St. Gayle Haggard

Last night, I watched the HBO documentary, The Trials of Ted Haggard, and then caught the second half of Ted and Gayle Haggard’s appearance on Larry King Live.

I went in quite skeptically.  I know a couple persons who knew/know Ted, and they describe him as something of a meglomaniac.  No surprise, Alexandra Pelosi paints Ted as a sympathetic figure.  In fact, using footage from her earlier documentary that features Haggard, it’s clear that she has a real affection for him.  Through the doc and the LKL appearance, I couldn’t really get a handle on Ted.  He’s pretty circumspect on many issues; for instance, he just wouldn’t answer the question when a caller from Orlando who described himself as a gay Christian man asked Ted about the possibilities of being a gay Christian. Ted’s response was basically: read your Bible and get into a good church.  Ted obviously doesn’t feel the authority to judge anyone right now, which is surely smart on his part.

What stunned me, both in the doc and more acutely on LKL, was Gayle Haggard.  Either she is one of the finest actors I’ve ever seen, or she is one of the most spiritually and psychologically Haggard2.jpghealthy persons on this planet.  She answered every question with composure.  She’s not the stand-by-your-man-no-matter-what, mindless, conservative evangelical woman that some have portrayed her to be.  Nor is she the unkempt, sexually uninterested wife that Mark Driscoll infamously insinuated when the scandal broke (of course, Mark’s orginal post is gone, but the Internet never forgets!).

She is, instead, thoughtful, kind, gracious, and forgiving.  She has stuck with Ted through a truly horrific experience.  She has accepted his remorse and granted him forgiveness.  And, as a cherry on top, the Haggard’s eldest son, Marcus, joined them for the last bit on LKL and he was even more composed than Gayle.  This is a truly extraordinary family…

…Or, they are positioning themselves for a new career.  I’ve been told by one insider that the Haggards, basically broke, are hoping to establish an income by writing and speaking about their trials.  Indeed, at the end of LKL, both Gayle and Ted said several times that they want to “communicate their story.”  Fishing for a book deal? Speaking gigs? A reality TV show?  Very possibly.  So, my cynical side has to acknowledge the possibility that Gayle’s (and Ted’s and Marcus’s) grace and composure is actually a patina, covering a family in great distress trying to dig themselves out of a massive financial hole.

I suppose time will tell.
 

  • A Walker

    Haggard is proof that a gay person can, for the sake of the mission of family life, use his free will to direct his sexual drive. Sure it’s a struggle, but he has a great wife and kids, and he’s a good and serious father and husband to Gayle.
    Because he is a Christian, Haggard has been encouraged to live a family partnership, using his life and sexuality in partnership with the opposite sex, even if his sexual attractions/appetites don’t always line up.
    I believe this “family vision” is the great carrot that life dangles out in front of all humanity, concerning sexuality. Our biology shows us that we are designed to partner with the opposite sex, and that doing so gives us decades of meaning and purpose in raising our children. Even gays can embrace this family mission and partnership with the opposite sex, though drawing heavily on use of their free will, of course.
    Indeed, it takes a disciplined mind to do anything great in life besides react to one’s own animal instincts. For gays, it takes the vision of a family life plus a noble person of the opposite sex to make things work.
    Remember, for straight people, marriage is about raising and educating a family. It’s not much about sex. I think gays could benefit from this realization. When you talk to gay friends about this issue, they seem to have romantic and sexually-oriented fantasies that simply aren’t realistic or common to heterosexual family life whatsoever. They need to hear from us heteros that sex isn’t a central part of family life—family is the central part of family life. Any person can do that, if they have a vision and free will.

  • http://www.thoughtsofagyrovague.com Carl Holmes

    As someone who knows Gayle I truly want to tell you what you saw is what you saw. She is a real deal, down to earth wonderful Christian woman. She has depth and strength in her soul that has benifited my wife and myself on many occasions. We love her in our household and I do not think she was fishing for a book deal at all.
    I do see the brokeness leading toward wanting to capitalize on the story, but I do not see that having a bearing on her personna in the show that you saw.

