Ted Haggard: Neither Gay nor Straight

Is Ted Haggard gay or straight?  Neither.  Few of us are.  Most of us, instead, are on a spectrum between the two, as Becky knight explains.  Money Quote:

What was missing from the conversation was the awareness that sexual
orientation exists on a spectrum. Between the polarizing categories of
“gay” and “straight,” there is a diversity of experiences and
orientations. Intuitively, I think we understand this, yet our culture
loves to categorize people into easily-definable boxes.

  • http://matthewlkelley.blogspot.com Matt Kelley

    Right on, Tony. Sexuality is so much greater than an either/or statement. Pastor Haggard ended up being his own worst enemy because he created a monster out of these feelings he, himself, had but never chose to proactively deal with. It’s a cautionary tale for us all to face who we are, and not pretend certain parts of our being that don’t fit an artificial mode will just go away.

  • http://tinyacorns.blogspot.com Chris

    Tony, you continually make statements that sound nothing like statements made by any biblical writers. What exactly is your foundation?

  • Larry

    I prefer the Dirty Harry version: “There are no such things as bisexuals, just homosexuals that lack conviction.”

  • http://pomopilgrim.typepad.com/postmodernquestions/ Thomas Just

    Re Chris:
    I am intrigued by you’re question on foundation. Maybe I am reading into what you might be implying. However are you somehow suggesting that we all follow a Cartesian Foundationalistic approach? I don’t maybe you can explain more by what you mean by the word foundation?

  • Dan H

    I agree with this. Yet so much of the GLBT dialogue seems predicated on the idea that a discrete sexual orientation constitutes an identity–that being gay, straight, or bi is “who I am” (as exemplified by Oprah’s persistence in encouraging Haggard to accept ‘who he is’, and that staying with his wife was a fundamental denial of that identity). I’m not sure exactly where this leads, but it seems that the paradigm in which this dialogue takes place (and which all sides seem to participate in) is not fully adequate to the task.

  • nc

    Chris, where do the Biblical writers give a full account of human sexuality? I see a particular account of moral-ethical argument (i.e. behavior management), but I’d be interested to see how you establish they were cognitive scientists, psychologists, sociologists, etc.?
    Just wondering.

  • panthera

    One of the most common misconceptions about the sexuality spectrum is the assumption that there is a roughly even distribution along the spectrum.
    I am willing to concede the existence of such a spectrum (it does not chime with my personal experience in the slightest – I have met honorable gays and honorable straights and never once in my many years have encountered a bi-sexual who actually was capable of monogamous, loving, permanent relationships with either sex).
    Such spectra and discussions are only of merit when we have a distribution along the spectrum. Do some 90% or so fall into the absolutely heterosexual category? I wouldn’t be surprised to find this so. Perhaps 10% of us are not heterosexual.
    How the data are collected also plays a role. In cultures which are not so hateful towards gays as the American, men admit to enormously higher experimentation in their youth with other men, while self-identifying as heterosexual. In America, you will find many homosexuals who were either once married to a woman or who had sexual experiences with women, they frequently state that although gay, they thought such experiences would ‘cure’ them. A sick culture, bad data. Healthy culture, skewed data.
    Regardless of how one considers sexuality to be distributed, Haggard preached against gays, is a hateful, spiteful, mean spirited jerk who cheated on his wife (the only sympathetic figure in the family, his oldest son makes him look tolerant). I have no patience with such fundamentalists (add in whichever category you like, Hector pushed it up to seven yesterday, at this rate my attempts to be inclusive would look like a yellow pages listing for Baptist churches in a city) who preach hatred towards us then hurt their families.

