A Montana pastor charged with setting up fake companies to steal the life savings of $150,000 from a member of his congregation, says he is the victim of “religious bigotry” by state officials the Missoulian reports.
Pastor Harris Himes, who is renowned for his attacks on women and gays, is facing several felonies for theft and fraud. Himes and another right-wing pastor who conspired with him in the scam lured the victim to an abandoned building in Mexico that they had claimed was the site of their “investment” and then left him. This looks pretty bad. Presumably when you steal money from a gringo and leave him in the middle of Mexico, you’re hoping he doesn’t make it back state-side to turn you in.
The scam was shut down by Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen and Ravalli County authorities.
Himes, who is from Hamilton filed court documents that said “bias against conservative Christians” rather than his crime, led to charges against him.
He lobbied heavily in the legislature for bills to repeal the ban against discrimination against gays, and also for bills to eliminate Montana’s constitutional right to privacy. During the 2011 legislative session, he even told legislators that he believes gay people should be put to death.
Himes partnered with TEA Party legislators like Bob Wagner and Derek Skees to back outrageous proposals like the birther bill, among others.