Montana “Pastor” Blames Gays For His Legal Woes

Jim Burroway

September 30th, 2011

Bilk unto others and blame the gays.

Last February when Hamilton, Montana “pastor” Harris Himes (I’ll get to the scare quotes in a minute) spoke before a Montana House committee in favor of a statewide ban on all protections for gay people, he said the ban was justified because the Bible condemns gay people to death. Since then, the president of Montana’s chapter of  Phylis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum has been charged with six felonies, in an alledged scheme to convince an investor to put in $150,000 to fund a phony company:

According to court records, Himes and (James “Jeb”) Bryant claimed to own a business, Duratherm Building Systems, and promised at least one investor a large return on his $150,000. But the investor claimed to have never received any returns or confirmation of sale, nor could he get his money back.

Duratherm Building Systems was connected to another company, Monarch Beach Properties, which Himes and Bryant claimed was a “type of parent corporation.” The state investigation revealed several inconsistencies with respect to these companies. For one, Monarch is solely owned by Bryant and his wife, and the business address linked to the money-wiring instructions given to the alleged victim is for an apartment complex in Rockville, Md. The state of Maryland has no listing for Monarch.

Duratherm Building Systems reportedly operates in Mexico, where Bryant spends most of his time.

And speaking of schemes, further investigation that Himes’s “church,” Big Sky Christian Center, is located inside a post office box in Hamilton.

Himes claims to have been ordained as a pastor by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, where he served for a few years, said Pastor Kevin Horton. But Himes split from the chapel, Horton said, and proclaimed himself pastor of the Big Sky Christian Center, which lists its address as Himes’ post office box.

“For the first five years, we didn’t think much of him,” Horton said. “But to call him a pastor isn’t accurate because he doesn’t have a church. There are accountability structures built into a church. He’s a self-proclaimed pastor, and at our last ministerial meeting, we discussed what we could do with Himes.”

Himes now says that’s not the only scheme in town. The pastor with the tiny, tiny church-in-a-box nows says that gays and abortionists are behind his legal troubles.


September 30th, 2011

Ha-ha, what a farce of a person he is.


September 30th, 2011

It’s very simple theology; pastor means shepherd. If there is no flock, then there is no shepherd. On a slightly deeper level, Christian leaders generally must act in a collegial manner, as they are to represent the Church in her entirety. Because of this, it is quite impossible for someone to declare themselves a leader in the church. A person who wishes to be a leader must stand in continuity with those who went before them, ideally through a physical laying on of hands.


September 30th, 2011

Eh, it’s been my experience that the different Pentecostal churches and movements are overflowing with self-declared Apostles, Pastors, Prophets, etc. All you have to do is get some people to believe that you are what you say you are. So yes, it’s quite possible.


September 30th, 2011

Someone should call Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and ask if they’ve ever even heard of this guy.

I’d laugh if they hadn’t.

Timothy Kincaid

September 30th, 2011

Ordination is a process and an event, not a matter of approval or mentoring. Either one has been ordained or one has not.

Thus the term “ordained minister” which differentiates between a guy who preaches and someone who has been reviewed and vetted (to a greater or lesser extent) by a denomination or organization.

There are no doubt some churches that grow up around a preacher who has not been ordained (perhaps in the Big Sky), that would be a disqualifier for consideration by most church boards.


September 30th, 2011

Why is he claiming that gays are responsible for his legal troubles? You put that in the headline and then give no further information.


September 30th, 2011

See the linked article in the last sentence. He hasn’t given any explanation, we just “are”.


September 30th, 2011

The gentleman has a causality problem, he is facing charges because of his alleged criminal actions not because of his political positions. Christianists have a real problem accepting personal responsibility. I have seen this mindset repeatedly among groups opposed to equal rights.


September 30th, 2011

He is an obvious nutcase, ignore him.

Jim Burroway

September 30th, 2011

John, I can’t read his mind. He’s blaming gays but doesn’t say why. Your guess is as good as mine.


September 30th, 2011

Well, I’m NOT responsible for his hair.


September 30th, 2011

He’s like most fundamentalist preachers. Too lazy to get an honest job because he’s too stupid to be able to make the amount of money he can make by scamming the sheeple.


October 1st, 2011

[tk: comment removed due to violation of Comments Policy]

Scooby Doo

October 1st, 2011

And he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling gays!

San Diego Rob

October 2nd, 2011

I bet he could make more money if he were to go about the bible mentioning death to those who commit adultery.

Timothy Kincaid

October 5th, 2011


Have you met any fundamentalist preachers? Most are sincere, honest, caring and doing what they do because they believe that they are helping people.

And a good many of them left a job with far more income to work at an occupation that is mostly poorly compensated and in which the work day starts as 12.01 am and ends at midnight.

Pastors – especially in small towns – have less privacy than a movie star. Any minor misbehavior of a family member is an indictment on God and religion. It is not off limits for a parishioner to invite themselves to Christmas or a family function.

They don’t get paid well and yet are expected to help out when anyone else is in need. Many continue in ministry into their 80s while the congregation drifts away to the younger more in-touch preacher because, frankly, they can’t stop. They never made enough to save.

And even those who do make enough to consider educating their kids or saving for retirement have to walk a fine line between appearing so poor that obviously God isn’t blessing him and appearing so rich he can drive that fancy-pancy new (second hand) car.

A pastor is never not on-call. When the phone rings at 3 am he answers, gets out of bed, comes over, and gives marital advice. When your husband is in an accident, he’s at the hospital before much of the family – even if your husband called him lazy and stupid just yesterday.

He has to be nice and friendly when he feels grumpy and sick. He has to be approachable to the lonely non-stop talker, the socially inept person who could use a more frequent bathing schedule, the angry person ranting about his spouse when he’s the one at fault. He takes verbal abuse and doesn’t get to lash back – or even write that person out of his life.

A good many people enjoy being part of some good-works ministry at church. But the pastor is part of all of them. Every week. Even when he doesn’t really want to be in the park serving soup. It’s his job.

And when elderly women on a budget are afraid of being taken advantage of by service people (or simply don’t have the money), his job also includes roof reshingling, clearing plumbing blocks, and minor electrical repairs. Or sometimes delegation of younger folk who really need to learn to respect the life experiences of their elders – a task more frustrating than doing it yourself.

And a minister has to keep up on his studying, to find something relevant, meaningful, and appropriate to the lives of his congregants and originality isn’t easy when there’s 2,000 years of others doing the same. He has to know a little about history, science, philosophy, physics, current events, and especially the often excruciatingly nuanced and complicated theological positions of several dozen distinct denominations at any time.

But by far his hardest work is therapist. If you truly care about people (and the vast overwhelming number of pastors do) then you take a little of their burden on you. You feel and worry and care and pray about them. They go away a bit happier, he has another thing to be concerned about. And pastors are seldom afforded the dispassionate response of a licensed therapist; while no one expects the woman who charges you $250 for 40 minutes and not a minute over to “really care about me” the unpaid pastor must.

I do not shy away from criticizing hurtful theology or arrogant presumptions of spiritual superiority or theocratic impulses or dogmatism or cruelty or abuse of power or many many other failings that can find home in religion.

I have little pity for Bishops or denominational leaders. Theology professors must earn my respect. And religious activists, for the most part, are a scourge on society and an insult to decent people of all faiths and none.

But small town pastors uncomplainingly do work that most other people would not stoop to, and usually couldn’t even if they were willing. You may see jerks like this one – they make the news – but don’t foolishly assume that he is representative of pastors.

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