Monday, November 06, 2006

All ye who have a free hand cast the first stone (thank you, Dennis Miller, for that line)

Well, I must say that the events of the last few days regarding Rev. Ted Haggard have been quite eventful.

I mean, look at it - he went from not even knowing a particular guy existed to "well, I bought meth and a massage session from him" to "oh yes, I'm guilty of everything they said I did and please oh please forgive me..."

Plus, his wife's sticking by his side.

In my youth, I would have pointed to him and said, "See? See? Why does MY life suck? I haven't engaged in drug use or illicit massages. Why does God hate ME?"

Now, I'm just like, "Meh."


Two reasons:

1) Apathy (come on, the truth shall set you free, y'all...)

2) My belief that just because God forgives Rev. Haggard doesn't mean Haggard will wake up smelling fresh as a daisy.

Nope. Far from it.

He's got to figure out so many things. He's got to figure out where he is sexually...and let's just say that if he's confused now, it's not going to get any easier. He may have some respite from the congregation's eye, but not much.

Also, his wife may be standing by him, but that doesn't mean he's in the clear as far as she's concerned. He may have purchased a one-way ticket to Couchville along with that meth and massage combo. He's probably sitting up late at night watching "Highway to Heaven" reruns and smacking himself on the forehead..."STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!"

Finally, he's human, but he's also a minister. When you're a minister, people expect you to be a perfect person, inside and out. You are magnified and scrutinized all at once. It's not fair or right - it just is. For every church member you hear stating forgiveness of this pastor, there are others who don't speak up because they may feel betrayed, scared, angry, or combinations thereof.

It's not a new thing either, this fall from grace.

Hell, look at Jim Jones in the late '70s.
*****Editorial note: I must correct myself. Ed H. states the following:

Well, in fairness, Jim Jones didn't exactly fall from grace. He was what he was, right up to the end, and with a few exceptions, like the ones who contacted congressman Leo Ryan, his followers never did feel he fell from grace. They were right there with him, up to the end, drinking the Kool Aid even though they knew what it contained. Was he crazy? Yeah, of course, but never a hypocrite...He was upfront about everything he did.

I just wrote a defense of Jim Jones. Man, that's weird.

Look at Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, Jim & Tammy Bakker in the '80s.

Look at the ongoing problems within the Catholic Church with the ways they've handled priests that sexually abuse children and teens. Many parishes are going bankrupt because of it.

But my question is do you forgive a pastor of something that his/her church does not condone? To many denominations, homosexuality is the Devil's work. Many people think you can be "cured" of it, like a cold, or cast the gender preference out like a demon.

It makes me think of the movie "Heathers", where the premise is that Winona Ryder and Christian Slater accidentally kill the most popular girl in school, and then they kill two of the star football players.

They attend the funeral for the football players, and the father of one of the players is up at the front, eulogizing his son.

He says, "My son's a homosexual, and I love him. I love my dead gay son!"

Christian Slater's character mutters something to the effect of, "Wonder how he'd react if that limp wrist had a pulse?"

How, indeed?

I think the first step is to separate the action from the person. I'm no theologian, but it makes sense to me.

From that point, I'm not sure what to say. I try to look at it this way: I'm not perfect, and neither is anyone else. If this world was only allowed to contain "perfect" people, there would be disagreement on what perfection is supposed to be.

Furthermore, it'd be too damned quiet.

So that's that.