Anglican Watch

Open letter to St. James Texarkana and Diocese of Dallas: Time to shut down #metoo

David Halt Title IV Complaint

Dear members of St. James Texarkana and the Diocese of Dallas:

As you know, issues are swirling about St. James Texarkana involving allegations of sexual misconduct by a clergyperson previously connected with the parish, Douglas Anderson.

Even worse, the diocese and rector David Halt are trying to cover up the matter. And Halt is lying to you.

It’s time to put your foot down and demand accountability. The days when men can sexually harass women with impunity, or lie their way out of it, are over. And retaliation against men with the integrity to stand up against sexual harassment is unacceptable.

For starters, we’re not impressed by David Halt.

At best, he is feckless when providing pastoral care or serving the parish. Being a priest involves being part of the community, raising up others, and growing the church. Not just being nice on Sundays. And given his compensation, Halt can damned well get off his lazy backside and do some work. Feel free to quote us.

Worse, Halt is a liar. Yes, that is strong language, but it’s accurate.

He’s lying when he tells you and others that Rich Daly:

  • Retired.
  • Had trouble getting along with others.

The truth is that he fired Daly in retaliation for supporting the victim of sexual harassment. And his claims about Daly are nothing more than thin attempts at a cover-up.

That begs the question: Do you want a priest who’s a liar? Or a bishop who, like George Sumner, actively engages in cover-up and ignores the situation, including the Title IV clergy disciplinary complaint filed in this case? There is a profound lack of integrity on multiple levels in this matter.

On a higher level, how can you stand there, recite the baptismal covenant, and ignore these issues?

Every one of you has someone you love who deserves better than to be sexually harassed.

Whether it’s your wife, daughter, sister, father, brother, son, a grandparent or a stranger, no one deserves sexual harassment or abuse.

And the very definition of sexual harassment is when a clergyperson exploits the differential in perceived power for sexual gratification.

There’s also more than one woman who is a victim. So this is neither an individual situation nor the victim’s fault.

And it should not be this difficult to obtain justice. In any well-run organization, Halt, Anderson, and Sumner would have been fired after a brief investigation.

So what next? That’s easy–those involved need to come clean. They need to tell the truth about their conduct, they need to repent, and they need to make restitution, both to you and the victim.

And we can take a pass on the cheap grace and faulty theology of forgiveness we see far too often in the denomination. Being Christian does not require us to ignore misconduct. Nor is it wrong to insist on accountability.

Indeed, resisting injustice and oppression means demanding an end to #metoo issues at St. James and the Diocese of Dallas.

That means that, if Halt and Sumner aren’t willing to act like responsible adults, you will need to take action. And you need to do it quickly, before those hurt experience further trauma or your parish incurs further reputational damage. That means you will need to ask Halt and Sumner to resign.

Simple as that.

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