Sunday, 5 November 2006
Ted is feeling haggard
The shade of Garner Ted Armstrong smirked at me over the top of my computer screen the other day. There below was the gory tale of another preacher named Ted with his substantial reputation caught firmly in his zipper.
Ted Haggard is a prominent Evangelical poster-boy, a pal of George W. Bush, and on the record as being very "old testamental" about morality, and unyielding on hot topics like civil rights for gay people. Ted is a Bible thumper par excellence, but on the caring, sharing side of the Great Divide between Fundamentalists and their PR-enhanced brethren in the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals, of which he is president... now past president)
And Ted, it seems, has been a very naughty boy indeed. Ted says he just had a nice gay massage, and bought, but did not partake of, methamphetamine. Mike Jones, the other party to the incidents, claims it was a great deal more.
Now, to put things in context, does it really matter who does what to whom? If the used car salesman I picked up my Toyota from is an adulterer, it doesn't bother me. If the woman who fields phone enquiries at the bank is doing a spot of moonlight bonking, that's her business. And why all the fuss over a gay guy (who has been scrupulously honest about living in a longstanding committed relationship) being ordained as a deacon in the New Zealand Anglican church (actually, that one makes sense: all that flowing Anglican clerical garb...)
But Haggard's alleged homosexuality and drug use isn't the issue. His actions may be unwise and amoral, but in the normal course of events, so what?
The problem with Ted Haggard is the sheer, blatant, bloody-minded hypocrisy. To moralistically hold up one standard to the world while you're indulging in the exact opposite behavior - is plain despicable. He isn't selling cars, and he isn't fielding calls on savings plans. He has been brutal in passing moralistic judgment on those who see the world in a different light from his own.
The other Ted, the late "son of the legend" one, might not agree. William B. Hinson, a WCG minister of times past, related a little-known incident in his book Broadway to Armageddon in which the young Evangelist was picked up by LA police for, shall we say "questionable activities" involving a fellow member of the male persuasion. It took, Hinson suggested, a lot of effort for Dad to pull his errant heir's chestnuts out of that particular roasting pan. From that point on, granting the veracity of Hinson's account, Ted set about creating an impregnable reputation for red-blooded heterosexuality. Most people would agree that he mightily succeeded beyond all reasonable measure (and then some!) In fact, it explains a lot... But that's a digression.
Haggard has now been booted out of his New Life pulpit. That only seems just, if only barely adequate. The question remains, once he has adequately repented (or should that be spelled with the middle vowel as an "a"?) will he do what his namesake failed in so miserably, learn a little humanity and humility before casting about in indignant judgment on others? At the moment Haggard's website lists among his beliefs this sociopathic assertion: "After living one life on earth, the unbelievers will be judged by God and sent to hell where they will be eternally tormented with the devil and the fallen angels." Too bad if he finds himself in the VIP preachers' section along with the other hypocrites gnashing their molars (Mt. 24:51.)
Related link: (BBC) Top US pastor sacked amid sex row
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The Armstrong culture wanted to be viewed as "masculine" vs. what they viewed mainstream Christianity as, which was "feminized" or "touchy/feely".
Hence, the idea of homosexuality existing in the COG, or being addressed in any constructive manner was unthinkable and unaddressed. But exist it does. From online forums linking homosexual COG members for "Feast Sites" to closeted homosexual ministers.
There is no disputing that a top unmarried close aide of Tkach Sr.
was homosexual. (Names withheld to protect the innocent) I knew
several Ambassador College male students who insisted that this man
(not Tkach Sr., the aide) was constantly trying to get all of them
to "skinny dip" together in the underground pool up in Pasadena.
Another different aide, who was a writer, (this one was married) ,
propositioned other male students blantantly and directly. This aide
help to write some of the "doctrinal papers". This was NOT Mike
Feasel, but someone else.
Tkach Sr. was not homosexual, but did have illicit liasons and a
relationship with his secretary. This was common knowledge and is
discussed in the "Ambassdor Report". Question we should ask of Tkach
Sr is...so why was he tolerant of his homosexual staffers? Tkach Sr.
used to like to project a "Macho Image" so this relationship is odd.
