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Complex Church Politics In Arkansas Evangelical vs. Pedophile Scout Leader Case May Have To Be Resolved By Church and Civil Courts

From: Michael D. Hinton mdhinton@mindspring.com
To: John Warrener jwarrene@surfsouth.com
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2000 9:49 AM Subject:
Re: What's the Story


Just got in late last night from Ark. Sorry to all for the delays. I should have taken my lap-top with me. Please, forward this news.

First, thanks is greatly due to you and Joe Florence for coming through like Christian brothers do for one another. What a blessing you were to me, John -- a source of strength and wisdom during a true test of faith.

Second, I quote the official letter that resulted form the Aug. 8 hearing:

Dear Michael,

I am writing to inform you of the North Arkansas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry's decision regarding the complaint filed against you by Bishop Max Whitfield. It was obvious to the Board that you gave a thorough and thoughtful response to the complaint. Your perspective was discussed as the Board deliberated.

In light of your statements concerning your feelings about the appointment process, the Board invites you to surrender your credentials. If you choose this course of action by August 31, 2000, the complaint will be resolved, and no further adjudication will be required.

Otherwise, based on the facts to which you have stipulated, the Board will return the complaint to Bishop Janice Riggle Huie with a recommendation for referral to the Committee on Investigation and possible charges under P2624.d and P2624.e (THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE, 1996). This process will allow for a thorough examination of the issue and bring the matter to resolution.

You may contact me if you have questions concerning the Board's decision. Our prayers are with you as you discern the right course for you and your children.


Deidre J. Roberts

Third, I am greatly encouraged by this decision because of what the letter says, "This process will allow for a thorough examination of the issue ..." Such a process would amount to a public trial, I think. The threat of such a process would strike me much differently if I had done something wrong. As it is, I feel called to continue through with this matter because it serves to reveal the sins and foolishness of Bishop Huie. It's a matter of bearing witness to the truth. We have real problems with the truth in the UM Church.

Fourth, meanwhile, I'd like to report that President Clinton referred the case of the Amboy pedophile to the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Liaison for Children and Families in Little Rock. Pray for Shirlee Flanigan-Isbell.

Fifth, I got a letter from Bishop Oden in Dallas, saying he would "hold" my complaint against Huie until my case is resolved. I wrote back questioning that decision, saying that even as a layman I could pursue complaint against the Bishop. I suppose they think I am trying to strong-arm the Bishop for a decent appointment in the Little Rock area, as I've campaigned for all along. Well, I've done all this not because I want it but because it's the right thing to do, for my children. Do they think I ENJOY this conflict??? Geez, what idiots. Though they are Liberals, they seem not truly to understand how one would suffer, CHOOSE to suffer, for an issue of justice, simple justice.

Sixth, Bishop Huie dismissed my complaint against Max Whitfield, who lied to the Pea Ridge congregation, presenting me as their new Pastor, when he KNEW I wouldn't be there, in order to set me up for charges. Her stated reason for dismissing the complaint was two-fold: that it was without merit (not her decision) and that "immorality" refers to "sexual immorality." I wrote back to the Bishop saying thanks for giving me the opportunity to appeal to the Judicial Council, asking whether lying was "immoral." See, "sexual misconduct" is covered in another subtext of the paragraph on chargeable offenses. So many opportunities she is giving me to show how foolish and sinful she is!

Seventh, Bishop Huie is "holding" the complaint I filed against my former Superintendent, Jan Edwards, again, until the case against me is resolved. Again, why? I am still alive as a United Methodist. She has not thought this through, which is a big problem with her as a Bishop in the Church. Everyone makes mistakes but she keeps piling them up against herself -- not very good judgement on her part.

Eighth, I just this morning received a letter from Huie that I have been placed on involuntary leave by vote of the Bishop and Cabinet, pending disposition of the complaint against me. The Bishop says, "I hope that the additional time that will now be involved in processing this complaint can be used for the purpose of just resolution and reconciliation." What does that mean?

Though the Bishop in her letter says I have a "right to a hearing before the bishop, district superintendents and executive committee of the board of ordained ministry," the Bishop took it upon herself to assign a time for this meeting, Sept. 8, like I'm a wealthy person who can fly back and forth across the country at her whim and fancy. And how does that comport with the notion of "additional time?" I don't suppose we can depend upon a wicked person, who tears up families, to then be considerate about it!

Ninth, this is what happens when a woman is elected Bishop BECAUSE she is a woman, to fulfill an unstated P.C. quota system, not because she is bright and/or good. I intend to make this one of my major themes in any future hearings.

Tenth, while back in Arkansas, I filed complaints against the Amboy pedophile, to get him out of the church, and against eight other Amboy laity who broke their membership vows to extort and manipulate the system.

John, feel free to put any of this news in the Accountability Watch or under the News thread.

Again, thanks for being there for me, John, my good and wise brother in Christ. And thanks to all who prayed and contributed to this cause, especially Joe Florence. I experienced it as love, mercy and grace. I am asking the Lord Jesus, the author and perfecter of the faith, to strengthen me for the good fight ahead.

Hallelujah and Amen,

Michael D. Hinton
255 Pine St. Bangor, Me. 04401
(207) 990-2819

From: Michael D. Hinton <mdhinton@mindspring.com>
To: John Warrener <jwarrene@surfsouth.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2000 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: What's the Story CORRECTION


I've had time to study the Discipline and digest Bishop Huie's letter of this morning.

The Bishop and Cabinet cannot put me on involuntary leave by edict. That is the prerogative of the Board of Ordained Ministry. We would have to have ANOTHER hearing like the one just completed. In other words, the Bishop doesn't like what the Board recommended because it might lead to a public trial. She knows I can't afford to flit back and forth across the country for an endless schedule of hearings, the times for which she is dictating, wanting me to go back on Sept. 8. SHOULDN'T THE RECENT DECISION BE THE DECISION? This proves how addicted to power she is. Corrupting or supplanting the process is the same as denying it.

John Warrener and I pointed out the denial of process that occurred on Aug. 8. Now she has scheduled only 30 minutes before a hearing on Sept. 8 for possible reconciliation/supervision. As the Church Lady would say, "How conveeeeeeeenient."

I've decided not to play her games any longer and will turn this matter over to my attorneys.

Yours in Christ,

Michael D. Hinton

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