Pastor Ted Haggard on his 'sexually immoral conduct'

News & Politics

"Pastor Ted" has finally fessed up to still undisclosed sexual indiscretions, having satisfied feelings he's had since early in life. To his credit:

"Haggard asked the congregation of the church he founded 26 years ago to forgive him. He also told church members not to be angry at his accuser, instead urging them to thank God for him.
"He didn't violate you; I did," Haggard said.
Poor choice of words notwithstanding, that is a big and difficult thing to say. He also wrote: "I take responsibility for the entire problem."

Within his desire to take full responsibility, however, lies the problem. That he, and a fair but diminishing number of Americans, see homosexuality as the devil's work; that it's his attraction to men that he should apologize for and not the hypocrisy he promotes that causes so many good people such brutal pain and anguish.

Jack Balkin, typically a constitutional lawyer and professor, connects the psychology to the policy rhetoric: Viewed from Ted Haggard's perspective -- a man who, despite his shame and guilt, is attracted to other men -- gay marriage and the gay lifestyle really are a threat to heterosexual relationships and heterosexual marriage. That is because they are a threat to his heterosexual identity and his heterosexual marriage.

Balkin concludes:
The Haggard story is a story not only about Haggard, but about America itself. Our country has not yet accepted that it is morally ok to be gay or bi-sexual, even though America has millions of gay and bi-sexual people who are our friends, co-workers, and family members; moreover, we are a country with many gay and bi-sexual people who themselves won't accept that it is morally ok to be gay or bi-sexual. Therefore we as a nation hate ourselves, fear ourselves, fight ourselves and try to banish ourselves from the face of the earth. It should be obvious enough that such a strategy is doomed to failure, but the real tragedy is how long -- and at what cost in human suffering -- it will take us to recognize it.

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