Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hypocrisy Exposed

By now, nearly everyone has heard of the downfall of Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church, a megachurch with 14,000 members in Colorado Springs. On November 2nd, Mike Jones, a male prostitute, publicly outed Haggard, telling the media that the pastor, using the pseudonym "Art", had come to him regularly to engage in gay sex for the last three years. Jones backed up his allegations with voice-mail tapes of "Art" calling to tell Jones to get some meth which he'd told Jones made sex so much better, and a Xerox of an envelope in which "Art" had mailed cash from Colorado Springs.

It wasn't until recently, however, when Jones happened to see Haggard on TV, that he realized who "Art" really was. Art was Ted Haggard, who, as pastor of the New Life megachurch and the President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was an influential opponent of same-sex marriage and gay rights in general. With a marriage amendment and domestic partnership referendum on the upcoming Colorado ballot, Jones decided to speak up and expose Haggard's rampant hypocrisy. "Here Pastor Ted and his wife were able to enjoy the benefits of marriage but would deny it to two consenting adults," Jones said. "I have cried because of Haggard's family," Jones added. "But he was the one who came to me. People need to keep that in perspective. I could have ruined a lot of lives, but there was a reason for this one. He touched a lot of people's lives."

Haggard first denied knowing Jones, and later only admitted to going to Jones for a massage and insisting he'd only been "curious" about the meth and had not actually used it.

After the story was made public, New Life Church fired Haggard, with him quickly writing a letter of apology to the church. The letter said, in part, that he was "guilty of sexual immorality," and, "I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life."

His "sin" isn't being homosexual -- there's nothing necessarily "repulsive", "dark", or "immoral" about it. Rather his sin is hypocrisy; saying one thing and doing another. His hypocrisy is made more serious by the fact that his influence was so great over millions of people. And that he lied to himself by trying to deny who and what he was all these years is as much of a tragedy as his deception and lies to others. By not accepting himself as he was, Haggard's entire life has been a lie.

And the sad thing is, he'll never see this core truth. Haggard is now being counseled by other pastors, in a process called "restoration", which I'm sure will not be intended to help him accept his sexual orientation, but, rather, to learn how to repress it more effectively, which will condemn him to continue "warring with himself".


No comments: