truly follow the Lord, like that of Mary who anointed the Lord's feet with expensive oil before his Passion. Real love, faith and zeal for God is messy; it spills over and has an untamed quality to it, like Aslan, the Lion-Messiah in C.S. Lewis' tales of mystical Narnia. God is no respecter of persons but the patronage system in the United Methodist Church is all about who you know, whose favor you enjoy, like the Reverend Collins in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. One has to be too slick, too ingratiating, too serpentine in the United Methodist system. The Pastor of a tall steeple church in Conway, Arkansas once said to a meeting of PPRC members of the District, "Pastors learn early on that to get along you have to go along."
I thought, "How sad." God has given me grace, for my soul's sake, that I never learned that lesson. I can get along just fine without going along with foolishness and evil. Though I haven't made it very far in the United Methodist system (Amboy pays not quite $40,000) my conscience is clear, my faith alive and well. I have no right on any but moral grounds to ask how much is left unsaid, undone, untried, because so-called leaders in the Church, Liberal or Evangelical, dont want to risk personal political consequences, having done the calculation? How much evil lies uncovered in the recesses of our Church because we were so risk-aversive that it was deemed too politically costly to stir the pot?
The political equation attaching to me is that I speak equally honestly to both Liberal and Evangelical, have irritated and made enemies in both camps. I am extremely vulnerable for a number of reasons. But that is not enough to dissuade me, because I am what I am by the grace of God, an okay guy and a good Pastor, who senses the Lord's presence with me and guidance in my life. It has been miraculous at times. And I praise him.
The truth is that my short tenure at Amboy has been an almost flawless exercise in Pastoral work and responsibility. We doubled payment of apportionments, doubled attendance (until the trouble over Dennis became known), added a new sound system, started a Choir and hired a Choir Director, helped start a community Crime Watch program, and launched an ecumenical Food Pantry ministry that is an extraordinary success. I probably accomplished more in a few short months than any other Pastor of a United Methodist church in the Area. I sing pretty, too!!!
But, apparently, I am undone by a pedophile.
Dennis came to me confessing a homosexual, incestuous advance toward his 18 year-old great nephew. The police, several psychologists and my attorney, who is also a psycho-therapist, told me that the age difference between himself and Dennis' nephew, though not legally actionable, demonstrates a lack of age-appropriate boundaries, that is, Dennis fits the pattern of a "hard-core pedophile." Yet my Superintendent, Jan Edwards, told me in a phone conversation, "He needs a place in the Church, too."
Jan came to the Conway District at the same time I came to Amboy. A year ago, she and I were at the same level and we were friends. She received an advancement of over $39,000 to become a District Superintendent, and apparently believes she is now that much better than me in wisdom and judgment. Yet, as a Superintendent, she has proven very weak. It is obvious to me that she was advanced merely because she is a woman, as part of Bishop Huie's stated goal of advancing the careers of women and ethnic minorities.
When I called Jan about the problem with Dennis, it was two weeks before she returned my calls. I believe she intentionally let the problem fester to "put pressure on me," as one of her co-conspirators put it.
Dennis apparently went to some of my congregation and claimed that I was mistreating him.
Two laymen of the Amboy church, Stanley Hicks and Kelly Cannon, asked to meet with me concerning Dennis. I acceded out of courtesy. But when we met, their tone was hostile. Dennis also came to the meeting, along with an older woman of the congregation who was his friend and involved in the Scouting program. They demanded to know what right I had to tell someone not to come to church. I explained that my actions were consistent with the general duties outlined for Pastors in the Book of Discipline and that I could not at that time give a full accounting because I was bound by Pastoral confidence. I did indicate that the report they received about my action was not accurate. My attackers were led to believe I forbade Dennis to come to church at all. I actually told him that he was welcome at church for any function except when there were children on campus. I was not going to allow him to make the consecrated property a hunting ground either for feeding his fantasies or his acting out proclivities, endangering children and putting the Church in legal jeopardy.
Desperately trying to stay in the closet and now with profoundly ignorant yet powerful laymen on his side, Dennis started showing up at church and Scouts again. I pressed the issue with his family, who told me of his evil behavior going back 36 years. They interceded, convincing him not to attend church. But those involved with Scouts protected him. Three of us from the church, including one of my detractors, besought the Superintendent to help us resolve the issue by meeting with us in person. She did not do it. I was advised by a Pastor friend and former episcopal candidate to seek legal counsel.
