Among the best kept secrets in the Church of Christ press was the fact that the three elders of the Collinsville Church of Christ handed over to their victim a payment of $400,000 rather than risk another trial in court for evading her civil rights. And with the payment the infamous Collinsville case came to a close.
To defend the right of the elders to pin a scarlet letter on the young mother, Tulsa's leading church, with its national network of contacts with "elderships," raised one million dollars out of church treasuries, almost exclusively without the knowledge of the members. What the elders did was a gross abuse of the private rights of a person guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. In the ensuing legal struggle, with lawyers hired from Nashville to Pepperdine on the West Coast, a total of $900,000 was squandered!
How ironic. That sizeable sum could not be raised to feed the starving in Ethiopia, including church members, but could easily be raised to defend the gross misbehavior of three authoritarian elders! It was an expensive lesson in authoritarianism, but an important one if the church can only heed it. Norman L. Parks,