In a move surprising absolutely no one, Arkansas Republicans are supporting Justin Harris, the Republican lawmaker who thought his adopted daughters were possessed by demons and who gave them to a pedophile who raped one of the girls.
Secretary of State Mark Martin says Harris “humble and gentle,” his critics “hypocritically self-righteous”
The reader, who asked to remain anonymous, told me she does not know Martin and has never personally interacted with him in the past, but when a mutual Facebook friend posted the Arkansas Times story, she (the reader) became drawn into a back-and-forth with the Secretary of State.
She said she thinks Harris should resign and criticized him for his “self-pity” and refusal to accept blame. But, she also said (like many others who have responded to this story) that she has little faith in DHS and can believe their account may not be the whole truth.
Enter Martin. He replied to the reader’s comment, saying she was “making a judgement based upon misinformation by a vile socialist anti-Christian propaganda blog about one of the most righteous seeming, humble, and gentle men I have ever met in my life.”
The reader agreed that “my personal experience with our state’s media has been pretty bad” and acknowledged that “We all make HUGE mistakes (sins?) … I have and you have and everyone on this board has. The problem here is you have a man who admittedly did something that, for many, is inexcusable….but yet he is still making excuses and trying to justify his behavior.”
She pointed out that the central fact in the case is no longer in dispute: The Harrises did, indeed, send their adopted daughters away to live with another family: “My judgment is based on one fact…he GAVE AWAY CHILDREN LIKE THEY WERE ANIMALS HE PICKED UP AT THE SHELTER.”
Martin was not pleased. “Unless you have adopted a child and experienced what adoptive parents go through, I think there is very little you have a right to say. This judgement against the Harris’ [sic] is the most hypocritically self-righteous bull I have ever heard,” he responded.
“People like you are what makes people refuse to risk fostering or adopting. I believe it is people like you who are the problem. Not people who try and fail like the Harris’ [sic].”
After an increasingly heated exchange, he ended with a sarcastic remark: “You gots me. I am so dumb. You so smart. I sorry.” I recommend you read the whole exchange, below.
Republican David Meeks also joined in on his Facebook page:
I know this might anger some people, but I don’t throw someone I consider a friend under the bus. Yes, I am speaking of Rep Harris. He is someone I have gotten to know and has built up credibility with me. The tabloid that is doing most of the reporting on this has no credibility with me whatsoever. The experience that I have had with this tabloid is that they are out to destroy Conservatives, Christians and are willing to spin, lie, or make up stuff to do it.
Could any of the reporting by this tabloid be true? Of course. Is any of what Rep Harris saying the truth? Most definitely.
What should the focus be? Improving and strengthening our foster care system.
I can’t stress this enough: We have some great workers in our DCFS who do a thankless job of protecting our children and making some very tough decisions. They are to be commended.
I know that a lot of people (including myself) that have had a good experience with our foster care system. We know there are areas we can improve on and I can assure you those are being looked at. In fact, we have legislation that is taking on some of it, and the Governor has asked for a review of our adoption rules.
My worst fear is that this whole thing will discourage people from being foster care or adoptive parents and the children will be the ones to suffer.
Please pray for our DCFS (Department of Children and Families) workers, and our judges.
Please pray for our foster care and adoptive families and for God to lay it on the heart of people to open their homes.
Please pray for our Governor and the Legislators as we make important decisions.
And most importantly, pray for our children.
Meanwhile, the AR Democratic Party is calling for Harris to resign:
“As a parent and grandparent, like many Arkansans, I am shocked to learn of Rep. Justin Harris’s egregious action of placing two girls he adopted through DHS directly into harm’s way by sending them to stay with another family without approval from the adoption agency. This action directly lead to the rape of the six-year-old girl who Rep. Harris is responsible for and even received government funding to care for through the foster care system.
There are also other issues that need to be raised here. First, the children. The idea that someone could use the foster care system to treat their adopted children like basketballs, tossing them from family to family is horrible. Then, you have an elected leader who represents an antigovernment agenda; yet, he makes his living off of government funding. This is hypocrisy at its highest level.
This is a continuation of an alarming pattern that continues with several Arkansas legislators. We believe that if Arkansas families were aware of this; they would be as appalled as well. While his resignation certainly would not change these atrocities, Justin Harris has proven that he is not fit to hold the responsibility of writing our laws, and we hope that Gov. Hutchinson and Speaker Gillam will agree that Harris’s resignation is necessary.
Rep. Greg Leding has filed legislation which would make this practice of rehoming adopted children a felony, and we urge the legislature to pass this legislation in order to protect our most vulnerable citizens - our children in foster care.”
More: Democratic Party Calls for Justin Harris Resignation