  • Steve Leong – Hawaii

    Mr.Haggard’s the sad example of what happens to Gay Christian Children having to live a lie all their life. They end up using others, their wife,girlfriends, children, to “look normal” to their Christian peers. To be accepted by them. I FOUGHT being Gay, most of my life, till I was about 40. Then I ACCEPTED myself as the gay man God created me to be. Since then my life has changed, and I am blessed with constant miracles!I only wish I had gave in to God earlier! God had a reason for creating Gays … overpopulation… parents for children abandoned by straights…we need to trust in God’s plan. Perhaps the “Gay-conversion” groups need to look at this sad result of forcing their “judgements” onto someone created differently by God. Sincerely, Steven Leong – Hawaii

  • Jon

    Neither.
    Evangelical is his identity, there isn’t room for anything else. Theologically, he’s can’t be allowed to place himself on the spectrum of the Kinsey Scale. According to Haggard, he’s neither gay or straight…he’s evangelical. To him, it seems that simple, almost like being an evangelical is a separate orientation.

  • Phil

    I certainly feel a lot of sympathy to gay people who have been hurt, shamed, and abused by the Church throughout the years, and when I watched the Haggard documentary the other night, I ended up feeling very sorry for Ted. It’s just a sad situation all around.
    That being said, I have never bought into the whole idea that our sexuality exists on a spectrum like this. At least not the majority of people. It seems the whole spectrum concept makes sense for some segment of the population, but for many, I think there are people who simply cannot imagine any type of same-sex attraction. As a straight male, I know I can’t (and no, that’s not just homophobia coming through). Personally, I think that’s one reason why some people have such a hard time expressing any empathy to gay people. They really can’t put themselves in their shoes.
    To me, this issue is somewhat analogous to race. The only way we will make any headway is when we start realizing that those who are different from us are actual people with real stories, and we have to embrace them how they are.

  • MariaLewis

    To Steve Leong…
    If you do believe that God MADE you gay, how do you explain when God Himself condems homosexuality in the Bible (Romans)? Why would He say that homosexuality is undeniably wrong if its ok for you to be one? I do believe that we should love gay people, but it is a sin. You might want to look at the Love Won Out conventions.

  • dave

    Tony, since you are so quick to disclose stories about yourself from the pulpit, I may ask the same here. I will take your silence or an attempt to dodge this question as proof of your heresy and false-teaching (I have that right don’t I?) Question: since you say most of us fall on the middle of a spectrum, exactly where do you fall? Are you gay or straight or somewhere in the middle in which you are somewhat sexually attracted to both men and women?
    Further, why are we willing to define ourselves based on who we lust for? More specifically Tony, why are you so willing to define yourself based upon who you lust after? Of course the previous question can be deemed void if you are a hermaphrodite Tony.

  • nathan

    Dave,
    You know, there’s a healthy way to interrogate and examine each other and a combative, adversarial way that is unhealthy and unproductive precisely because it’s personalized and demeaning.
    Your last comment fits in the last category.
    You may be incredulous about Tony’s position, but it would be more helpful to you, him and other observers if you set your inquiries in a different register and tone.
    It could actually be a really interesting conversation to watch.
    Hope you can do that.

  • Dave

    Tony’s silence is deafening. Answer the query Tony. Please, lead by example and put your own words to practice. Where do you lie on the spectrum?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/churchbasementroadshow/ Tony Jones

    Dave, what in the world are you talking about? Because I linked to a friend’s interesting blog post you want me to turn my blog into a personal tell-all? Sorry. Not gonna happen.

  • http://modern-ancient.blogspot.com/ Dave Metz

    Maria,
    Actually, that was Paul condemning homosexual behavior, based in lust, in Romans. Leviticus condemns homosexual behavior between men (the OT never mentions homosexual acts between women), but it also condemns a plethora of things that the modern person would find ridiculous.
    Not to be combative, but just to provide and example.
    Do you think a woman should leave her house for one week out of the month to live in a tent in the backyard (that week would be her menstruation)? The OT commands that.
    To take the homosexual example further… why do people who say God condemns homosexuality no take God’s command to kill homosexuals seriously?
    I am NOT trying to incite a hate crime! I am simply showing that those who argue the bible’s (often stated as “God’s”) condemnation of homosexuals do not seem to be consistent.
    I think, but this is just me, the bible condemns homosexual activity born from lust (as it condemns heterosexual activity born from the same). It also condemns “unnatural” sexual acts. So, if someone is designed with a natural attraction to the same sex, is it natural or unnatural for that person to engage in a loving, monogamous, sexual relationship with someone they are naturally attracted to (homosexual) or unnaturally attracted to (forced heterosexual acts)?

