Ted Haggard, unfortunately is doing no favors for the gay community.
The embattled (and quite conflicted) man has lost his post as the president of National Association of Evangelicals, as well as his position as head pastor of the New Life Church.
His story made headlines and plunged him head-first into a nation-wide scandal when it was revealed that he paid a male prostitute- numerous times- for sex and methamphetamine… all while supposedly handling his business as Man of God Extraordinaire, devoted husband and father.
In recent days Haggard has admitted to another sexual liaison. He says it was during his tenure with New Life Church- this time with a 20 year old male volunteer. He claims this is further evidence of the “compulsive behavior” that ruled him during “that time” of his life.
Ted Haggard is- at least in part- a victim.
I truly feel sorry for him.
That being said, I am terribly disappointed that he has chosen not to use his personal experiences as an opportunity to explain the truth about homosexuality.
Instead he prefers to perpetuate a climate of shame and self-hate.
He has been on numerous television shows granting interviews, and even has an HBO documentary airing soon. The emerging theme is the life of a man whose soul hasn’t grown an inch… a man who loves himself no more than he did when he was hiding his true identity from the world, his wife, and his children.
This is a man who truly despises himself for his inherant homosexuality… a trait that he knows all too well can never be fixed, changed or prayed away.
Yet he still pretends to believe otherwise… if he just prays a little harder, reads scripture a little more often… Ricky Martin will suddenly become less attractive to him than Cindy Crawford.
He claims a therapist told him that he is “heterosexual with complications”.
Dude- You’re gay.
Just stand up and say it.
What a sad, sad existence he has instead created.
He put himself in a virtual prison… and rather than use this massive national forum he has garnered for himself to break out of jail, to finally be free… not to mention freeing thousands of other conflicted homosexuals in the process…
… He has instead chosen to continue living behind bars.
How truly sad.
I realize Haggard has his faults… massive ones… not the least of which has been his being anything BUT a loving, committed spouse. His wife has the right to be absolutely livid with this man… though she claims she knew about his “struggles”- struggles directly related to his attraction to men- for years. She chose to marry him in spite of this knowledge… but he chose to make life-long vows to this woman.
He should suffer the consequences of the damage he has done to his marriage and his family.
However, he has been handed the perfect opportunity to explain to the world- especially to right-wing evangelical Christians- that in spite of all his efforts, all his praying and soul searching…
… He is still gay.
He didn’t choose to be this way.
He simply is.
Ted Haggard has spent the majority of his life struggling with himself, his God, his church, his culture, his country… because the man who he really is… the REAL Ted Haggard… is homosexual…
… And that reality doesn’t play out well in the world he has created for himself- a world full of judgmental hateful bigots.
The resulting damage is catastrophic.
All one needs to do is watch him… I recommend viewing his recent interview with Larry King… to know that this man hates himself as much as he ever has.
He still hopes he can get on his knees and pray his way out of his attraction to men.
Why has he not figured it out, after all these years, that it isn’t going to happen? Why is he not on a quest to learn how to love himself?
Denial is indeed a powerful animal.
If Ted Haggard lived in a world where he was accepted for who he really is… a world in which he could both love and serve his God without fear that his personal understanding of himself as a gay man would sentence him to eternal damnation in hell… a world in which he did not have to hate himself for that which he cannot change…
… Perhaps things would have been a little different… a little better…
I will pray for Mr. Haggard.
I will pray that he stops apologizing for who his is, for who God created him to be… and start living and loving himself.
He deserves that much, if nothing else.