  • Traci Smith

    I’m wondering if it can be a both/and thing. I, too, was in AWE of Gayle and Marcus on LKL last night, and I did get the sense that they are looking to capitalize on their tragedy via a book deal or speaking engagement. At the same time, I don’t think that necessarily negates their sincerity. They could just be making lemonade out of some particularly sour lemons. As you say, time will tell. I have to say, I’m surprised at how much I am rooting for them to succeed, although I would like to hear MUCH less of the “pray the gay away” nonsense from both of them… Thanks for the post. I look forward to reading the comments on this one. They will, no doubt, be full of it.

  • panthera

    “I am a heterosexual with complications?”
    Oh, puh-lease!
    A Walker, I live a monogamous, committed, faithful marriage. My partner gave up his job and security to help me take care of my parents. Our marriage is not only about sex, though I am glad to say that even after several decades, the touch of his hand on my arm ‘sends me’, to quote a song verse I bet we are both old enough to have heard in the original…
    I have no romantic illusions about how hard married life is. When a large part (and when my parents are gone, the entire) of your family are fundamentalist Christians who attack you physically, emotionally and legally and yet your partner sticks with you – even, yes, through physical danger, then that is marriage.
    Personally, I find that Gayle Haggard is the victim of a horrible horrible, disgusting monster of a hypocritical man.
    We already have two confirmed stories of long term sexual relationships with other men. One of which his oh-so-Christian-mega-church paid hundreds of thousands to cover up!
    He has not changed, his marriage is a hollow mockery. The hurt his is doing to this poor woman is inexcusable.
    No doubt, they will make money from this. Goodness, I suspect he already has a contract with Mike Jones to promote their mutual satisfaction.
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
    Whatever her motivations (being the mother of young children is my guess), his behavior towards her overwhelms me. With disgust.
    This is exactly the reason we need to drop the hypocrisy from our churches.

  • Target Rich

    Gayle Haggard deserves respect for her commitment to her husband and family in the face of an extremely difficult situation.
    Unfortunately, A Walker’s philosophy has been the source of many such family tragedies.
    Every gay person I have ever known had the “family vision”. Many have tried for years or lifetimes to deny their sexual desires, to find a way to achieve the “white picket fence” heterosexual arrangement they grew up with. Problem is…heterosexual relationships are not fulfilling to them–they’re gay!! So, there’s always something missing.
    That Ted Haggard should stand as a successful example of this philosophy says it all. He risked everything, including his relationship, family and health to find something he felt lacking. And his desire for male intimacy will probably lead him to do it again.
    If anyone had a reason to succeed–and a lot to lose–it was Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard, countless clergy and millions of gays have tried diligently and failed to conquer their sexual orientations, causing pain to themselves and those who love them. At the same time, increasing numbers of gays are proving that honesty about sexual orientation can lead to fulfilling, productive lives.
    It will be news to most straight couples that sex is not an important part of their relationship. Believe it or not, raising a family and sexual fulfillment are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes that’s how new babies happen.

  • John March

    Tony,
    My thoughts exactly! I didn’t watch the show, but I read the article on CNN this morning. I was primarily impressed with her embodiment of a forgiving and gracious attitude.
    To respond to your cynical angle at the end (which I resonated with as well): even if they were angling for some speaking gigs, I would still maintain that her posture is truly saintly. She is staying in the relationship, talking openly about a humiliating experience, and trying to stay committed to her husband all for the sake of her family. She is suffering for the good of another. Even if her continued endurance of a frustrating marriage is for “covering a family in great distress trying to dig themselves out of a massive financial hole” I think that is saintly!

  • http://www.pilgrimmarch.com John March

    Tony,
    My thoughts exactly! I didn’t watch the show, but I read the article on CNN this morning. I was primarily impressed with her embodiment of a forgiving and gracious attitude.
    To respond to your cynical angle at the end (which I resonated with as well): even if they were angling for some speaking gigs, I would still maintain that her posture is truly saintly. She is staying in the relationship, talking openly about a humiliating experience, and trying to stay committed to her husband all for the sake of her family. She is suffering for the good of another. Even if her continued endurance of a frustrating marriage is for “covering a family in great distress trying to dig themselves out of a massive financial hole” I think that is saintly!

