Friday, November 03, 2006

Let That Be a Lesson, Ted Haggard

BUFFY: I told one lie; I had one drink.
GILES: Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words, 'let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture. (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Ted Haggard, powerful evangelical, anti-gay religious figure is accused of hiring a man for sex and using drugs. Initial reports suggest that there is at least some truth to the allegations.

The accusation is that he had an on-going homosexual affair that involved drug use for three years. Did he do it? I wouldn't care, except...

Pastor Haggard is part of the Right Wing that has so much influence on the politics of the day, and he has been instrumental in trying to block marriage equality for same-gender loving people. If he has been engaging in same-sex activity while trying to hurt the cause of same-gender loving people who want equal rights in society - well, one sees easily enough how such hypocrisy is problematic.

Here is my hope: First, I wish healing for his family that is undoubtedly hurt by the public accusations of impropriety. Secondly, I hope that the scandal does not sour people on religion in general (though I always hope that people discover that religion need not be homophobic!). Finally, my hope is that something good comes out of all this. Maybe someone as influential as Haggard, whether he is guilty or not, will realize how hurtful it is to be targeted, labeled, and accused because of sexuality. If he and his friends and followers learn from this to not target, label, and accuse same-gender loving people and if they will cease to marginalize gay and lesbian people, then something healthy will be the result of all this.

I'm not judging Pastor Haggard for what he does in his bedroom, but I am appalled by the ways he has tried to keep gay people disenfranchised. Now that he has experienced a small taste of being accused and condemned because of what people think he does in private, perhaps his ministry will have more room for grace and tolerance. We can all pray.

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