Unnatural Selection - The life of a sinner turned into an anti evolution campaigner

The strange redemption of Connie Morris, high school slut turned Kansas State Board of Education anti-evolutionist.
By Justin Kendall

By this summer, Connie Morris had made a name for herself on this side of Kansas.

A member of the Kansas State Board of Education, the conservative Republican from St. Francis -- a town with 1,497 residents in the far northwestern corner of the state, just 20 miles east of the Colorado line -- had publicly written off the theory of evolution in her newsletter as an "age-old fairytale." Newspaper readers here knew her as the main antagonist of Shawnee's Sue Gamble, one of four self-described moderate or liberal state school-board members whose voices of reason were trounced by anti-evolutionary forces and their farcical "trial" involving intelligent design -- which posits a natural world too complex to exist without the influence of a higher power -- this past May in Topeka.

With anti-evolution standards all but guaranteed to be written into the Kansas school curriculum, Morris and other conservative board members will try this fall, her newsletter promises, to "reclaim" sex education. The conservative majority has plans to alter a small but important section of the schools' health standards, adding an "opt-in" provision that would require parents to sign a permission slip before their children would be taught sex ed. (Parents can already opt their children out of such classes.) Morris outlined her stance in a June newsletter to her constituents, calling for "more decorum" in health classes. "Anatomy and physiology used to be part of a rigorous health curriculum, but has long been discarded for a more sex education type of teaching," she wrote.

Morris criticizes society for reveling "too long in the free-sex revolution." And she's well aware that some will call her views prudish.

If she wanted to, though, Morris could teach her own class on free sex.

She has already written the textbook.

Her 208-page tell-all autobiography, From the Darkness: One Woman's Rise to Nobility (available on Amazon.com for as little as $3.09), reveals that she wasn't always so conservative. Before she was Connie Morris, enemy of evolution, she was Connie Littleton, black-haired siren.

Released in February 2002 by Louisiana-based Christian imprint Huntington House Publishers, Morris' memoir details the trials and tribulations she faced before finding salvation.

She frolicked in free love, drowned in drugs and endured domestic violence and sexual abuse before giving herself to Christ. But even Jesus couldn't tame her.

Morris' story isn't unique; chronicles of deliverance from evil are as old as the Bible. It also isn't easy to verify -- Morris has either changed or omitted key names, making it impossible to track down, for example, the Kentucky politician she claimed to have had an affair with before he won statewide office in the mid-1980s.

From the Darkness provides a striking insight into the life of an elected official who has publicly claimed that she is not trying to insert religion into public-school classrooms even as she has vowed that her political career is intended solely "to lead many to Christ, so the population of Heaven will be greater because of me." Such grandiosity pervades Morris' book; even when writing about her life at the depth of depravity, she never tires of reminding readers that she's pretty.

The youngest of three children, Connie Littleton was born in 1961 and grew up in a volatile home in Olive Hill, a mostly white town of about 2,000 people in eastern Kentucky. According to her book, her mother and father fought brutally -- her mother threw pictures, skillets and Bibles; her father, a Primitive Baptist preacher, threw fists. Their tumultuous marriage ended in divorce in 1972, and they agreed to divide custody of the children. The mother got Cindy and Connie; the father took Billy.

In 1973, Morris writes, she was a pretty and popular 12-year-old cheerleader who changed boyfriends every few weeks. She would swap spit with her beaus in movie theaters, but she always left them stranded on first base.

In seventh grade, though, Connie went further with "Will," a married man in his 30s who was the son-in-law of her father's new girlfriend. "Will knew I was a virgin, and he seemed to relish the sport of slowly, yet strategically bringing me to succumb to his seduction," she writes. "I was still afraid of intercourse, even though my revolting behavior had easily ascended me to third base and then had me trying to steal for home."

The third-base coach wasn't waving Will in. Family members were becoming suspicious, so Connie ended the fling.

With little parental supervision, Connie and her older sister, Cindy, "began to run the streets like whores," she writes. "Cindy played the ever-wise protector that kept the sex-crazed guys at arm's length.... I was pretty enough, malapert, and profoundly lost inside. I teased the boys but never allowed myself to go 'too far.' That seemed okay."

In 1976, she writes, she fled her stepfather Don Clark's sexual abuse and moved in with her father. Her freshman year, Connie dated the star basketball player, whom she refers to in the book as "Jeff Opner." They were "the hottest couple in school" and moving fast. Jeff bought his 14-year-old squeeze an engagement ring, and they dreamed of "a fairytale wedding." With the prospect of marriage, Connie decided it was time to punch her V-card.

