Doubling down on dumb: St. Paul’s Dayton continues to pay Dan McClain

Episcopal priest Daniel McClain

One of the things Anglican Watch likes about the Diocese of Southern Ohio is that it has a very sensible provision in its canons. Specifically, the Diocese expressly allows a parish to stop paying an administratively suspended priest who is part of a Title IV disciplinary proceeding after 90 days. (Canon XVIII, Section 10. (a))

But St. Paul’s Dayton has, at least for now, decided to continue paying suspended rector Dan McClain. The decision to do so is problematic on multiple fronts, including:

  • McClain’s refusal to negotiate. Specifically, most rational actors in this situation take advantage of the myriad opportunities within Title IV to negotiate a positive outcome. McClain has refused multiple such chances, so there is no reason for the parish to support McClain’s stupid behavior.
  • McClain’s lack of contrition. Even a casual read of McClain’s pleadings sounds like the nonsense typical of a narcissistic sociopath. These arguments include:
    • His defense of his extramarital affair by claiming his paramour is “special.”
    • His assertions that he’s making St. Paul’s great again.
    • His efforts to split hairs over his unauthorized (and seriously creepy) exorcism of St. Paul’s,
    • His knowing violation of the court protective order that prevents him from approaching his wife, Kate.
    • His manipulative claims that Kate has a mental illness.
    • Oh, and let’s not forget his claim that his ugly handling of HR issues at St. Paul’s was a mistake and not misconduct. The argument bolsters the notion that McClain is a loose cannon because he likely would not have made his “mistake” had he involved the vestry in his decision.
  • In other words, the more Dan says, the more he proves our point, which is that he has no business running around dressed like a priest.
  • McClain’s ongoing efforts at parental alienation, which are readily apparent in his divorce pleadings–and his idiotic and malicious antics, like bringing one of his sons to the proceedings and continuing to send his children to worship at the parish. Indeed, the word “jackass” readily comes to mind.
  • McClain’s ongoing duplicity, including telling the courts that he wants more time with his children, even though he appears routinely to leave the kids to their own devices when he wants to spend “quality time” with Plant Lady, his adulterous companion. With parents like Dan, who needs enemies? Or for that matter, when Dan is your priest?
  • McClain’s continuing contact with vestry members despite diocesan strictures forbidding such contact.
  • The stupid and unhelpful antics of McClain’s flying monkeys, including from other clergy.  Such behavior undercuts personal credibility, the mission of St. Paul’s, and Christianity itself.

The decision to keep paying Duplicitous Dan also ignores the continuing financial crisis at the parish and the recommendations of the parish’s finance committee. Indeed, squandering money on a butthead like Dan sends the message that the church has more money than it needs, so why bother to pledge? Moreover, most Christians would, we hope, have an issue with subsidizing adultery.

As to the parish’s stated notion to avoid financial injury to Dan’s wife and children, Anglican Watch deeply appreciates the concern for McClain’s family.

That said, we are mindful of the thoroughly un-Christian gossip within the parish involving allegations that Kate has a mental illness. Specifically, we have seen precious little concern to date for Kate or the children coming from the church. Thus, we believe that this rhetoric is less recognition of the church’s lousy behavior and repentance and more a desire to avoid cutting off the financial pipeline to Dan.

As to the parish itself, the old axiom about toxic parishes attracting toxic priests and vice versa is true.

Even though those directly involved can rarely see the toxic miasma, it often is readily apparent to third parties. Our hope is that the Diocese will take these issues seriously, revert the church to mission status, and muck out the filthy stall that is St. Paul’s, Dayton. That’s the only hope for the survival of this once-prominent but now-dying church. We note, too, that the vestry’s lies to the parish, including the fabrication that the Diocese must investigate all Title IV complaints, offers compelling insight into dysfunction among parish leadership.

As for Dan McClain, anyone who thinks he’s going to make good on the promise of the postcard he sent promising to “make St. Paul’s great again,” can already see the results of Dan’s work. It’s also telling that McClain didn’t even have the backbone to put his name to his ridiculous, amateur-hour machinations.

As to Dan’s claims of positive change, foisted upon an unsuspecting public via the Living Church article, “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing,” we’d welcome an explanation from him on how his adultery with his “special” paramour is part of the “main thing.” Indeed, nothing about Dan McClain suggests a healthy Christian faith.

In other words, it’s time for Dan McClain to go. We believe he is a narcissist and a sociopath, and that the evidence robustly supports this conclusion.

Moreover, Anglican Watch believes a forensic audit of church finances is overdue. Not only would this quickly bring to closure the allegations of misuse of church funds by Dan, but it would also provide answers to the myriad questions we have about parish finances. If indeed he has misappropriated funds, criminal charges are appropriate, as accountability is long overdue.

In this context, we note that there is a strong correlation between marital infidelity and financial fraud. As if that weren’t enough to raise concerns, the multiple allegations we have received of Dan bullying, abusing, manipulating, and lying to others sets off every possible alarm.

We make no bones about it–the sooner the Diocese defrocks Dan McClain, the better off all involved, including Dan himself, will be.

Can’t happen soon enough.

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