For several years, Micahn Carter and his wife ran the Together Church in Yakima, Washington. They grew the congregation, made people feel welcome, and according to Mary Jones, who worked there for seven years as an assistant to Carter, the “community of family” at the church “saved my life.”
But that changed for Jones when Carter began making sexual advances. He told her he had “dreams” about her. She said he began “grabbing my backside sexually.” And then in April of 2019, Jones says she was raped by Carter.
… on April 29th, 2019, during a leadership event right before leaving for dinner, my pastor raped me in my office while most of our staff, teams and my family stood just outside the door.
He attempted to grab me before the event started, more aggressively than the previous time, and I felt like my feet were frozen still. No conversation led up to it. We were talking about what glasses I was going to buy for pete’s sake. What was happening didn’t make sense to me and my “please stop” whispers didn’t throw him off in the slightest. When he stopped, I remember feeling sick and knowing I had to quit. I felt heartbroken for the father relationship I had lost, I felt angry, and confused. I wondered if I truly had a spirit of sexuality on me and if I would ever get it off. During the event, he hugged me and apologized and asked if I was going to act weird around him…
Because she didn’t want to interfere with his career or family life, she didn’t go public with her story. Four days after that attack, however, Carter told the church he was stepping down because he had had “an affair.”
Later that year, Carter joined the staff of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s Alabama’s largest church, by membership, with over 20 campuses across the state. Yet the congregation was never told about what led his family to move across the country. In fact, in mid-2020, when he gave his first sermon in front of the megachurch, Pastor Chris Hodges introduced him with absolutely no reference to the sexual assault or (as Carter called it) the “affair”:
“Today, you’re going to get to hear from one of our staff members, who’s actually been on our team for more than 13 months,” Hodges said. “He’s pastored previously, and about a year ago he and his family moved to Birmingham to be a part of our staff. I tell you, I love this family so much. Right when they got here, they really experienced a setback. His wife, April, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s been in treatment. I’ve watched this couple give glory to God in good times and in bad. By the way, April is in remission, to God be the glory, everybody. She’s right here. We’re excited about that. I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to let him speak to you. I’m a teacher. You’re getting ready to hear a preacher.”
There’s only one way that’s forgivable: If Hodges had no clue about Carter’s past.
But that’s not the case. After Mary Jones’ post went viral over the past week, Church of the Highlands announced that Carter had resigned. But just look at how they explained his hiring in a statement published by Greg Garrison at Al.com:
“In 2019, Micahn Carter’s Pastoral Overseers from Washington state asked Church of the Highlands to assist them in directing a ministerial restoration process for him,” the statement said. “Highlands agreed to do so, and since then we have been working with Micahn and his family. Recently, Highlands received correspondence raising new allegations about events that occurred over two years ago in Washington state. When we shared this information with the Carters, they resigned from their positions on staff to work through these issues themselves. Highlands is no longer involved in the restoration process.”
The full statement sent to church staffers added: “We are not asking you to do anything with this information, we just wanted to make you aware.”
So they knew something he did at his previous church required restoration, though they didn’t say anything about it to the congregation. Did they know everything? Maybe not, but there’s no way to offer restoration without at least some inkling about the details.
They allowed Carter to work at the church for two years, presumably in contact with women, without telling anyone what the issues were.
And even now, they’re not explaining any details about why Carter resigned. There’s no mention of Jones, no mention of a rape allegation, no mention of anything that could be useful for church members to know. For all they know, he’s struggling with some addiction and needs time to recover.
Hodges, the pastor who introduced Carter in that video above, made headlines himself in 2020 after he “liked” a bunch of racist and conspiratorial posts on social media. Just last week, he announced a $20 million donation from the evangelical Green family — they’re the Hobby Lobby founders who are behind all the criminal activity at the Museum of the Bible — for two dorms at a college run by the church.
Basically, everyone connected with this church is garbage. It’s run and funded by a bunch of men who refuse to take any responsibility for anything. And because of the refusal of Hodges and his staff to explain what Carter did in any meaningful way, it’s quite possible Carter will land at another church just as he did in Alabama.
And while the church’s Facebook page has no mention of Carter’s actions or resignation, it still has up this post from May highlighting Carter with the words “Wounds don’t make you weak. They make you a warrior.”
There’s no discussion on their page about how Carter is the cause of so many wounds.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)