Monday, November 06, 2006

Finally, he admits it!

Haggard admits to having had gay sex.

The striking line in his admission are these words, "There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life."

And warring against the rest of us is one of the ways in which he justified his own sexuality. Time and again we see those who wage the greatest fights against all things gay because deep down they have cannot reconcile their own homosexuality. We see it when a kid beats another kid with a baseball bat or ties one to a fence to die. We see it in our politicians and now, once again, in religious leaders.

Just think how much greater the acceptance of gay and lesbians could be if these same kids, politicians, and religious leaders spent their energies reaching out to us with openness, warmth, and acceptance. Perhaps we'd live in a country where all relationships are honored and where men did not spend their time cruising for sex with hustlers. Instead they could date, court, and be encouraged to make their relationships work in the same way politicians and religious leaders care for the relationships of heterosexuals.

The next time we hear from a religious person or anyone else rant against the evils of homosexuality, let us first ask ourselves, "I wonder why he is so concerned about it? Maybe he is warring against something inside himself."

Honestly, with what has happened with Haggard really makes me wonder what Fred Phelps' motivation is against all things gay. Phelps, as you know, heads up the God Hates Fags campaign.


Todd said...

I do hope we can find a way to be more charitable. You make a point I have often wondered about those who choose a particular issue on which to camp and harangue others. Generally it is assumed those who do not preach on certain social issues avoid such because of their personal positions. However, in this case you may have addressed the issue at another level. Maybe it is more an internal matter regarding those issues as well.

Bo said...

Yes, you are right and you do make a good point. Charity does need to exist and be shown. Amid my response to what Haggard has done, I do feel his situation highlights an important discussion that needs to occur.

It is indeed interesting how an internalized homophobia can turn us into very complicated creatures. I used to feel the same way and understand the duality of a religious self presentation. Haggard must be feeling huge amounts of emotional and spiritual stress. And our prayers for healing need to be with him and his family.

While I do feel compassion on him, he also angers me. Not only am I angry at his antigay positions and mobilization techniques to support the anti-gay marriage amendment in Colorado, but that he represents 30 million other evangelicals who hold onto the same position in which most all states with the exception of 2 and possibly 2 more, are against supporting a way of life that would be demonstratedly better for gay men and women.

And now that he has been caught doing the very thing he rallied against, I am also frustrated with all of his denials throughout the past week. First, he denied the allegations altogether, and then he denied knowing the hustler. Then he denied having sex with him and denied that he took any of the drugs he bought. And only when the hustler was able to prove some of his claims did he own up to those allegations that could be proven while disregarding the rest until now. All in all, his actions have made me wonder about his level of overall integrity.

To illustrate my point, I know countless heterosexual men and women who have demonstrated a far greater grace in their response to and even their position against gay marriage. I know several pastors (and you are one of them) whose position for heterosexual relationships is clear and yet, carry themselves with love and integrity. If Haggard had been like you, you would read a far more compassionate response from me. And, probably even one of pity. But Haggard has not been like you.

But you know what? Remember Mel White? He was the ghost writer for Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell with their "autobiographies". He too was outed and I too was frustrated and angry with him. But then he goes and founds Soulforce ( and has totally shown a remarkable level of repentance and stalwart dedication to God. I don't know a gay man or woman who has not only forgiven him but praised his faithfulness for his continued work against spiritual violence.

Who know, Ted might surprise us all. And when he does, I'll be there to cheer him on. Until then, I and many others will wait until he at least says something to those of us he's demonized as a result of his own internalized homophobia.

Todd said...

Rather than seek understanding, we seek justification. That is, those who sound the trumpet against their social ill of choice tend to understand less about the matter preferring to find support to justify their position. The evidence is overwhelming. Then in face of relationships with those who differ we are confronted with our own lack of engagement with the issue determining instead to vilify and dismiss the person. Doing so we exert great violence on the understanding of what it means to be made in the image of God. For some reason we feel contempt for persons the prerogative given by the Divine. We miss the point and assume the same position toward human beings as those we accuse of demeaning life.

I agree time will tell just what is going on with Mr. Haggard and his internal wrestlings. Seeing his team of "spiritual counselors and advisers", I suspect he will find it very difficult to achieve what you describe in your post and so may forever face the internal battle. What he does publicly with that will mark the extent to which he has grasped his own personhood.

In the end I have found the call to pray for he and his family the best I can offer.