With news that Dan McClain, rector-elect of St. Paul’s Episcopal, Dayton, has been referred to a full-on hearing panel under the Title IV disciplinary canons, Anglican Watch will have a lot to say about the situation in the coming days. We are the complainants in the matter, as we believe filing was the Christian thing to do, so we feel we have a stake in the matter.
But in the meantime, Anglican Watch believes it’s important to pre-frame the ensuing conversation. Specifically, it’s time to circle back and ask the baseline question: What sort of guy is Dan McClain?
We submit a good answer to that question can be found in the misogynistic, patriarchal, complementarian, and MAGA-type notions articulated in the post card posted above. It allegedly was sent on or about October 22, 2021 to many members of the parish. Most who received it believe it was drafted by — you guessed it — Dan McClain himself. And even if it wasn’t, we find it difficult to believe anyone would send it without McClain’s imprimatur.
To be clear, we express no opinion on MAGA as a political movement.
But we do have profound issues with almost everything else about the postcard, including its reference to “masculine Christianity.” The latter is a Victorian notion that aligned churchmanship with stereotypical gender roles, and remains common in some segments of the evangelical community, including Liberty University. The phrase also has ugly ties to colonialism and Christian Nationalism —- and it’s one that few would fully apprehend, except for McClain.
Similarly, the reference to yoga as “cultish” is jejune and straight out of the Liberty playbook.
This claim is perhaps best understood in the context of McClain’s unauthorized exorcism of the church building, which he falsely contends didn’t require approval from the episcopacy on the basis that it involved a building, not a person. Not only is that a flagrant misrepresentation of the requirements set forth in church rubrics, but apparently McClain’s exorcism didn’t work worth a hoot, as the first evil spirit to hit the bricks in a successful exorcism would be his.
As to indicia of Anglo-Catholicism, many of us at AW are from Anglo-Catholic backgrounds. But much as we love the beauty of the Anglo-Catholic liturgy, it’s a relatively minor issue in one’s larger faith — although we note it appears to attract an exceptional number of malevolent narcissists. The latter, who like to find models that they can adopt for their persona, seem particularly drawn to the calculated pageantry and heightened clericalism of Anglo-Catholic parishes.
As to the digs at progressivism, we are unabashed liberals, but we count many conservatives as dear friends, including David Virtue of VirtueOnline. The Christian faith is big enough to accommodate a wide variety of political beliefs, and we marvel that the author thought these comments would endear McClain to the bishop. Or that forcing members out of the Body of Christ would be appealing to judicatories.
For the record, none of the things referenced in the postcard are the “main thing” as described in the ludicrous and misleading recent puff piece about the parish in The Living Church. Indeed, that article is outrageously false, and we call upon our sister publication to show integrity and run a follow-on that reflects the real issues at St. Paul’s, versus the obnoxious load of pig swill that McClain threw at the publication,
Even the bit in the recent article about “searching for growth” is hogwash.
St. Paul’s is lurching towards implosion, not growth, and the many who have left have done so primarily because of issues with McClain and his lack of servant leadership.
As to the other points in the postcard:
- McClain’s appearance should be irrelevant as long as he is appropriately well-groomed, so why bring it up in the first place? But we do think clergy, like any professionals, should be appropriately groomed, and McClain increasingly appears disheveled and poorly groomed. There also are times he seems dazed and confused, which raises additional questions for us, particularly in light of his seemingly continual financial woes.
- Masculine Christianity places a heavy emphasis on accountability and responsibility, especially towards family. So, as we have stated before, we have an issue with Dan McClain having money for another tattoo, when he tells the courts he needs to reduce support to his wife and children. Or have money for an extramarital affair. In other words, the references to “family values” leave us howling with laughter. Based on everything we have seen, Dan McClain is among the least likely people we know to reflect “family values.” In fact, he should have done all involved a favor and had a vasectomy prior to marriage — after all, he himself doesn’t want to pay support for his family.
- Speaking of McClain’s affair, masculine Christianity places great value on personal integrity and would argue strenuously against having an affair. Given that even in cases of long-ago adultery, priests are almost always suspended or defrocked, why McClain thought his affair with Plant Lady was a good idea is beyond us. And Liberty would have kicked his scrawny backside out over an affair so fast it would make your head spin faster than you can say, “Green pea soup.”
- Having an affair in front of his kids, which we believe McClain is doing, is wrong on so many levels we don’t even know where to begin. This guy is ethical trash.
- Masculine Christianity also emphasizes physical fitness and athleticism. While we understand that Dan is a cyclist, his beer belly is hardly consistent with notions of masculine Christianity.
- With a bishop-elect who is a woman, and who spoke out during the #churchtoo conversations at General convention about gender equality and the need for a vibrant, effective Title IV process, we’ll be interested to see what the incoming bishop of Southern Ohio thinks of Dan McClain’s purportedly patriarchal views.
Meanwhile, the mainly LGBTQ staff of Anglican Watch have this to say to Daniel McClain: Real men don’t have affairs, bully their wives, or otherwise act like McClain. As to further notions of “masculine Christianity,” Daniel McClain is a nasty little weasel. And he gives off an odd vibe that leads us to suspect he’s bisexual, which, if true, is an embarrassment to the LGBTQ community. Big time.
So spare us the family values BS, folks. Our advice to the diocese is: Suspend Daniel McClain now and prohibit both direct and indirect contact with the diocese and parish. Otherwise, this will be a case of manipulation on Dan’s part in all directions, to the great detriment of the parish and the diocese, Even worse, knowing what we do of Dan, we doubt there is any lie too large for him to tell. This suggests he will create huge levels of conflict if given the opportunity to do so.
Our advice to everyone else is: Run. Like. Hell.
Dan McClain simply does not reflect the love and care you should be able to expect from another human being, let alone an Episcopal priest.