Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#164: Ted Haggard (?)

Ted Haggard, who is not gay and known for saying that “evangelicals have the best sex life of any group”, is best known for being exposed as a methamphetamine user and a regular customer of Denver's male prostitutes in 2007 (of course not using money donated to his church by his flock). That does not make him a loon. What could perhaps make him a loon is the aftermath and rationalization (in addition to certain wacky beliefs he had beforehand). After a month of, well, therapy, however, he was pronounced “100% heterosexual” (which he asserted the whole time anyway) by his colleague Tim Ralph and followed his ministry’s advice of pursuing a secular career. Prior to his downfall, Haggard had immense influence reaching all the way to the White House; the scandal (and other scandals following in its trail) has led to a quick fall from grace of his New Life Church. Haggard was originally exposed since his masseur got tired of Haggard’s hypocrisy (Haggard was simultaneously campaigning for a law to ban gay marriage).

The reason Haggard did what he did was because Satan was present in his Church. If Satan can enter a church and provide the flock with impure thoughts, one wonders who wrote the Bible, but that is another matter. He has given his name to Haggard’s law. It got Haggard’s name since Haggard beat Larry Craig to it by a few months (along with an almost endless row of other conservative fundamentalist unnaturally preoccupied with other people’s sexual behavior). Haggard hasn’t tackled the episode very well (though he has, of course, made money off of it – separating people from their money is a skill that he had long before honed to excellence).

Contrary to popular belief, Haggard is relatively moderate (for an evangelical) in his religious views, and had never prior to the scandal been making any strong condemnations of homosexuality.

Thus, little of what’s mentioned qualifies him a loon (his reactions might in part be ascribed to the deleterious effect the incident had on his career). This one, though, will probably do the trick.

On the other hand, Haggard was also an ally in the fight against global warming, rather rare for radical wingnuts.
Diagnosis: The jury is still out on this one. If Ted Haggard is a loon, it would be in virtue of being a leader of an evangelical megachurch, possible, undisclosed beliefs about reality that may have come with that, and his sympathy for creationism. He doesn’t have much power anymore, however.

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