The shame of the religious right

by Beacon Staff • February 28, 2007

How did he do it? Did he use a new vaccine or an anti-gay pill?

No, he's done what everyone in the public eye seems to do when they get in trouble these days: he entered rehab.,Hallelujah! It's a miracle! Ted Haggard has been "cured" of the worst of all diseases: homosexuality.

How did he do it? Did he use a new vaccine or an anti-gay pill?

No, he's done what everyone in the public eye seems to do when they get in trouble these days: he entered rehab. After an entire three weeks in therapy he has apparently triumphed over his homosexual urges.

Haggard is the former pastor of the evangelical New Life Church of Colorado, which has approximately 14,000 members. Last fall, a former male prostitute named Mike Jones came forward claiming that Haggard had been coming to him on a regular basis for sex and drugs for three years.

Disgraced, Haggard left the church that he founded over 20 years ago.

Yet the Lord works in mysterious ways. So mysterious, in fact, that a press conference was held on Feb. 5 to declare Haggard "completely heterosexual." His relationship with Jones was described as "acting out."

He is now reportedly attending a Christian support group twice a week as part of his treatment.

Now that Haggard is freed of his homosexuality, he should work on a few more sins he is not cleansed of.

For instance, there is his lying, which as he surely knows is outlawed in one of the Ten Commandments. Haggard initially lied to his congregation and the media about his activities.

He is also lying to himself about who he really is. He was a leading force in the charge for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Colorado, which was passed on the November ballot in 2006.

Banning gay marriage is a political, religious and philosophical view held by Haggard and many evangelical Christians. Haggard's "do as I say, not as I do" mentality on leadership is appalling and should not be tolerated by churchgoers.

Hypocrisy is a no-no according to the Bible also: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Yet the religious right is casting stones at gay couples trying to be happy and raise families.

Interestingly, when such a high person in the evangelical world, such as Ted Haggard, is exposed, he is shown compassion and sympathy. Then he is miraculously absolved of sin and "cured."

Why no stones for Haggard? Is the message one of cure the powerful and condemn the rest?

Of course, homosexuality is not a disease and therefore has no cure. It is not a choice, it is simply who people are.

Ted Haggard wasn't acting out. He was being himself.

While it is hard for some people to take this as fact, we must still accept people for who they are. Beliefs are strong, but love for fellow human beings should be stronger.

Christians especially should be outraged over the treatment of homosexuals in our society. They should be angry with their hypocritical political and religious figures. Vice President Dick Cheney, for example, has a lesbian daughter who is expecting a child.

How is it that Cheney can be comfortable being a leading member of a political party or religious group that condemns the lives of gay Americans?

Stupidity cannot be fixed, but there is a cure for ignorance, one Ted Haggard and the conservative Christian right should be seeking.,James O'Leary