My Beautiful Wickedness

So is mine, buddy.
January 24, 2009, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, it comes out (ha, no pun intended) that Colorado Springs pastor and friend of Focus on the Family Ted Haggard (aka, Mr. Male Hookers and Blow) has been involved in a longstanding sexual relationship with a male church employee under his supervision. Anyone surprised about this? Anyone? Bueller? It’s sad for his family (who have already been dragged through hell because of Haggard’s inability to come to terms with his own sexuality), sad for him personally (having been so judgmental and yet now in need of mercy from the ideological cudgel he wielded and the groups that he led), and especially sad for the guy who might have been victimized by his boss (hard to know if such a relationship can be truly consensual).

Haggard has now decided that his sexuality is complex and something that can’t be put into “stereotypical boxes.” Hoo, brother. Wouldn’t it be lovely if he had the insight that we’re all complicated and more in need of love than judgment.


11 Comments so far
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Wouldn’t it be lovely if he had the insight that we’re all complicated and more in need of love than judgment.

It seems like it’s always the people who most loudly proclaim their love for Jesus who break themselves on the rocks of the Old Testament’s unmeetable moral demands. They talk about grace but understand only the law; it’s sad.

Comment by John Gruver

Sorry, which unmeetable moral demands are we talking about? The ones Christians impose on Jewish scriptures while ignoring all the messages of love and forgiveness that can be found there? The moral demands of which it is said “it is not required that you complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it”? I would so much like it if Christians and post-Christians would own their own mercilessness and stop ascribing it to others.

Comment by nm

nm, I know this is a touchy point for you, but John is a life-long atheist and doesn’t have a dog in the “Christianity is the superior and transcendent fulfillment/deliverance of prior monotheistic religion systems” fight. I’m guessing he’s making a general point about the difference between what sacred texts and their narrowest interpreters demand (which is morally absolute and leads to huge flame-outs when the leaders cannot meet their own standards) and what humans appear to be capable of (which is more like what you say, a moving nearer with purpose).

Comment by bridgett

I’m profoundly unsurprised by Haggard’s stance…It irritates the hell out of me that he gets Oprah and Larry King to whine on.

If you have a belief system, use it to connect with your higher power as you see it, and never completely trust ministers, priests, rabbis, imams or monks. Keep at least one eye on your own common sense, or you *will* be *****ed over.

Comment by imfunny2

Yeah, it does surprise me that this guy didn’t learn from the other’s mistake and hide it better. (I’m a wee bit cynical about christians these days.)

Comment by patti

John may be a life-long atheist; all the less reason for him to use the language of Christian apologetics to make his point. Just as I wouldn’t expect a life-long anti-racist to tell me that it’s really white of me to behave properly, you know? I’m very sure that John meant no insult. That’s what makes his use of tremendously insulting language all the more inappropriate.

Comment by nm

Ted Haggard is nothing more or less than a sanctimonious hypocrite, hoist on his own petard. If he and his ilk were less about searching for the defects in those they dislike they might notice their own lives were a bit of a mess.

Comment by democommie

Haggard just keeps reminding me the reasons why I don’t give money to televangelists. I just realized I don’t give money to any church. (Don’t get me wrong, I have faith and it’s a private thing for me.)
Ditto to what democommie said.

Comment by newscoma

Ed Brayton has more on this over at “Dispatches from the culture wars”. Seems that the “victim” was paid off by the church, to keep quiet? Oh, no, just to spare HIM being used by other parties.

Comment by democommie

nm–my apologies; I certainly intended no offense (and I’m happy you give me the benefit of the doubt as to my intent), and I’m chagrined that it came off that way.

Lewis Black has a nice bit about his bewilderment at fundamentalist/evangelical Christians never thinking to ask a Jewish person what the Old Testament is about–it being, after all, *their* book. I agree with him; seeing the law as soul-crushing and impossible isn’t a very Jewish view; it’s much more of an interpretation one might make if one wanted to explain the necessity of Jesus as He’s popularly construed in some regions and in some churches. I think the problem with the Haggards and the Falwells and the suchlike of the world (along with many of their followers) is that they forget about the love and forgiveness that their own religion offers–as Jim Bakker’s son often says (and he may be quoting someone else; I don’t get out enough), “The church is the only army that shoots its wounded.” It’s terrible that the thing they believe will save them ends up so often destroying them–it doesn’t have to be that way.

I hope I haven’t created a bigger rift here trying to explain myself–I meant here only to write a little lament for Mr. Haggard and other who find themselves in similar situations, not to disrespect anyone’s religion or their interpretation of it.

Comment by John Gruver

John Gruver:

Well said. I can’t bring myself to forgive folks like Ted Haggard until they admit to their wrongdoing and apologize to those they have wronged in a heartfelt and genuine way.

Comment by democommie

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