  • A Walker

    To Panthera:
    Haggard’s marriage is not “hollow mockery.” What an insult you are making against the partnership he has contracted with Gayle and his children, who are his flesh and blood.
    He has committed adultery, but so what. That can be reconciled and the family can move on together in love and commitment. Gayle is not a “poor woman,” she loves Ted, and he loves her. And they love their children, which is what families do. Quit insulting this family.

  • Mateo1970

    Both Ted and Gayle showed tremendous composure. I think it is wrong for militant homosexuals to keep attacking them. Ted gave in to a few temptations throughout his life, who hasn’t. It says a lot that he still embraces his wife, loves his kids, and is willing to preserve the sanctity of marriage. The fact that Ted knows homosexuality to be a sin and homosexual marriage to be unhealthy for children in no way changes his reputation. His beautiful young sons are similar in age to those he admitted to improper relationships with. Yet I honestly believe his own sons are his path to righteousnous. Praise Ted Haggard and those who helped preserve the institution of marriage through Prop 8. Let’s stop the hate and embrace those who deserve respect for their faith.

  • A Walker

    Target Rich says: Many have tried for years or lifetimes to deny their sexual desires, to find a way to achieve the “white picket fence” heterosexual arrangement they grew up with. Problem is…heterosexual relationships are not fulfilling to them–they’re gay!! So, there’s always something missing.
    A Walker: This is where you’re wrong. Most heterosexuals realize that sexual desire has severe limitations and disappointments in marriage. It’s part and parcel of marriage. But since marriage is far more about partnering with the opposite sex to raise a family, this puts sex into its proper place and perspective. The satisfaction of raising children together with the person with whom you created them is an unparalleled unique experience. I’m sure Haggard is smart enough to realize that no amount of sex can compare to the joy he gets from raising a family. Family is family. Placing “sexual desire” above family is idiocy and can’t work for any married couple.
    By elevating the joy of family and placing sex in its proper realistic place, even gays can partner with the opposite sex for a lifetime of joy and purpose. The vision of family is more important than sex, and that FACT must be front and center for any marriage. Desire for intimacy is often a struggle for straight couples. So what, you put your family first and you deal with it.
    Remember: sex is but a few hours out of the year. Family is full time. A person is a fool to elevate sexual desires above the mission and purpose of family.

  • David Loar

    I didn’t see them on the HBO documentary or LKL, but did see them earlier this week on Oprah.
    I think the Haggard story is very compelling and can be a healing vessel for many people in the world.
    That said, my impression from the Oprah program was they are still fresh in this and have a long way to go. I think they need some years yet of personal, and more private family journey to gain some more maturity and basically trusting foundation of this “new way of life” that they are experiencing. My basic concern is Ted Haggard. He comes across still as detached and controlling as much as he talks about being honest with himself about who he is and that God loves him the way he is.
    Oprah tried to push him into a box that he is either gay or straight. He wouldn’t accept that and neither did his wife. I agree with them and felt Oprah was unfair and trying to make a point for gay rights rather than to interview the Haggards.

  • Rob the Rev

    I have great emphathy for Ted Haggard, his wife and children. I would hope that he would finally, like so many gay clergy have, will come to accept himself for who he is and his sexual orientation as inate and God-given.
    I would hope that he would seek out a wise counselor like the Rev. Dr. Mel White. The Rev. Dr. Mel White is a gay evangelical man who, before coming out of his closet, ghost wrote books for Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell. He also produced film and video media for the church. He wrote about his story in and out of the closet in the book, “Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America.” By mutual agreement Mel and Lyla, his wife, chose an amicable divorce and Lyla and their children are supportive of Mel and remain family with him.
    He began SOULFORCE as a GLBT non-violent, civil-disobedience spiritual group patterned on the philosophy of Ghandi and Martin Luther King in working for justice and equality for GLBT people. http://www.soulforce.com
    http://community.beliefnet.com/northernimager

  • A Walker

    Rob the Rev: I have great emphathy for Ted Haggard, his wife and children. I would hope that he would finally, like so many gay clergy have, will come to accept himself for who he is and his sexual orientation as inate and God-given
    A Walker: Even if he is oriented in favor of other males, he can use his free will however he wants. And, if Ted decides that he will partner with the lovely Gayle to birth and raise a family together, then he is free to make that choice, no matter how you feel about it. He loves her and his flesh-and-blood kids, and they love him. When you start attacking dads and husbands and wives and kids, your hate and bigotry has gone too far.
    Family trumps orientation every time.

