Southern Religion

Heterosexual Ted Haggard’s ‘comeback’ with issues


Completely heterosexual Ted’s prayer-meeting comeback last week was a cause of discomfort right and left.

Haggard’s prayer meeting was planned to scale. He told The Denver they’d move to the barn (apparently didn’t have to) for a big turnout, and compared himself to Biblical figures:

“Most of the primary characters of the Bible had horrible, horrible incidents in their lives. David misused his power to murder people. He was an adulterer. And he was still a man after God’s own heart,” Haggard said.

Haggard said he never turned away from God. He said America loves a scandal, but they love a comeback even more — and that’s what he’s hoping for.

His has attracted attention from the left, where Alex Seitz-Wald has accused Haggard of lying about his pre-scandal tolerance for homosexuality. The argument is carefully made.

From the right Haggard is sometimes seen as a victim of the homosexual agenda [definitions vary] because of his fall and subsequent calls for changes in conservative Christian thought about sexuality:

… the whole issue of what attracts a person to porn, or what attracts a person to this girl or that girl, or girls and boys, or boys, or why does somebody say, “This is a pretty hairstyle” and another one thinks it’s ugly? I think THAT research is going to go on over the next 25-50 years. And I think that research has the potential of embarrassing the church as much as the earth being round did. I think that brain research is going to make the church look bad unless we update our position on how to deal with sexuality.

Haggard’s change of heart apparently did precede public exposure. Before revelations about his relationship with a male prostitute, Haggard is reported by The Jewish Week to have told Traditional Values Coalition founder and chairman Louis Sheldon that homosexuality is “genetic” in origin.

Haggard’s expressed changes include embrace of civil, same-sex unions. He said:

But actually behind the scenes, and there are lots of people that can give evidence to this, I was working for protection of rights for homosexuals. So where I fell on that politically is, I believe that the definition of marriage is a man and a woman. I believe marriage means living as a man and a wife. But I do not believe that should translate into legal privileges for heterosexual couples that are denied homosexual couples.

Haggard’s abuse of power concerns some of us a great deal more than the politics. Nothing about his comeback seems reassuring in that regard.

Haggard isn’t the poster child for former-gay, either. He calls himself “hetrosexual but with issues.” Along with an obvious ability to command an audience and, currently, defy ideological characterization.


November 14, 2009 - Posted by | Churches | ,

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