“Christians are taught — and many believe — that thanks to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit they are a moral beacon for society. The writer of Matthew told his audience, ‘You are the light of the world.’ That’s a high bar, and yet decent believers (along with many other decent people) try earnestly to meet it. But the added pressure on those who call themselves the ‘righteous’ means that believers also are prone to hiding, pretending, posing, and turning a blind eye to their own very human, very normal faults and flaws.
“People who desperately want to be sanctified and righteous, ‘cleansed by the blood of the lamb’ — who need to believe that they now merit heaven but that other people’s smallest transgressions merit eternal torture — have a lot of motivation to engage in (more…)
Dear Ted: Lots of people are sexually abused as children, and don’t grow up to be lying, cheating, hypocritical closet cases. (Although we will admit there seems to be an unusually high frequency among religious leaders.) P.S. We would have had more respect for you if you’d blamed your “downfall” on the Christ-Was-I-Drunk Syndrome. (more…)
Ted Haggard — who now, of course, is completely heterosexual — will be starring in a one-hour special “reality” show (and, in Haggard World, we use the word “reality” loosely) on TLC January 16th: “Ted Haggard: Scandalous.” Details: CNN
Claims to fame: Superstar pastor of extreme right-wing 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs; ex-president of the National Association of Evangelicals; anti-gay crusader; “staunch Republican”; liar; hypocrite; down-low closet bisexual adulterer; meth user…
Moral apex: In November, 2006, his “masseur” (gay callboy), one Mike Jones, went public with the story that he’d been having sex with Haggard (who reportedly also asked Jones to score him some meth).
Notable details: In a review of Mike Jones’ inevitable tell-all book, I Had to Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard’s Fall, The Advocate noted: “Once meth became a regular part of Haggard’s appointments, he began to build his own collection of sex toys and videos, which he carried with him in a small black canvas bag. He would often begin the session with a dramatic reveal of his latest purchases and ask how to use them. Soon, he was asking Jones to arrange orgies.”
Punch line: “Haggard sought a spiritual connection with Jones as well.”
What happened next: Haggard, of course, denied everything. Then he admitted “some” of the allegations were true. Then he resigned from his megachurch, and agreed to undergo “ex-gay” counseling. Last we heard, he was begging any supporters he had left for money while he went back to school, and he and his family moved into a Phoenix “faith-based” halfway house (for, we assume, disgraced Christofascists who’d gone bankrupt) — run by a convicted sex offender.
Why he’s not all bad: Haggard broke from the right-wing pack and actually praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Lawrence v. Texas (the Texas sodomy law that effectively invalidated all state sodomy laws in 2003): “I believe the church has to teach against immorality, but I don’t believe it’s the role of the state to spend money to find out what consenting adults do in their bedrooms and then haul them off to jail.”
Of course, now we know why he didn’t want anybody to “find out what consenting adults do in their bedrooms.”
Come ye, O Light in the Loafer. Come ye, O Friend of Dorothy. Ye conservative homosexuals who looked to the Democrats and were rebuked by their lurid liberal election gains. Ye right-thinking rump-rangers who looked to the Republicans, only to be scorned as left-leaning “queers.” Ye passing-for-straight poofs who turned in despair to the preacher Ted Haggard, only to see him rebuked and scorned by anybody of any political faith. Come and be healed of your deep-I say DEEP-pain.
Ted Haggard is dying for your sins. Pastor Ted-founder of the 14,000-member New Life mega-church in Colorado and leader of the 30,000,000-member National Association of Evangelicals-has been exposed as a sin-soaked sodomite. He cowers in his nakedness, revealed and reviled in the wanton glare of heterosexual media.
Once, Pastor Ted had a plan. His plan was to promote Colorado’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. That would allow him to keep paying good collection-plate money to a male prostitute, lie to his wife and five children, and go on monthly drug-snorting and fudge-packing binges. Pastor Ted thought he was on the Down-Low. He thought, “With my position as pastor and evangelical leader, I-a Caucasian-am setting new Down-Low standards for all races to follow.”
Now, Pastor Ted is going to hell. Why? Because he is a homosexual? Because he lied? NO! Because Pastor Ted did not truly accept the Down-Low into his heart as his personal Savior. …— Susie Day
Ted Haggard & the Church of The Down-Low
Gay City News
November 16, 2006
…[W]hat strikes me in the aftermath is not just the hypocrisy of Pastor Ted. I keep flashing back onto this sentence in his confession: “There is part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life.” Haggard was not referring to marital infidelity or drugs, but to his gayness.
Haggard seemed like a kinder, gentler and greener evangelical than many on the religious right. Yet he once equated Gay Pride Day with Murderer’s Pride Day and looked to the Bible for the last word in science as well as religion. This was not just a man split between his walk and his talk. This was a man repulsed by himself. …
I suspect that Haggard’s idea of “spiritual restoration” is the restoration of the closet. “From time to time,” he wrote, “the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface.” If anything he seems to want more tools to fight the “dirt. ” This charismatic man may well reappear, “cured,” as a poster boy for the ex-gay movement enlisted to preach “hope” for the homosexual.
But those whose families and workplaces and neighborhoods include openly gay men and women will always see this lost soul as a poster boy for the real damage caused by the old-time ministry of self-hate.— Ellen Goodman
Gimme that old-time religion… of self-hate
November 18, 2006
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Haggard:
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
— Romans 12:3