A Facebook friend of mine, Darin Brown, sent me this link to an article by ABC News about Ted Haggard’s entrance back into the public eye after his scandal of down-low drugs and gay sex behind his family’s, congregation’s and all the rest of the evangelical world listening to his direction as President of the National Association of Evangelical’s back. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Darin wanted to know my take, so here you go…
It’s a well written article about the sad and pitiful life that has become Ted Haggard, Mike Jones (the man who ‘outed’ Haggard) and the surrounding cast of characters that have been caught woven this web (mainly his family). In the beginning of the article Haggard “blames his father” for everything that has happened to him in the past couple of years—his father started sexually molesting him at 7 years old. These are confusing times in a confusing life in a confusing world, and in reading that revelation it’s hard for me to critique Haggard’s life and experiences because they are a legitimate expression of what has happened to him in his past.
We all have to remember that no child—no person—should ever be molested, raped or be sexually, physically or mentally abused! Therefore I have no judgment for what such a situation psychologically does to a human’s psyche, and how that affects them moving forward. I’m just going to go off of what I know about him—you can read the article and make those other conclusions for yourself.
But I do know this much—sexual abuse does not mean someone will be gay or lesbian. I spent a section in my book about this topic because I feel it’s an easy way for the Christian community to copout against entering into a place of tension with the GLBT community without knowing the answers to the “why questions” for God. Sexual abuse is not normal—gay or straight. Research shows that there is an average of about 5-7% of the GLBT community who admitted to have been sexually abused as a child. Now, Ted Haggard could definitely have had his same-sex attractions come as a result of his father’s abuse, but far be it for any of us—or him—to so easily state that as fact. I question Haggard’s statement because three weeks after the scandal hit the press he made a public statement saying he is “completely heterosexual.” If it were that easy for him, why didn’t he do it earlier by stopping the paid-gay sex before it tarnished him and embarrassed his wife and kids? And if it were that easy for him, why in this ABC News article does he say that he “continues to struggle with same-sex attraction”?
Saying after three weeks that he is “completely heterosexual” is a spit in the face to all the true, honest and committed people in this world who faithfully work to overcome their same-sex attractions. Just the same, that statement is just a much of a spit in the face to all of the true, honest and committed people in this world who have faithfully tried “reorientation therapy”, but are now faithful and committed gay Christians.
And if all along Ted Haggard had a same-sex attraction, don’t you dare stand up at the pulpit of a 12,000 person church and as the President of a 30 million person strong National Association of Evangelicals and say on the record:
"We don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It's written in the Bible." Then Haggard looks into the camera and says kiddingly: "I think I know what you did last night," drawing laughs from the crowd. "If you send me a thousand dollars, I won't tell your wife." Later, another joke for the cameraman: "If you use any of this, I'll sue you."
None of that is funny Mr. Haggard, especially since at that exact time you were cheating on your wife with a male prostitute and taking crystal-meth.
HBO will be airing a documentary of Haggard on January 29, and coincidentally enough, the director of the documentary is none other than the daughter (Alexandra Pelosi) of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. That is a strange clash of worlds in-and-of-itself because it is the same Nancy Pelosi who’s constituency is in San Francisco—and there are a number of conservative Christian organizations (the same Christian organizations who Haggard once represented) that constantly bash Nancy Pelosi for her continuing endorsement of the San Francisco Folsom Street Fair. I find it very strange that Haggard would pick the daughter of the person who endorses what Haggard’s target audience thinks is a depraved abomination.
This makes me wonder a few things:
-Does he think he’ll get more of a fair shake on screen about his past if it comes from a very liberal director whose mom is political public allies with the GLBT community?
-And whether that is true or not, the surrounding evidence still leads me to question Haggard’s motives for making this documentary—just to get back into the public eye or is he really making a true plea for redemption?
My thought is that if he were really making a true plea for redemption to the broader Christian community, he would do so with his target audience (conservative Christians) in mind—and there are no lack of conservative Christian documentary directors.
I don’t claim to know Ted Haggard. Maybe one day I’ll have the stomach to watch his documentary—not on January 29th though. I know too many spouses and children who are indelibly affected by parents who are “found out” after the fact—and it makes me sick to think of the people who willfully caused that pain.
And the one thing I keep thinking—his poor wife and kids—how embarrassing and tragic for them. And they couldn’t do a darn thing about it.
I hope the best for Ted Haggard and his family. I also hope that he would just tone down the public rhetoric of his now all-of-a-sudden “having a message of redemption for a lot of people struggling with sexual issues” and peacefully and quietly seek God with all he has from a far distance away from any TV or documentary cameras.