  • http://www.DrJenniferHoward.com Dr. Jennifer Howard

    In the unearthing of the financial crisis, what’s being exposed is the abuse of power. We’re all familiar with the quote about absolute power corrupting absolutely. It’s easy to point fingers and forget that we all must be mindful of our authority. It takes courage to be self-responsible and work toward a life of empowered humility. This means we live our life to our fullest potential, knowing that we are not all that exists. We are not God. We are co-creators with that which exists beyond us. However, as humans, we do have much power and must be respectful of that fact. As far as Ted Haggard, Bernie Madoff, Governor Blagojevich, and all the others who have come to the light of day at this time, it is their personal work to determine what caused these enactments. If they are simply talking without insight and deep reflection, it is more of the same abuse. Excusing, explaining, and distorting the truth will not lead them to live from integrity, nor will it lead them to making the changes that are necessary to live as part of today’s society. If you listen to Obama’s inauguration speech you will hear the language and attitude of maturity, self-responsibility, and collective kindness that is currently rising in our group consciousness. Finally, let’s all be mindful to look into our own hearts at the way we perhaps use power.

  • Jon

    I came away with two major impressions:
    1.) How personally difficult it must be for Haggard to be an evangelical Christian
    Haggard made it clear, “I’m an evangelical”. That’s his starting point, above his thoughts, struggles, inclinations, approach to family, and loyalty to wife and kids. That’s where Haggard has made a choice.
    How much pressure is there and how much of a struggle does it take for him maintain the delicate balance of his belief system? This keeps him from even saying that he could be gay, b/c, theologically that is not even a possibility for him.
    2.) I’m an evangelical but I don’t want to be one. Compared to sexual temptations, evangelicalism might be the stronger prison.

  • Rob the Rev

    Rob the Rev post of January 30, 2009 12:42 PM: “I have great emphathy for Ted Haggard, his wife and children. I would hope that he would finally, like so many gay clergy have, will come to accept himself for who he is and his sexual orientation as inate and God-given.”
    A Walker on January 30, 2009 1:25 PM posted: “Even if he is oriented in favor of other males, he can use his free will however he wants. And, if Ted decides that he will partner with the lovely Gayle to birth and raise a family together, then he is free to make that choice, no matter how you feel about it. He loves her and his flesh-and-blood kids, and they love him. When you start attacking dads and husbands and wives and kids, your hate and bigotry has gone too far.”
    In the post of mine that you reference above I have not attacked Ted Haggard, his wife or his children nor shown hatred or bigotry toward them. I did not sugest that he divorce from his wife or abandone his children as you assert. If he and his wife so chose to end their marriage that is there business, not mine. If he is gay in sexual orientation, as it certianly appears, I do believe self-acceptance of his sexual orientation would be spiritually and psychologically healther.
    As a clergyperson myself who went through most of my adult life in denial about my sexuality and hiding in an ecclesiastical closet I can and do emphatize with him. Fortunately I never entered into a heterosexual marriage because deep down I knew who I was and that it would not be good for me or the woman.
    I was surprised at the you calling me a friend in your post of January 30, 2009 1:52 PM.
    http://community.beliefnet.com/northernimager

  • http://www.blackcoffeereflections.com Tim

    Good post Tony. Like so many, I too was moved by Gayle. I understand the suspicion and this is a complicated situation but as I wrote on my blog after watching: “Many may want him to just “go away”. But going away in that sense only means “get out of my life”. Ted still lives and we cannot write people off and I needed to be reminded of that.”
    Certainly a reality tv show would remind us all that the Haggards are still around but I hope they don’t go that route. Perhaps a book is on the horizon but from how he dodged so many of the questions, a book might be too revealing for him at this point. It will be interesting to see what develops but may we as Christ followers show love and grace.

