Update on Ted Haggard

You know how you’ve been wondering for months now what sex-scandalized former pastor Ted Haggard has been up to?

No?

Just me?

Mkay. Well. He’s back in Colorado Springs after voluntarily exiling himself and his family in Phoenix for the past year where he spent time in a “spiritual restoration” program.

He says he finished his “restoration” early… perhaps he thinks he’s finally straightened himself out. (Literally.)

Under a severance deal that Ted Haggard reached with the church in 2006, he agreed to leave Colorado Springs and not talk about the scandal publicly. The deal expired at the end of 2007. New pastor Brady Boyd said Haggard was now free to live where he wanted and has returned to Colorado Springs.

“They have moved back and they live in the original house that they lived in for many years,” Boyd said of Haggard and his wife, Gayle.

When a reporter approached him at his house over the weekend, he said he couldn’t talk — that he was “forbidden” from speaking to the media.

At some point in the near future, though, Haggard will talk and share his side of the story. You know he wants to. For so long he wasn’t allowed to say anything, but that embargo is gone now. (That seems contradictory to his comment about being unable to speak to media. Maybe someone can clear that up.)

Could he have been working on a book of his own…?

I’m looking forward to the moment he opens up about this.

There is a way he can make this whole situation better, of course.

If he just admits he’s gay and a Christian, he could be one of the most powerful spokespersons in terms of fixing the homophobic stance so many churches and Christians hold.

That’d be the best thing to do…

Too bad that’s not gonna happen.

(via The Invisible Pink Unicorn)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Arlen

    I’ll bet he’s working on a memoir and his publisher has forbidden him from speaking to the media… until the book tour starts.

  • cipher

    And when that book comes out, the fundies will just eat it up. And when we criticize them, they’ll say we don’t understand forgiveness because we aren’t Christians.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    If he just admits he’s gay and a Christian, he could be one of the most powerful spokespersons in terms of fixing the homophobic stance so many churches and Christians hold.

    Hemant, honest question. Based on what you know of Christianity, do you think it can embrace and affirm homosexuality and still be consistent with itself? I’m just curious about your perspective on this. You know what the Bible says about homosexuality, so what would you think of a church that rejected biblical authority on that issue? Would you see them as being hypocritical and pathetic for not standing for what they claim to believe (the Bible), or just think they are taking a step in the (in your opinion) right direction away from Christianity/religion entirely?

  • http://butchbailey.com/ Butch

    I know I should feel sorry for him, what with the repression of his real sexual orientation and all, but I just can’t work up much sympathy. I know he is simply a product of the ignorant culture of fundamentalist Christianity and in all honesty, it’s not 100% his fault that he’s filled such self-hate, but I can’t get past the fact that he, as such a powerful and prominent leader in that culture further perpetuated that horrible and destructive culture on other young gay people.

  • Richard Wade

    It seems that a large number of Christians think that their religion stands on a tripod of three main beliefs: The existence of God, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and fags are no goddamn good. Remove any one of these precious, cherished precepts and the structure must fall.

    I’ll butt in with my own response to Daniel Hoffman’s question to Hemant:

    Based on what you know of Christianity, do you think it can embrace and affirm homosexuality and still be consistent with itself?

    Christianity is already riddled through and through with inconsistencies, so what is one more? It still stands because no matter how literalist believers may be, they manage to conveniently ignore any part that does not make sense or does not let them function in the twenty-first century.

  • Darryl

    Based on what you know of Christianity, do you think it can embrace and affirm homosexuality and still be consistent with itself?

    To which Richard replied:

    Christianity is already riddled through and through with inconsistencies, so what is one more? It still stands because no matter how literalist believers may be, they manage to conveniently ignore any part that does not make sense or does not let them function in the twenty-first century.

    Brief and to the point. I agree. I would add that this “convenient ignoring” may take the form of avoidance, outright rejection of some parts of the Scripture, or hermeneutical repositioning (denying that the Bible ever really taught that, or asserting that the understanding changes over time, or some such mechanism that permits face-saving for those who just have to be right).

  • Jonsi

    Based on what you know of Christianity, do you think it can embrace and affirm homosexuality and still be consistent with itself?

    This depends on how liberal your Christianity is. Some say yes, as long as those homosexual relationships are consensual, loving relationships. To fundamentalists, those people can’t be considered Christians at all.

    Many of the earliest Christians believed in marriage but believed sex should be abstained so that all humans can enter the spirit world and the second coming arrive more soon. Sex within marriage was allowed but discouraged.

    Say all you want about the sanctity of marriage, but many heterosexual marriages are not for love. Gay marriage truly is. Besides, if you truly want to preserve the sanctity of marriage, you have to allow gay people to get married…they are the only males left in this country who actually want to get married.

    I’ve known gay “Christians” and they struggle with their identity. The ones I knew in small town America, unfortunately, didn’t want to be my friend because gasp, I was an atheist, therefore a sinner. That changed when I moved to the city. I think a fundamentalist leader coming out would weaken right wing Christianity, but there is still a spectrum of beliefs which it would not touch.