The two men who challenged my wisdom in the matter organized a boycott of services. The budget suffered terribly. Rather than address the real problems at Amboy, somewhere along the way, I believe, the Bishop cut a deal with individuals in the church to trade me for a chance to appoint a white woman or black man at the church, consistent with her personal political agenda. The big lie that the PPRC told to get rid of me is that I lack compassion! See, so is fulfilled the modern liberals use of language not to communicate information but to create an effect. And the effect was to defraud me of my church.
Meanwhile, choosing to act responsibly, I had reported Dennis to the police, the Boy Scouts and Bishop Huie. Still he appears at meetings with the Scouts. Still I have no appointment.
Who is it that lacks compassion? By imposing a discipline on Dennis I had compassion on everyone involved. First, the boy is protected from abuse, and second, the perpetrator is confronted in the hope of his seeking help, finding repentance and a new life. He was going through those motions when he came confessing once before. But now that he is caught, having dropped out of the counseling I arranged for him, he would not submit to my guidance. He would be helped only on his own terms. Sin always has this willful quality to it. And Dennis' will his now strengthened by the two laymen, the boycott, the Scouting program, and now the Bishop and Cabinet of Arkansas. A Bishop who may once confirm children in the Faith may again confirm a dirty old man in his sin against them.
The molester is given a place in the Church and I am "offered" four appointments that the Bishop knew I couldnt accept.
You see, my wife and I are separated. For 30 months I've lived as a celibate married man, enjoying whatever time I can get with my four children. The marriage is beyond repair and will probably end soon. But what is left of my family is under severe attack by Bishop Huie and her evil minions in the Arkansas Area Cabinet.
When the PPRC at Amboy first met to consider the 2000-20001 appointment, we left the meeting agreeing that we had serious problems but that we wanted to explore "all options." Foolishly, I signed, as did we all, what was then a blank Consultation Form. No vote was taken at the meeting and I had no reason to believe our legitimate desire for "options" would be abrogated. I specifically asked the Chairman of the Committee, Buddy Lyons, for a copy of the form before he sent it in to the District Superintendent. But none was forthcoming. I wondered about it but took no action until I happened to be in the Superintendent's office, discussing with her the situation, finally, concerning Dennis, the child molester.
When I asked to see the now-submitted form, Jan, the DS, handed me a report that did not in any way reflect the agreement we made at the meeting. On the form handed me was the conclusion that I should be moved! I commented to the DS, after a moment of hurt, anger and confusion that this was a fraudulent document. As I studied it later at home, I noticed something else -- three different type-writers had been used to fill in the form. One section seemed to have been whited out and other material typed in.
I also knew that the report did not reflect my ministry or feeling for me in the congregation, so, without speaking to a soul beforehand, I raised the issue with the Administrative Council at our regular meeting in February. The Council voted to over-ride the PPRC report, asking that I remain as Pastor of the Amboy church.
This infuriated several of my detractors, who at first seemed stunned and confused by this vote. One couple decided to quit the church. One woman, in tears, complained that the hierarchy had somehow put me up to questioning the PPRC report!
Whereas some opposition to my ministry seemed to be forming, now the momentum began to swing the other direction. Even the Superintendent got on board, writing to Kelly Cannon that he should help me with the conflict over Dennis' behavior. He didn't.
Instead, there arose a campaign to put pressure on the system to have me removed. Stanley Hicks, along with his wife, Marie, her sister, Nancy Cannon (Kelly's wife) and Gwen McKim began to campaign for people to quit attending church and to quit giving. Of course, this violates membership vows and takes the process out of the hands of proper authority. It is an obvious mutiny, rebellion and anarchy against the United Methodist system. But it worked.
The Bishop and Cabinet were prepared to leave all us miserable people together at Amboy. It would have created a financial burden too great to bear for the fifty or so souls who were hanging in there faithfully serving God and the Kingdom. I implored the Superintendent to intercede. What happened was an outrageous sin against my family, what's left of it, and me.
By this time we were well into the season of appointment-making. By the time I was offered a position, many of the better appointments in the Little Rock area were filled -- this owing to the Superintendent's tardiness, maybe even sloth, in addressing issues at Amboy. I'm the one who pushed the process to relief the Amboy people of their distress. Lo and behold, now I am paying too high a price for my consideration of others.
In the consultation process that I completed by the end of January, I said first that I wanted Justin, 17, my older of two sons, to finish at Arkansas Baptist High School. He will be a Jr. next year. Justin lives with me because his younger siblings, who live with their mother, are a challenge to the peace and quite of any environment. Justin is an excellent athlete and highly "social." He needs the discipline of a Christian private school to give him the structure and academic environment best for guaranteeing his future. He would be very bitter toward the Church and possibly me if I were to up-root him at this critical juncture in his development.
