« NARN Scoop: The New Wetterling Ad | Main | Swingin' Saddam »
I haven't remarked much on the Ted Haggard story for a couple of reasons. First, all we had so far was a series of allegations and some dispute over their truthfulness, all of which got resolved this evening when the New Life Church fired Haggard this evening. The second reason is because Haggard is such a marginal figure that the attention he's received seems like overkill.
I'm not an Evangelical, so perhaps I missed something about Haggard, but he has almost completely avoided my radar screen. The New Life Church only has 14,000 members, about the same size as my local Catholic parish, and it seems absurd to think that the pastor of a moderate-sized church, even in Evangelical circles, has much political clout. I met Haggard in 2005 at Justice Sunday II, and I interviewed him briefly at the event. It impressed me so little that I didn't even remember it until I saw his picture.
For what it's worth, Haggard's activities do strike me as hypocritical. My live blog from Justice Sunday II repeatedly mentions my discomfort with the focus on homosexual activity, although I can't recall clearly whether Haggard participated in that. (Justice Sunday III did not make that mistake.) Regardless, his participation in homosexual activities while decrying them from the pulpit is the essence of hypocrisy, and he deserves whatever criticism he gets for that. I'd add that the ridiculous statement that he put out earlier claiming that he bought methamphetamine from the gay prostitute but didn't actually use it reminds me of a Presidential candidate who admitted to smoking pot but declining to inhale.
However, the attention Haggard's fall has received is nothing short of breathtaking. Some pundits act as though Haggard was a political figure that outshone Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Lou Sheldon put together, and that his disgrace somehow reflects on Republicans across the nation. Haggard didn't get star billing at JSII, and didn't even get invited to JSIII, and most of us had never heard of him before. While Haggard certainly had influence on his congregation, I doubt that Haggard had much impact beyond that, and even his contribution to JSII only rated two sentences in my lengthy live blog of the event.
It seems that some people want to exploit the personal disgrace of a minor figure within the Christian community for cheap political gain. Hypocrisy, it seems, is not limited to the pulpit in this case.
UPDATE: Monkei points out that Haggard also served as president of the National Evangelical Association. Like Monkei, I guess I should get around more, because I've never heard of them, either.
UPDATE II: One commenter has challenged my accusation of hypocrisy, but they have it incorrect. I didn't call Haggard a hypocrite for sinning, nor did I ever call his entire church hypocritical. Haggard is a hypocrite if he spoke out against gays and gay relationships while at the same time engaging in one himself. That doesn't make New Life Church hypocritical, any more than having a small percentage of priests molesting children makes the Catholic Church hyporcritical.
Also, another commenter (Dave?) goes on about how Time Magazine says Haggard was the most influential evangelical minister, and talks about his meetings with George Bush. Well, I just did a Lexis/Nexis search on Bush and Ted Haggard for the first nine months of the year, and I got only 41 hits from its vast repository of all American media outlets -- and most of those are in reference to Colorado's "one man, one woman" statute. It sounds very much like Haggard got invited to some White House prayer breakfasts, but other than that was a non-factor outside Colorado. Like I said earlier, I'm a rather close follower of Bush administration news, and I didn't recognize the name at all - and I had actually met the man.Sphere It View blog reactions
TrackBack URL for this entry is
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Haggard Exits:
» Ted Haggard Shows the Virtue of Hypocrisy from Jon Swift
Liberals seem to think it is important for preachers to practice what they preach, but I think they are just trying to distract us by making us pay attention to the man behind the curtain instead of the important things he is saying. [Read More]
Tracked on November 6, 2006 2:03 PM
My Other Blog!
Comment Moderation Policy - Please Read!
Skin The Site
Des Moines Register
International Herald Tribune
The Weekly Standard
The New Republic
AP News (Yahoo! Headlines)
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
- dave on Another National Health Care System Horror Story
- brooklyn on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- rbj on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- Robin S on Requiem For A Betrayed Hero
- Ken on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- Robin S. on Requiem For A Betrayed Hero
- RBMN on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- NoDonkey on Another National Health Care System Horror Story
- Robin Munn on Fred Thompson Interview Transcript
- filistro on When Exactly Did Art Die?
Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!