  • Your Name

    The biggest sin of all of Haggards sins, is his refusal to sit down. He does not need to be preaching as preachers are to set an example. It seems to me that he needs to work out his own salvation. With that, he already has enough on his plate. Any one who allows this man to preach in their church or even becomes a member of one he will start, needs to reconsider their salvation also. God has plenty of preachers out there, he doesnt need a soul sick one. Let him sit down and be ministered TO.

  • Rajeev

    I have written about this on my blog:
    http://www.rajeev-reflections.blogspot.com
    Feel free to read and comment!
    God Bless!
    Rajeev

  • http://www.livingsexuality.com/ Becky

    I appreciated your mention of Mark Driscoll’s pathetic remarks. His audacity is stunning…
    I also agree that the supportive reaction of Ted’s wife and kids is a testament that he must have done some things right. We should all be so blessed that if/when our deepest secrets are exposed, our families will support us in the same manner.
    Sure, this could all be a ploy for a book deal, but I am optimistic that their affection for each other is authentic.
    I have addressed a totally different Ted Haggard issue on my blog, specifically a rebuttal to the idea that he is either “gay” or “straight.” As Alfred Kinsey noted: “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white.”

  • therobbot

    Hi,
    I have been following this blog for quite a while now (ever since the blogalogue was announced) and have also been reading more of the comments section than is good for me. Actually I try to avoid to participate in conversations like this online, since I had my share of it and know that it is not good for me. But reading some of the comments I feel that I just have to write a couple of words.
    But let me quickly introduce myself: I’m from Germany (so sorry in advance if my english is strange at times), in the late twenties, was raised in what you in the US would probably call an Evangelical church (which is quite less common over here that in the US), have been through a lot of doubting, questioning and searching (still ongoing) and have been in a gay relationship for a little more than 7 years now. But I have phases where I question this almost as much as I question my faith. So I’d call me a general doubter (and I’m NOT glad about it).
    The thing that made me decide to write a comment here were the comments by “A Walker” implying that gay relationships were all about sex and romance as opposed to heterosexual marriages. Dear “A Walker”, I don’t want to get into an argument with you. In fact, while I sometimes don’t like the way you write things and sometimes can’t come to same conclusions as you do, I do realize that a lot of your arguments are valid and I can totally see where you are coming from and I think that for the most part your reasoning is coherent and sensible, even though this doesn’t mean that I believe it all to be right.
    But the way you downgraded gay relationships with the comments above made me sad. You can think whatever you want about the question wether a sexual relationship between same-sex couples is right or wrong, sinfull or whatever, but you should acknoledge the fact that there are same-sex couples out there who don’t have sex or romance at the center of their relationship. I could say Amen to almost everything you wrote about marriage beeing much more than sex and never being about sex and I can also see that this knowledge seems to get lost more and more. But I believe this is the same for me. For me, also, it is much more than sex or romance that makes me stay at the side of my partner. It is the feeling that he is a part of me, that I know him and he knows me, that we are responsible for each other and that we should strive to help each other to get along in this life, and ultimately to become a blessing for others around us. I know that there are a lot of gay people who don’t think like this, who are primarily looking for fun and quick pleasures… but this is no different from a lot of heterosexual people. I believe it is just because these are more prominent in the media and more glamorous it is easy to think that all gay people are like this.
    Now I know that there are a lot of (valid) points that you or others could bring in here, so let me just get to some of them in advance because I don’t plan to post another comment here.
    First of all, what I wrote is not meant to be an argument in favor of same-sex relationships, let alone “same sex marriage”. I don’t feel in the position yet to talk about this (even though I have a lot of thoughts about it). All I wish for is for you to acknoledge that ther are gay relationships that are built on more than romance and sex (and I believe this is quite possible without changing your opinion on wether sexual same-sex relationships are right or wrong).
    Second, you could ask why – if the relationship is not about sex – I wouldn’t try to live in a heterosexual relationship. Well, first of all I believe, while it isn’t the center, I believe sexuality is still an important part of a relationship. And I don’t even mean the act itself, but the feeling of wholeness when holding each others hand, the leap the heart makes when you look into each others eyes, etc. The same way you probably wouldn’t have this with someone from the same sex, I don’t think I could ever have this with someone from the opposite (and don’t ask how I know this, this would be like asking you how you knew you *would* have this before trying it). Also, the question for me is not so much “man or woman” anymore but “my partner or not my partner” and I love him and I want to be with him for my whole life.
    Finally you could say that what I describe is very different from a heterosexual marriage and maybe you are even right about this. We don’t have kids and I’m acually not sure if I’d want to argue in favor of adoptions for gay couples because I still think that it is best for kids to have both male and female bonding. But would you say that childless heterosexual couples – even if they don’t adopt kids – cannot be a family? We have close friends who have kids. We are part of their extended family, we are part of our society and I sincerily hope that our relationship will help us to become better members of it. So while I still feel that heterosexual marriages and especially heterosexual marriages with kids deserve a special kind of protection and are a special kind of blessing, I feel it is quite wrong to say that our relationships deserve no protection and are no blessing.
    But I realize that I’m starting to write about things that I didn’t want to write about. I really hope that we can all try to love each other more and also understand each other more. Even despite all my doubts, I sometimes wonder what Jesus would say about all of this if he had become incarnate today and not 2000 years ago. Sometimes I suspect he would surprise (and maybe even anger and at the same time attract) each and any of us.