In a conversation with the Superintendent about my appointive prospects, she suggested that I indicate a willingness either to remain at Amboy or be moved.
Yet, these issues being clear, Bishop Huie offered me an appointment in El Dorado, two-and-a-half hours from my children. The Holy Spirit turns the hearts of the fathers to the children but Bishop Huie thinks nothing of taking a child's father away.
Wanting to obey the Spirit of God, when this appointment first was offered to me, I turned it down flat suggesting that in spite of the difficulties, I would rather stay at Amboy. At that point it seemed fine to the DS and I thought we were set.
Apparently there was communication of some sort between Amboy and the Superintendent because I was asked to lunch with two Superintendents, Jan and Michael Maddox of the Little Rock District.
It was during that lunch that I discovered Jan had not reported our problems with the child molester to the Bishop and Cabinet. Yet they were pressuring me to accept the appointment in El Dorado. I told them I wasn't moving until the situation with Dennis was settled.
A few days later, the Superintendent met with the PPRC in my absence, though I knew about the meeting. What they concocted together was the most vicious pack of lies ever uttered except for all the other lies that have been told about God's servants -- by those who want salvation without responsibility. They put together a laundry list of complaints against me that, again, do not reflect my actual performance as a Pastor among them but rather results from threats by Stanley Hicks ET AL concerning the financial hardships imposed on the church should his party leave or continue to boycott. The Superintendent obviously did not argue for a civil process but seems to have caved in to those threats. She even seemed to delight in having ammunition to use against me in the appointment process, since I was now firmly in the losers pool.
I expressed to Jan and Michael that I would feel severely abused if the Bishop insisted on moving me to El Dorado. I expressed over and over my commitment to my children's welfare, i.e. my desire to stay in the Little Rock area. Then I was offered a series of churches that were equally abusive: Clarendon at a $9,000 decrease but "closer to Little Rock," I was told. What, did they expect Justin to commute on the Interstate 120 miles a day to school and back? Absurd. Then they offered me Trinity, yes, in North Little Rock but at a decrease of $14,000 and without family insurance coverage. They said that was my "last chance." I turned them down again, feeling not only abused but also insulted. Are they not listening? I told the DS they were making a mockery of the consultation process.
I got a letter from the DS recounting the sorry history of the appointive process thus far and another one saying they were through making appointments because of General Conference up-coming. These were in response to my inquiries, both written and oral to the DS.
I wrote to the Bishop and Jan that they still had time, after General Conference, to make my appointment. So, as of this writing, I am officially informed that I've been appointed to Pea Ridge up in the Fayetteville District. Jan didn't say, and I didnt ask, even, how much Pea Ridge pays. It's an obvious ploy to threaten and pressure me more with these heavy-handed and abusive appointive practices they are so enamored of here in the Arkansas Area, these arrogant men and women in the hierarchy who put career above family and friends, even above common human decency and faith. I'm supposed to get a letter informing me of my "effective" appointment shortly, the idea being that if I dont show up I am in violation of the Discipline.
Let's have a trial! Hallelujah!
I dont consider the Pea Ridge appointment valid because it follows upon fraudulent and incompetent behavior at the local and District level. I should never have been moved from Amboy after one year since I did nothing wrong and actually was accomplishing quite a lot. In addition, the Book of Discipline says that the Bishop must follow certain criteria in making appointments, assuming one does move. Among those criteria are the family concerns of the Pastor and his/her skill and experience in ministry. There is no provision for penalizing a person financially relative to geographic vicinity. If El Dorado, as a level move from Amboy, was considered a match equal to my professional skills, why wouldnt a church closer to Justin's school and to my two younger children? The answer to that is quite simple -- the Area Cabinet under Bishops Wilke and Huie (no difference between the two) simply do not want me to have two blessings at once, being an Evangelical sinner in their eyes as I am. There is, plain and simple, a profound prejudice against me, maybe even a perverse pleasure in giving me grief in this way, though I have indicated my willingness to serve in outlying areas in the future. They have taken personally my insistence on truth and righteousness in the appointment process.
Therefore, I cite Bishop Huie with disobedience to the order and discipline of the Church in failing to secure for me an appointment in the Little Rock area commiserate with my gifts and graces for ministry, age, experience and family considerations.
Willa Cather wrote in DEATH COMES TO THE ARCHBISHOP, "Father Latour judged that the day of lawless personal power was almost over "
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