Ah, Ted Haggard. He's a great example of how homobigotry can really destroy a human being. He went from being one of the nation's most powerful preachers--albeit as a preacher of the odious "prosperity Gospel"--and an adviser to the President to an insurance salesman and self-described loser with his own entry in in the Urban Dictionary:
A gay man or lesbian, usually closeted, who actively works against gay rights or supports politicians that do so...Haggard is the subject of an upcoming documentary by Alexandra Pelosi, which is why he's back in the news a bit. He reveals that praying away the gay didn't really work for him.
Named after megachurch leader Ted Haggard, who was infamously shown to have taken meth and received massages from a gay escort in private while denouncing the evils of homosexuality in public.
"The reason I kept my personal struggle a secret is because I feared that my friends would reject me, abandon me and kick me out, and the church would exile and excommunicate me. And that happened and more," he says.Yeah, it did, Mr. Haggard, and it happened (and will continue to happen) to a lot more people because you pushed the same message at the front of your church.
This is a tough blog post to write, because I really do want to feel sorry for the man--I don't like seeing anyone unhappy, especially over something as core as their sexuality--and it's clear that he still beats himself up over being gay. He's not being honest with himself, and its causing not only him but his entire family great emotional pain. And yet I also feel a great deal of anger at him, because he's visited that sort of pain on so many other young men and women in his life, and because he continues to perpetuate the stereotype of homosexuality as not only a choice, but as a sinful one that deserves the shunning and rejection he preached for so long.
So here's some advice for Mr. Haggard. Let it go. You're gay. You want redemption? Stop being ashamed of who you are and make room in your faith for others like you--closeted gays who are afraid to come out because they've been told they were wrong for being who they were. There's nothing unnatural about being gay, but there is unnatural about lying to yourself about it.