  • A Walker

    RobtheRev: If he is gay in sexual orientation, as it certianly appears, I do believe self-acceptance of his sexual orientation would be spiritually and psychologically healthier.
    A Walker: He already has admitted that he has male attractions. The point about Haggard is that he is an perfect example that gays *can,* for the sake of raising a family, partner with a wonderful companion of the opposite sex and produce nice kids and a life-long relationship. He used his free will to do so.
    Sure he’s committed adultery, but heterosexuals struggle with sexual fidelity too. So what. It doesn’t diminish his life-long relationship with Gayle and his kids, who are his own flesh and blood and Gayle’s flesh and blood. That’s a great achievement. Kudos to Ted and Gayle.
    Seems to me, Haggard, for a gay man, has a good thing going! He has used his mind power (will power) to create a beautiful family, which he has consistently placed above some trivial and adolescent “identity fixation.”
    People have free wills, and they can use them if they want to do so. Ted has used his mind to downplay his male attraction and play up the value of creating a family with a person of the opposite sex. In the end, he has a great life partner and children. Not bad at all. Hats off to Ted and Gayle.

  • A Walker

    TheRobBot: have been in a gay relationship for a little more than 7 years now. But I have phases where I question this almost as much as I question my faith. So I’d call me a general doubter (and I’m NOT glad about it).
    A Walker: Thanks for sharing. I respect honesty everywhere I see it.
    TheRobBot: “A Walker” implying that gay relationships were all about sex and romance as opposed to heterosexual marriages
    A Walker: I accept your point, and I should have been more careful with my words. Perhaps my comments about that should be more narrowly applied to the gay activists I have met and seen. For example, I’ve witnessed multiple gay pride parades and other such gay pageantry in major cities (public downtown areas), and I have to say it was all rated XXX. I have yet to witness even one heterosexual pride parade where people are on floats and stages simulating fellatio and group sex and cross dressing — all to music and drums and with confetti etc. So, if you wander why heteros sometimes describe gays as sexual obsessives, just blame those groups for giving all gays a bad name.
    TheRobBot: for the most part your reasoning is coherent and sensible
    A Walker: Thanks.
    TheRobBot: You should acknoledge the fact that there are same-sex couples out there who don’t have sex or romance at the center of their relationship.
    A Walker: I accept that point.
    TheRobBot: I know that there are a lot of gay people who don’t think like this, who are primarily looking for fun and quick pleasures… but this is no different from a lot of heterosexual people.
    A Walker: I agree that many gays desire committed relationships. But I suspect there’s a biological roadblock involved there that may drive many gay activists to come across as sexual obsessives. In males, sex drive is extraordinarily strong (compared to females), and men tend to naturally crave many different partners. If men simply allow their nature free rein, they are unleashing a tempest, a beast, a tsunami. A planet of all men would be a sexually supercharged planet, naturally. And that’s the gay male environment—and I suspect it’s difficult to tame. It’s a freight train that gets off the tracks.
    Fortunately, we don’t have such a planet. Male partnerships with women *force the male to civilize himself into some semblance of sexual self control*, for women aren’t as libidinous as men (so he has no choice), and the male is held in check due to the children/family considerations. These are civilizing forces, and they are good for individuals and for societies.
    TheRobBot: I wish for you to acknoledge that ther are gay relationships that are built on more than romance and sex
    A Walker: Again, I acknowledge that.
    TheRobBot: I believe sexuality is still an important part of a relationship. And I don’t even mean the act itself, but the feeling of wholeness when holding each others hand, the leap the heart makes when you look into each others eyes, etc.
    A Walker: For most heterosexual marriages, the romance you are describing fades dramatically but transfers into a feeling of commitment and gratitude for the daily role each partner has in raising, nurturing, and educating a community of people. The sex no longer functions as it did in attracting the mate at the beginning. It changes. It’s still nice, but it’s role is extraordinarily limited both in time and though spent on it. Anyone, gay or straight, could do this. However, I admit, gays like Haggard would have to desire this vision of “family life” above “sexual desire questing” or “sexual identity” or whatever. (Having said that, I’m quite confident Ted enjoys sex with Gayle, for sex is physically pleasurable however one gets it.)
    TheRobBot: you could say that what I describe is very different from a heterosexual marriage and maybe you are even right about this.
    A Walker: I think we are describing somewhat different things, though, again, I would never want to diminish the legitimate friendship bonds that you have had. But remember, Ted Haggard has legitimate friendship bonds with Gayle and his kids, and this was made possible by Haggard’s use of his free will to pursuit that each day of the past however many years they’ve been married.
    TheRobBot: I still think that it is best for kids to have both male and female bonding.
    A Walker: Personally, I’m grateful that I had both a mother and a father. They each gave me very different education, life lessons, and experiences. I feel I’m a more well-adjusted human because I had long-term experiential input from both halves of our species.
    Thanks for commenting, TheRobBot. I appreciate everything you’ve said, and your English is quite good. Sadly, I can’t speak any German.