One rumor that would fly around from time to time was that GTA was
bisexual. The idea was that HWA told Ted that his trysts with the
opposite sex were ok, as long as he stayed away from homosexuality. I
have never seen or heard of any evidence to support to support this
claim. I do not believe it to be true concerning GTA, although his
heterosexual adventures are still plenty wild enough to curl anyones
So, Bill, you're going to let us guess who these homosexuals might have been?
Im willing to identify myself as a poster here.
You are on my case for not "outing" folks, when you post via the "annoymous" moniker??
Please, dont make me laugh so hard!
You choose your phraseology
with great care..to have one's
"substantial reputation firmly caught in his zipper" would surely be akin to the "PAINFUL TRUTH".
I notice that many of these American preachers quote writers, and that LONGFELLOW is especially quoted.
"Moonlight bonking" could be more euphemistically described as " lunar lascivity"
It is about time that Ted Haggard took himself in hand.
You have excelled yourself, intentionally or unintentionally in the judicious use of language.
You use the words "barely adequate" which fit in with the subject being discussed.
One notices that Ted Haggard is wearing a floral arrangement around his neck,commonly called a "LEIS" Is it possible that homonymic entendre applies in this situation?
A Nonny Mouse
I agree with you, Gavin. I don't generally care what others do, assuming that it's between two consenting adults, but I do mind hypocrisy.
There have always been gays in Armstrongism and still are to this day in all the splinter cults. I am one of them, gay, out and NOT a part of Armstrongism any more—but still a very active dedicated Christian who is beloved by Jesus Christ.
There were countless gays in Ambassador College/University (on all three campuses) in spite of all the hot air from Rod Meredith. There were also numerous gay and lesbians in the ministry/leadership of the church.
I know very few who ‘struggled’ with it. The healthy ones recognized that it was not something they chose for themselves, did not need to be fixed and got on with life.
The ones that will have to answer for the gay issues in the church are the Rod Meredith’s who blatantly lie about gays just as Haggard did. They made a lifestyle of demonizing gay and lesbians all in the name of their ‘christ’.
Haggard is a great example for those fools that make the claim that ‘we chose to be gay.’ If Haggard chose to be gay then he could have stopped it immediately when he knew he was. But he was not able to.
He has known his gay feelings since his teen years and says he has ‘always struggled with it.” He was not able to cure something he was born with in spite of all of his years of ‘struggling.’ For all of his super Christian hype over the years as he demonized gays, he now has destroyed his church, his gamily and his life because he could NOT change.
He will be abandoned by Falwell, Kennedy, Dobson, Robertson and all the other hypocrites like a hot potato. These religious frauds will show their true colors (just as Armstrongism has done) and cast him out and demonize him.
I do feel sorry for him in a way. I know what h e is going through, I did it, but quickly realized that being gay does not define me as a Christian or as a person. Haggard now has a wonderful opportunity to apologize to all the gays and lesbians he has lied about over the years, ask their forgiveness and ask for their help in his life right now. All the Robertson’s, Dobson’s and Meredith’s be damned because the amazing grace of Jesus Christ is a warm embrace of love!
Haggard prayed the Sunday before he was dismissed:
"Heavenly Father give us grace and mercy, help us this next week and a half as we go into national elections and Lord we pray for our country. Father we pray lies would be exposed and deception exposed. Father we pray that wisdom would come upon our electorate ..."`
God heard his prayer and answered it. The liar was exposed. God is great!
Here is the way it freaking goes: (1) It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice and (2) persons who spend too much time being agreeable, or sociable or focus on being likeable basically are in someway lacking substance. This is what passes for a philosophical debate in our news, from the business pages (where coalition building and empowerment are contrasted with controllership, the ability to make tough decisions, and vision) to our sports pages, to our comics pages. And then suddenly, spring loaded out of nowhere, a somewhat famous married Republican with children is—SPLAT!-- exposed as having serial Gay flings. There have been three in the past year or so. So far the toll is one Congressman, one Governor and now this Haggard crackpot. And then, nothing. No debate. No examination. Too touchy. Can we get back to the nice vs important debate, because its permutations are sooo important.
Revealed recently is the FACT that the entire administrative arm of the federal Republican Party—a party that hates gays—is run by gays. They all have gay administrative assistants. Um, yeah, well so that’s sort of an open secret. Pardon? A pox on both their houses, I say.
