November 5th, 2006
A prominent conservative pastor, seen on television and followed by millions, falls from grace in a sordid sex scandal. The accusations are first met with strong and angry denials, but these denials crumble as more evidence is revealed. His wife is visibly shocked; his children are left to suffer their grief in the glare of the spotlight while wondering how they will face school the next day. Church members are bewildered, although some are convinced that it’s all part of a nefarious plot. Meanwhile, fellow pastors and church leaders promise to pray for him and to stand by his side as he undergoes a long road to rehabilitation.
Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and now Ted Haggard. There is a familiar ring to all of this, and if there is any truth to the notion that history repeats itself, talk of rehabilitation for Ted Haggard is just that: talk. Already we can see that the long knives are out for him.
Steven Bennett was the first to exploit the scandal with a cynically crass act of self-promotion. In his press release of Friday morning, he took the time to get the name of his tiny little church out in the press (and to mention that he’s writing a book and is available for media interviews). He claims that before he found God, he dated two male prostitutes and was a cocaine dealer. And he contradicts himself several times over in his reaction to the scandal:
“If these allegations are true about Rev. Haggard – America’s Top Evangelical Christian – I am completely disgusted and dismayed. After being in major Christian circles for many years, the hypocrisy that I have found and personally seen in main stream Christianity is unfortunate and heartbreaking.
“I understand Rev. Haggard is innocent until proven guilty. However, seeing the reports that I have – along with millions of other Americans – this is a time we need to pray. The Bible says, ‘Judgment begins in the house of God’,” said Bennett. …
“The more and more hypocrisy I see each day, the more I realize next Tuesday we are going to get EXACTLY what we deserve. Yet I must NEVER forget where I came from and always remember ‘But for the grace of God, there go I.'”
What an act of shameless self-promotion. Haggard’s innocent until proven guilty, so I call on everyone to judge and condemn him. I am disgusted and we are getting exactly what we deserve, “but for the grace of God go I.” And don’t forget the name of my church, and I’m writing a book and I am available for media requests. Here’s my contact info…
Others see Haggard’s fall as an explanation for his very few “moderate” stances. Christianity Today points out:
Haggard is a loyal member of the Religious Right who dials in for a White House conference call every Monday. Yet he embraces ecological concerns and says the Supreme Court made a good decision in the Lawrence v. Texas case, ordering the government out of the private lives of homosexuals.
These very modest deviations from the hard-right’s stance are now seen as an infection that must be exercised. Bob Schenck is in charge of the rival Evangelical-dominated National Clergy Council, a rival to Haggard’s National Association of Evangelicalsm, and he isn’t shy about calling his competition out:
The moral failure of recently resigned president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Rev. Ted Haggard, may explain in part the leftward drift of the organization over the last several years. It has been a mystery to many of us who watched this venerable institution shake lose of its once secure foundation and slide onto the shifting sands of political correctness, postmodern jargon and social trends.
I recommend NAE leadership call all of us who label ourselves Evangelicals to a time of humble repentance, contrition and seeking the Lord and His will. Instead of concerning ourselves with what rock superstar Bono thinks we ought to do, let’s instead inquire of the Lord and His Word.
Of course, that’s it. Haggard’s queer. That’s why he is concerned about the environment and doesn’t think Lawrence vs. Texas was such a bad thing — even though he strongly condemned homosexuality from the pulpit many times and was a vocal advocate for constitutional bans on gay marriage.
In Scriptures, we are constantly reminded of the need to forgive our neighbors. This commandment is not conditional; we are called to forgive whether our forgiveness is asked for or not. But Scripture is also clear on something else: when someone asks for forgiveness, the response isn’t just acceptance, but celebration. The prodigal son is rewarded with a banquet of the fatted calf; the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
But that reaction is not very likely here. It doesn’t matter what course of action Haggard follows from this point forward. Rehabilitation is likely to remain elusive. In the heavens created by conservative Christian politics, he will always be last from now on.
Ted Haggard: “I’m Not Gay”
The Megachurch, Mike Jones, and the Suspension of Disbelief
“There Is A Part Of My Life So Repulsive and Dark…”
Blessed Are The Opportunists
Haggard Resigns; “I Know What You Did Last Night”
Prayers and Assistance for the Haggard Family
I Did Not Have Sex With That Man!
Jones “Fails” Lie Detector?
Fall of the House of Haggard
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
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