  • therobbot

    Hi again,
    I know I didn’t want to get tangled up in this but I just want to clarify a couple of things.
    First: I’m not sure if you (A Walker) were implying this by your choice of capitalization but I have nothing to do with “Rob the Rev”, despite the name. :)
    Now for a couple of things you wrote.
    A Walker: (…) Perhaps my comments about that should be more narrowly applied to the gay activists I have met and seen. For example, I’ve witnessed multiple gay pride parades (…) So, if you wander why heteros sometimes describe gays as sexual obsessives, just blame those groups for giving all gays a bad name.
    therobbot: Believe me, I do. I get sick watching this. But there are also heterosexual (at least partially) parades like this that make me feel just as sick (like the “Love Parade” that used to take place in Germany and imho gave Love a really bad name). I can see, though, that gay parades like this tend to be more prominent and I wish it weren’t so. I know there are many gays who generally feel the way I do. I also know that a lot of them think they shouldn’t criticize these parades because of “unity” in the gay community or whatever. I don’t feel this way and I feel it is very unhealthy and dangerous to put sex at the center of your life. But then I have to admit I only know these parades from TV. The only gay parade I witnessed in my home town (not participating but walking by) was actually more like a normal demonstration. I acknoledge that it might be different in bigger cities…
    A Walker: (…) In males, sex drive is extraordinarily strong (compared to females), and men tend to naturally crave many different partners.
    therobbot: Agreed
    A Walker: A planet of all men would be a sexually supercharged planet, naturally. And that’s the gay male environment—and I suspect it’s difficult to tame. It’s a freight train that gets off the tracks.
    therobbot: Well, I’m not so sure about this. Again, I can only speak for myself but I don’t really see how this is so different from us wanting to be in a monogamous, faithful, committed and lifelong relationship. Sure, I see your point that there might be a danger of gay relationships where both allow each other to give in to their desires and be promiscous. I don’t know. I can’t imagine it because I couldn’t imagine having the same level of trust with my partner ever again after this. I don’t know… I kind of see the danger you describe here, I just don’t personally know any gay people who think like this. But then I have to admit that I was never really around the “gay scene” and also that when looking at e.g. gay websites (and I’m talking about information sites) a lot of times there’s sex content around the corner and the idea of promiscuity seems to be more prominent there then elsewhere. However, this in itself would be more of an argument *for* committed gay relationships. Oh, and it is a big argument for lesbian relationships ;)
    A Walker: for women aren’t as libidinous as men (so he has no choice), and the male is held in check due to the children/family considerations. These are civilizing forces, and they are good for individuals and for societies.
    therobbot: Agreed with you here. Just believe me that there is also lots of having to hold back your sexual desires in a gay relationship. It’s not as if we are all sexed up all the time. Quite the contrary.
    A Walker: For most heterosexual marriages, the romance you are describing fades dramatically but transfers into a feeling of commitment and gratitude for the daily role each partner has in raising, nurturing, and educating a community of people (…)