But more importantly, what has been revealed is that men who are in arguably happy marriages which have produced children are keeping gay lovers on the side--and that this might just be a normal part of the human sexual condition. These are men who are in love with their wives and are obviously capable of being aroused by them. Thus far the only public figure to even speak on this issue has been former Republican Presidential candidate Pete Forbes. His father, the late publisher Malcom Forbes, was apparently one of these men: a devoted and loving husband, doting father and keeper of gay lovers. Even our own gay poster here seems to want to dismiss this type of person as repressed gay. No wonder they stay in the closet. No one wants them. Time to forget about them until the next high functioning example of the breed pops into public view.
Although I am neither nice nor important, I too prefer the common philosophy and its debate over nice over important. Beats the heck out of reevaluating the whole human sexual condition, doesn’t it?
I dispute the idea that the "top unmarried close aid of Tkach, Sr." was gay. I have known this person since the mid-Seventies and have seen no evidence to support this assertion, nothwithstanding the "testimony" of some male students. In addition, I have known and been around hundreds of AC students, where the "rumor mill" was in hyperdrive and I know of only two gay students. Gays typically greatly overestimate their numbers, in the COG and outside.
Regarding Haggard, I would venture that many more people in the ranks of the evangelical leadership knew about his proclivities than will admit. At this point, the leaderhsip up in Colorado Springs seems to be rushing to closure to prevent a more in depth investigation.
Is there room for compassion? Ted Haggard resigned and confessed. He didn't try to besmirch the man who outed him. He described himself as a deceiver and liar. How often do we see high-level officials, whether clerics or politicians, admit to their wrongdoing? Usually they dissemble, deny, and delay even the merest acknowledgment of guilt.
His confession reminded me of Paul in Romans 7 describing the anguish of sometimes doing what he didn't want to do. What was Paul's sin? We don't know. Even as I don't want to hear a detailed explanation of Ted Haggard's sins -- only prurience would require that.
Had GTA responded and been dealt with as quickly and openly as Ted Haggard has, WCG's history would have been healthier.
As for Ted Haggard's former colleagues abandoning him -- I don't think so. He's confessed. He's asking for help. This is when they will come to his aid. Not everyone in Christendom is a cynic or venal hypocrite.
During my years at AC, and in the Pasadena area, I knew of about half a dozen gay people. One usually found out about these things following the individuals' disfellowshipment. It was the ministers who generally "outed" such people as they marked them from the pulpit.
During the '60s, virtually all sex was repressed in the WCG and on the AC campus, so very few people, be they gay or straight, ever even made suggestive or seductive remarks. I understand that this sort of behavior came into play later in the seventies, as marijuana and accreditation became some of the major influences on campus.
I don't believe the anonymous person above, who chided "lussenheide" for more details was that far out of line, by the way. Gavin's original theme pointed out the disingenuousness or hypocrisy of living a lifestyle counter to what one taught to others. If GTA, and HWA deserved exposure for their hypocrisy, so did any of the gay ministers, administrators or teachers. I realize that "outing" violates secular ethics, but it certainly would be in keeping with the ethics and moral teachings of most Xtian churches.
What a Meth....
Thpiritual meth, or phythical meth?
In the Peter Principle, Dr. Lawrence Peter gives an example of incompetence: A homosexual marriage counsellor.
Be that as it may be, I don't really think the issue is really hypocrisy, but something much worse: Incompetence.
Perhaps you don't agree with Dr. Peter's example, so Seventyish, but consider a pedophile baby sitter.
The Armstrongist churches of God ministry have shown themselves to be incompetent in transcendental ways beyond what any normal bumbling incompetent could achieve. The leadership was adulterous in an environment which was supposed to show the way to righteousness into the Kingdom of God. They had neither the right nor the qualifications to ever begin to do so.
It is my belief that our illustrious Mr. Haggard was incompetent and that tacitly people object to the incompetence but use the more popular hypocrisy as an explanation why what TH did was wrong.
FYI, Christianity Today published an article on one of its blogs and included reader responses (http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/11/the_haggard_tru.html).
CT also has a section of articles about and by Ted Haggard (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/special/haggard.html).
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