Wow...so many things I feel about the mass media exposure of Ted Haggard's "gory details" last night, first on HBO, and then on CNN. It's hard to put this into essay form, so I think I will bullet out the things one by one...
- Ted Haggard is a sinner. I am too. We don't sin the same way, but he's no worse than I am. He's just more exposed.
- Alexandra Pelosi is Ted's (unlikely) friend, and she played on the emotions of sympathy and compassion in her audience last night by emphasizing the way Ted has been shunned by his faith community. The shame here, though, in my estimation, is on the faith community, not Pelosi. To insist that Ted leave the state of Colorado is an abuse of already non-biblical authority. Ted complied, it would seem, to salvage for his family a modicum of hope that they would get back to the life they once knew, or at least some of it.
- The fact that Ted is virtually un-employable outside the church further illustrates the co-dependence that churches and pastors have on each other, and begs questions like - "What other secrets are being systematically covered up in congregations all over the world?" or "How many church leaders are struggling with unmentionable sin or hypocrisy, lying about it, and being eaten alive from the inside out - having their families destroyed in the process - out of fear of exposure and the subsequent feeding frenzy of cannibal 'Christians'?"
- Gayle Haggard doesn't have much else to lose, and stands to gain a lot if things are handled well, but make no mistake - she is faithful and supportive, and walks out her marriage vows in a remarkable way.
- Ted's pointing to childhood "gay sex play" as the reason for his homosexual urges today won't help gays gain acceptance, or even tolerance, in the evangelical church. It will just add fuel to the "pray it out of 'em" mentality.
- I for one believe Ted when he said he bought meth and then didn't use it. It takes a certain amount of guts for an otherwise clean-cut white-bread Christian man to take a drug like meth. I imagine he chickened out on that one. He admitted that he bought it, so he's not trying to hide from the authorities on that count. I'm just saying I believe it.
- Ted is from Yorktown, Indiana (very close to my hometown of Anderson). My Dad told me he thought that was true when we were back there for the holidays, and I just confirmed it on Wikipedia. His dad was a veterinarian who cast out demons on the side. True story.
That's all for now. I am following this story very closely, and may have something more coherent to say soon. Stay tuned.