    therobbot: Again, I’m not sure if this is so different here. I have to admit (as I did before) there is a quality when you have kids that we don’t have. But I wouldn’t necessarily name the things I descibed as “romance”, though this is part of it. The “holding each others hands” and “looking into each others eyes” that I descibed was more of the feeling I sometimes imagine when watching very old couples. It is quite different from the sensation that was there in the beginning of the relationship (even though this is also sometimes there, still). And this is ok. As with sex, I think that relationships – heterosexual or homosexual – that are centered around romantic feelings or infatuation have a serious problem.
    A Walker: (Having said that, I’m quite confident Ted enjoys sex with Gayle, for sex is physically pleasurable however one gets it.)
    therobbot: Well, maybe. I wouldn’t want to judge this. And also I wouldn’t want to judge the decisions Ted or anyone in his situation is making. If what he does is best for him and his family I wish him all the best. I agree with you that the wellbeing of the family and especially the kids is more important than his personal pursue of happiness. I also think however that there are cases where it was best for everyone involved to part ways. I think this isn’t ours to judge and I wish this family all the best.
    A Walker: (…) But remember, Ted Haggard has legitimate friendship bonds with Gayle and his kids, and this was made possible by Haggard’s use of his free will to pursuit that each day of the past however many years they’ve been married.
    therobbot: It might have been a bad idea to choose this blog entry to write my comment but let me say again that I’m not here to tell Ted Haggard what to do or even judge what he’s doing or did. For the most part I’m trying to always give people the benefit of doubt and suppose that they have the best intentions with what they are doing. This doesn’t mean that I say that everything people do is right.
    A Walker: Personally, I’m grateful that I had both a mother and a father. (…)
    therobbot: I can agree with that and feel the same for myself.
    A Walker: Thanks for commenting, TheRobBot. I appreciate everything you’ve said, and your English is quite good.
    therobbot: Thanks for the compliment. Also, thank you for the conversation. I appreciate it. And let me tell you again that I respect your point of view. The last time I was in such a conversation online I was more on your side of the argument. I also hope that maybe my point of view helped to extend your love and understanding toward us a little. I didn’t find your other comments hateful or anything (far from it) – otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to talk to you. But
    always remember that the internet is a very unpersonal medium and it’s hard to transmit emotions over it. It might sometimes be easier to get your point across if you try to put yourself in our position first – just as I feel you did with your reply to my comment. So thanks again.

  • Ray Y

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that last paragraph! They are trying to portray themselves as victims in this “Biblical Epic”, even calling their move to arizona “the Exile” as if it had been ordained from on high! What a load!
    He screwed around and she found out–it happens all the time, all around the world–their story is a very common one, if sordid.
    I don’t think he is through with his journey–we’ll see how long it lasts. I DO wish him & his family the best; however, I don’t think they are on a righteous path. He should leave her and deal with his sexuality like a man, honestly.

  • Chris Byrd

    Interesting how “friends” call Ted a meglomaniac and more. When he was on top of the world most of them couldn’t get close enough, spend enough time with or look for every opportunity possible to be identified with him.
    Now – many are afraid to be seen with him, say anything good about him or otherwise come alongside him in his difficult journey to wholeness. Boy – that’s just like Jesus isn’t it!


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