  • Dave

    No Tony, I am not letting you off the hook that easy. You stated: “…gay or straight? Neither. Few of us are. Most of us, instead, are on a spectrum between the two…” Those are your words confirming that you believe what Becky Knight wrote. When you write a sentence as something that you believe, I think an application to your own life would truly show your conviction to what you espouse. Therefore, you owe your “followers” an application. Tell us Tony, where on the spectrum that you proclaim belief in do you lie? Answer or be exposed.

  • Maria Lewis

    Dave,
    Actually if you read Romans 1:26 it says, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.Furthermore, since they did not think it was worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God He gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not be done.”
    God, writing through Paul here, says He gave them over to a DEPRAVED mind. he says it is INDECENT, SHAMEFUL…why would He say this (and let these people “go” over to their evil desires) if it was not wrong? God is always the same, He does not change His mind, why would something that is “indecent, shameful and depraved” be alright now? Also, addressing your OT comments, Hebrews 8:13 says “By calling this covenant “new”, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (NIV) Still, however, we need to love them with the love of Christ.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/churchbasementroadshow/ Tony Jones

    Dave,
    Like Jack Bauer, I don’t negotiate with terrorists.
    Tony

  • http://eyesofhope.wordpress.com Theresa Seeber

    Dave, I understand Tony does not negotiate with terrorists, so he didn’t explain this to you, but those are not actually Tony’s words. If you click on Becky’s link you will see those are her words. So, whereas it may be a provocative thought to try to get Tony in a confession, I don’t think one is forthcoming. May be wrong, but really my only point here is to point out that those weren’t his words. They were Becky’s. :0) Peace.

  • http://trinidadsdagay.blogspot.com Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

    It’s not the Christians that are calling him “gay” at all. It’s the snide, smug triumphalists who want to prove a point that say he is “gay and in denial”.
    No “nuance” from them.

  • http://emergentpillage.blogspot.com/ emergent pillage

    –Like Jack Bauer, I don’t negotiate with terrorists.–
    And one thing I’ll never understand is…how can emergents be fans of the show ’24′? Isn’t it anathema to everything they claim to believe–violence to combat violence, use of physically painful methods to get information, patriotism and nationalism?
    But, it’s good that Jones is like Bauer and not Obama, who would talk with terrorists, or so he has said (and speaking on al Jazeera probably confirms that).

  • Your Name

    Thank you for proving my point Tony. You can write all you like about negotiating but you sir have once again been proven as a fraud who is being blown from belief to belief. I honestly pity you. Again Tony, knowing that it was not your words but your “seal of approval” that what you posted was true, please enlighten us on where you fall on the spectrum. You wrote your sentence preceding the quote/link in your own words. You were proclaiming that people are neither gay or straight and lie on a spectrum. If you truly believe this then you should have no trouble in telling us where you lie on the spectrum and revealing your lusts for men and women. That is what you said. Own it Tony and step up to the plate. Or are you a hypocrite? You sir have an exposed wound in your reasoning and you have an opportunity to close it. Please do so and answer the question: where do you lie on the spectrum of being neither gay or straight????

  • Theresa Seeber

    Dear “Your Name February 4, 2009 2:53 PM”
    You are so angry. Tony said clearly this was not about what you think it is about. He does not have to enter into a debate with you in order to prove some sort of perceived innocence to you. Lord, please heal this person’s pain, and help him or her to have peace. Thank you Jesus for your care and your grace. Please bring peace in the place of division and harmony in the place of anger. Thank you for using us to do your will and please help us not bicker over one anothers’ sendings. Amen.

  • anon

    The truth lies somewhere in the dodging of the question. I enjoy the codependent hanger ons, who fight his battles for him, like real bonified cult leader, with faithful subjects.

  • http://eyesofhope.wordpress.com Theresa Seeber

    ROFL I just stumbled upon this all this time later and saw Anon’s comment. I guess it was aimed at me. Tee hee. Ah, yes, I, the faithful codependent hanger on to my cult leader. That was fun. Peace y’all.


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