  • Jonathan

    I sincerely doubt that if he were to announce that he is gay and Christian that it would do much at all to curb homophobia in the church in America. It might be a great talking point for his community in Colorado Springs, but I think you are giving him way too much credit. One of the turning points for me was when a staff member from my own church community told his life story, including his former homosexual life. This led to great conversations about living with a gay (formerly Gay, for him).

  • Jonathan

    left off a word, there…woops. *gay orientation*

  • Jonathan

    Jonsi said:
    “many heterosexual marriages are not for love. Gay marriage truly is. Besides, if you truly want to preserve the sanctity of marriage, you have to allow gay people to get married…they are the only males left in this country who actually want to get married.”

    The only males left? Please tell me you’re joking, right?

  • bradm

    “If he just admits he’s gay and a Christian …”

    Ummm, as far as I can tell, he’s bi-sexual.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Brief and to the point. I agree. I would add that this “convenient ignoring” may take the form of avoidance, outright rejection of some parts of the Scripture, or hermeneutical repositioning (denying that the Bible ever really taught that, or asserting that the understanding changes over time, or some such mechanism that permits face-saving for those who just have to be right).

    Examples?

    Many of the earliest Christians believed in marriage but believed sex should be abstained so that all humans can enter the spirit world and the second coming arrive more soon. Sex within marriage was allowed but discouraged.

    Well, many early offshoots of Christianity such as that were quickly recognized as and declared to be heresies. And the BIble certainly teaches nothing like that.

    Say all you want about the sanctity of marriage, but many heterosexual marriages are not for love.

    Love is a duty in marriage, not necessarily the ground of it. That’s a relatively modern and western concept, and is probably why we have more divorces than ever. When feelings are the basis of marriage, when the feelings go, people bolt.

    Besides, if you truly want to preserve the sanctity of marriage, you have to allow gay people to get married…they are the only males left in this country who actually want to get married.

    Well, I’m a male who wants to get married, and so are a lot of my friends.

  • Jonsi

    Yes, some early Christian sects were determined heresies, but that doesn’t mean those sects were less valid or less Christian than what became the orthodox church. To someone skeptical, if I’m supposed to accept that the other sects beliefs came from some people’s social values at the time, it’s more probable that many orthodox teachings were determined by social values as opposed to the word of God.

    Who decided they were heretical? What was the evidence? By what standards and what authority? Were their differences — or heresies — any more significant than the spectrum of Christianity that exists today? Should Paul Tillich be labeled heretical and all of his books stolen from libraries and burned? Should Catholics persecute Pentecostals? Saying “it was determined to be heresy” reads “the people with more power didn’t like it because it challenged their authority” moreso than “the true word of God filled the hearts of the sects that lasted, which allowed them to endure while others perished.”

    And it is a joke. Women complain all the time about not finding men who want to commit. “It’s not you, it’s me.” That is because — punchline — the only men left who actually want to commit are gay.

    As for Hagard…I think the results would be mediocre. I do think you’d see other people in less fundamental positions coming out and saying “I too am gay.” I don’t feel it would reach the members of those organizations though; they would remain bigots.

  • kirk

    I’m pretty certain he won’t come out and say he is a gay christian. His entire point will be that he was sinning and thanks to this program he went to he is cured of his gay-ways. The man out-right lied for years, to think he’s going to do the right thing now is ridiculous.

  • http://www.anatheist.net James

    Yep…I smell a book deal. And a lucrative one at that.

  • Richard Wade

    If you remember, the original scandal also included methamphetamine use. I’ve heard nothing about that issue being a part of his “restoration.” Interest in drug use does not spontaneously go away any more than sexual orientation does. I hope for his sake that he has support in recovering from that. If not, eventually the poop will hit the propeller once again and we’ll have another summer’s worth of grim entertainment. As much as I find him despicable, I also find him pitiful. I don’t think he deserves to die that way.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Haggard deserves all the thumping he gets. He roared from the pulpit about the immorality of gays for years, contributing to the reflexive fear and loathing various alleged Christians bring to their relationships with the world.

    He can’t come out. He’s an adulterous drug-using bisexual, possibly homo. His stamp of Christianity can’t accept that. But they might let him back in if he can stuff himself far enough back into the closet and spend the rest of his life preaching his loathing for people who are just like him.

    Fortunately, if he remains a devoted Republican he’ll have plenty of company–it’s a very crowded closet.

  • Darryl

    He’ll do a book, go on the lecture circuit, and do some talks shows. He’ll probably start a lucrative “ministry” to gays who want to go straight. He can remain a fundamentalist gay-hater and still make a good living as a hypocrite.

  • Richard Wade

    He’ll probably start a lucrative “ministry” to gays who want to go straight.

    Yeah. And with all those young, confused and vulnerable gay men around he’ll probably be able to get some action back in the, uh, rectory.


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