"One winter night, in front of his fireplace (with his parents in the next room!), I gave way to nature and lost my purity," she writes. "We became soul mates as well as playmates."

For two years they played in Connie's father's basement, but their engagement wouldn't survive Jeff's graduation in 1977.

Newly single, Connie moved on to an affair with one of her high school teachers, who was "blonde, blue eyed, muscular ... and married with small children." Their lack of discretion exposed the liaison, and the affair ended abruptly when the man's wife interrupted a rendezvous, banging on the door, screaming his name and leaving Connie hiding in a closet.

Morris also recaps her drug abuse in the late '70s and early '80s, sounding like a washed-up rock star as she recalls dropping acid and snorting "heroine [sic], angel dust, speed and cocaine."

For a year, she spent nearly every night passed out in somebody's van or on a stranger's floor, according to the book. Although she still had plenty of sex, her partying friends were more like brothers and sisters. "Hound-like sexual behavior would have ruined it," she writes. "Several of them were eventually killed in accidents or shot in drunken brawls. I could tell you numerous stories of how close I came to being one of them, dead and spending eternity in Hell."

Connie graduated from high school in 1979. Before the ceremony, she writes, she dropped acid before crossing the stage to receive her diploma.

She met her future husband one night at the police station, where she'd gone to pick up her brother, Billy, after he'd been thrown in jail for driving drunk. Harvey Kissick, she writes, was a drug-addicted machinist. They became lovers and junkies, sharing needles and shooting up mixtures of heroin, cocaine and speed.

With the promise of getting clean together, Connie and Harvey married on May 2, 1981. The groom wore a black Harley-Davidson T-shirt and blue jeans; the bride wore a white blouse with black trim and blue jeans.

Soon Kissick was partying again. Even though Connie was carrying his child, she writes, he started "shoving and hitting" her. Their daughter, Jessica Lou, was born on January 2, 1982.

Five months' pregnant, with a 2-year-old in tow, a weary and hopeless Connie found herself at a church service with her mother. When she kneeled at the altar and begged forgiveness, the Holy Spirit whispered to her, she writes: "How about it? Do you want to live for me?" The answer was yes. But Connie faltered. Later in the evening, she smoked a joint.

"I was sad to have flopped as a Christian so soon, but I just knew that wasn't the end of it," she writes. After Lacy Dawn was born, Kissick supported his family by selling drugs. Their marriage was failing, and Connie was straying. She'd taken cosmetology and reflexology classes and started working in a beauty shop, where she met "Jack B.," a 50-something politician "in the heat of a campaign." A flirty relationship blossomed into "a full-blown affair" after a reflexology house call but ended after Jack won his race and moved to Frankfort, the Kentucky state capital. A short time later, in 1987, Connie and Kissick divorced.

Now 25 and a single mother, Connie was dating again. According to her book, she clicked on her first date with a "short, chubby and balding" gospel musician named "Damion B."

"Every Sunday I went to the altar with a broken heart and begged for strength to quit 'fooling around.' I would emerge with smeared makeup and a swollen face but determined to stay strong ... which lasted until Friday night's date when both our desires started screaming for attention," she writes. "Couldn't an attractive, young mother, alone in her own home late at night, make an exception to the rules of holiness?"

Morris declined the Pitch's requests for an interview. She did not return phone messages, and her e-mail address returns this automatic response:

"Thank you for emailing! Please know that I make a sincere effort to read every correspondence that comes my way, however it has become impossible to personally respond to every contact. I deeply appreciate your support and the valuable information that you may provide. Input from each and every individual is important. PS: The KSBE is NOT seeking to implement Religion in public schools. My hope is to simply encourage criticisms of Evolution -- as the evidence to do so abounds. Be well! -- Connie Morris."

In From the Darkness, Morris seems to have applied a sort of vengeful literary logic, naming alleged abusers Don Clark and Harvey Kissick but protecting the names of other men. Clark died in the early 1990s, and Kissick, who still lives in Olive Hill, has disconnected the only phone number listed under his name.

When contacted by the Pitch, Jeff Oney, identified in Morris' book as Jeff Opner -- one-half of "the hottest couple" at Olive Hill's West Carter High School -- declined to discuss his role in supposedly deflowering Connie Littleton.

pitch.com | News | Unnatural Selection | 2005-08-18 | Printable


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