Friday, November 03, 2006



More rightwing hypocrisy to report, this time not coming from the ranks of Congress, which is something of a shock. This time, one of the most powerful and influencial men in the religious right movement has apparently found his hand in the cookie jar. Today's subject is a Mr. Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing 30 million conservative Christians. He is also the founder and senior pastor of the 14,000(!) member New Life Church.
So, what's the hypocrisy, you ask?
Well, a male prostitute has stepped forward and has alleged a three-year relationship with Haggard.
So, yet another religious nut is apparently doing the nastiest of nasties. Who cares? Happens all the time, right? Well, Haggard is a bit of a different nut. From via Americablog:

We asked for an explanation from Salon's Lauren Sandler, the author of "Righteous: Dispatches From the Evangelical Youth Movement." Here's what she tells us:

"Ted Haggard may not just be the most important evangelical you've never heard of, but the most important evangelical, period...."

Which is why it matters so that Haggard seems to have fallen. The Mark Foley scandal inspired plenty of people to question their devotion to the Republican Party. But Foley is a politician; most evangelicals would already suspect him of thinly cloaking his identity in a three-piece, pinstriped superego. Haggard, on the other hand, has always represented the real deal. He's the one John Wayne would have tapped for his posse. He's the one who represents most how deeply political this evangelical population can be, while always disdaining the notion of politics, always cleaving toward the ranch rather than the Hill."

If that makes it sound like Haggard and Bush are peas in a pod, well, they are. Haggard participates -- or at least he did -- in weekly White House conference calls, and he and the president like to joke that the only thing they disagree on is what truck to drive."

Haggard has been preaching against homosexuality with his typical charismatic fire-and-brimstone fervor ever since he founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Probably even before then. And if he's right that there is a special place in hell for gay fornicators and drug abusers -- not to mention for liars and charlatans -- I guess he knows where he's headed."

So, a man who vociferously preaches about the evils of homosexuality and has the ear of George Bush on a weekly basis has been accused of what I would think is the very worst kind of smear and what does he do? Does he fight tooth and nail defending himself against these baseless accusations? Um, no. He resigns from his position as president of the aforementioned National Association of Evangelicals as well as his position within his megachurch.

Now, I do not mean to imply that this is necessarily the actions of a guilty man, but they certainly do not appear to be the actions of a man who has been wrongly accused of a sin he spends so much time railing against. Time and various internal investigations may ultimately reveal the truth, but in the court of public opinion (or at least my opinion) is actions do not appear to indicate a wrongly accused man.
UPDATE - So, I guess he did do it, or at least, "some" of the claims. From KKTV (via Americablog):

A sudden about-face in the scandal facing New Life Church's pastor.

After Pastor Ted Haggard went public Wednesday night denying allegations of a homosexual affair, senior church officials told KKTV 11News Thursday evening, Pastor Ted Haggard has admitted to some of the claims made by a former male escort. The church's Acting Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley, tells KKTV 11 News that Pastor Haggard has admitted to some of the indiscretions claimed by Mike Jones, but not all of them.

More conservative hypocrisy, ladies and gents.

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