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Preaching the art of transformation

RICK HOGANS ran away from home when he was a kid, boarded a freight train, was caught by the police chief and when asked why, he replied, ?God told me, go now!?

india Updated: Apr 23, 2006 00:00 IST

RICK HOGANS ran away from home when he was a kid, boarded a freight train, was caught by the police chief and when asked why, he replied, “God told me, go now!”

Since, he has been among gangsters, drug addicts, women bashers, gays and sex workers for most of his life.

He has travelled to several jails across the US, met several hardened criminals and ‘never’ been frightened.

He started preaching when he was nine-years-old, adopted a father-less kid of a sex worker in Mexico some years later, challenged a judge in the US that he would be able to transform a drug addict sans the punishment that the law demanded, got the addict home, and did much to the surprise of the judge who exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

He spent $ 8000 while standing for elections to the US Congress in 1996, finished third, was supported by the American Hindu Association much to everyone’s surprise, made friends with his political opponents whose political managers told him that he was a better candidate. The man who won the election against him is presently the Governor of Alabama, in whose palatial gubernatorial residence he now holds ‘Bible studies’.

He took up social work, left it because he found the paper work too boring, became a History teacher in Alabama High School with a predominantly ‘black’ population before taking to preaching in between a brief go at politics.

Rick Hogans, president and founder of HE (Harvest Evangelism) in Auburn, Alabama, arrived in the city to preach and learnt that he had a ‘lot of learning’ to do himself, for the US has a history of 300 odd years and that of India, roughly about 5000 years. Yet, he is a proud American to the core.

The man, who has only just learnt to say ‘bas’ (enough) when his tummy conveys that it had enough of the mouth watering Indian food that his hospitable Indian hosts serve him lovingly, is surely an enigma.

He now runs separate homes for men and women drug addicts, gangsters in US, wants to open a branch in India and claims to have transformed the lives of about 500-odd hardened criminals and drug addicts.

“But, I am not claiming to have Godly qualities. I am not saying that my touch can heal,” he explains when asked how does he describe the sudden mushrooming of preachers all over the globe.

“There are phony preachers, shady preachers, moneyed preachers. But, then there are some genuine ones as well,” says Rick, also the associate pastor, Times Square Church, New York City, adding that of the 10 odd people who help him run HE, one of them is a former alcoholic. “I guess, I was always meant to be a preacher,” he adds. But, what made him dabble in politics? “A desire to reform the politicians. They call themselves public servants. But, they are raping the people” he says.

The failed politician is now a preacher.

First Published: Apr 23, 2006 00:00 IST