Friday, November 03, 2006

Haggard Shadows (Ted Haggard, John Kerry, and double standards)

Two stories hit this week, John Kerry and Ted Haggard.  While every commentator and blogger in America seems to have expressed an opinion on Senator Kerry’s slip of the tongue, the Haggard matter started surprisingly quiet.  Haggard is the head of the New Life Church  in Colorado Springs, a place many consider the capital of the American evangelical movement.  While he keeps a low profile relative to James Dobson and Pat Robertson, Haggard actually has much more political pull than either in that he controlled an audience of some 30 million members as the head of the National Association of Evangelicals.  He has been closely aligned to President Bush over the last six years. In fact, he once joked that the “Only thing they haven’t agreed upon was about which pickup truck to cruise in.”

Haggard and his flock have been front and center in Colorado’s current ballot initiative to ban gay marriage.  This week Mike Jones, a gay male prostitute, came forward to tell the world that one of his clients was Ted Haggard.   Haggard immediately took a leave so his board could investigate the claims.  At first, those around Haggard denied the claims categorically and hinted that as a celebrity, Haggard, had simply been targeted.

Today, Haggard admitted to buying methamphetamine from Mike Jones and having gotten a massage from him after being referred to Jones by a Denver Hotel. He insists that he never used the meth nor did he have sex with Jones. He just bought the meth out of curiosity. By the way, I looked it up and Colorado Springs is a one to two hour drive from Denver.  I wonder if Mike Jones knows Jeff Gannon.  There seems to be some sort of odd network that keeps happening gay male prostitutes into the midst of conservative leaders.  

Before we suggest that Ted Haggard is a hypocrite straight out of Elmer Gantry or Billy Hargis, let me make a couple points.  

  1. Haggard is married to a woman and has children.  He has never sought to marry Mike Jones or any other man.

  1. He only bought drugs from a male masseuse who happens to advertise his sexual services on the internet.  There is no proof at this point that Ted Haggard actually uses meth or had sex with a man.  

  1. There were similar likely unfounded rumors about the President with whom Haggard agrees on everything and his college friend and ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe.  There are also rumors that the President has been sexually involved with his Secreatary of State, who is female.  Clearly, they can’t both be true.  This would suggest that neither rumor is true and therefore Haggard couldn’t possibly be secretly bisexual.  I’m sure the President will continue to stand behind Ted Haggard or vice versa depending on their preference.

  1. In any case, I’m virtually certain that if Ted Haggard did anything that Mike Jones accused him of, this is the exception that proves the rule that Republicans are simply more trustworthy than Democrats.  I also point out that Mike Jones was never Ted Haggard’s intern and none of this happened in the White House.  Mike Jones is also not a Congressional Page as far as I know and is well above the age of consent.  There’s also no suggestion that Ted Haggard took a bribe from defense contractors or that he ever attended any party sponsored by Playboy Magazine.

  1. Most important this week, Haggard’s misstep was not a public slip of the tongue.  I know we would have liked him to say that he had no idea who Mike Jones was, but Haggard refused to cut and run.  He set things to rest by announcing, “I did not have sex with that man, I merely bought uppers from him and paid him to give me a massage.”  Obviously, Jones has no credibility and must be a liberal plant.  While it’s been a couple days since Haggard went on leave, I’m sure he will apologize if it turns out that he did anything wrong.  Perhaps, he’s doing it this way so he can continue to collect his salary like that other victim of circumstance, Bob Ney.

To me like waterboarding for Dick Cheney, this is a no brainer.  It’s obvious to me why there’s been so much more written about John Kerry than Ted Haggard, the spiritual leader of 30 million Republican voters.  What John Kerry did was so much worse and so much more disturbing than what any Republican has done or been caught doing in the last few months.  Obviously a decorated vet’s attitude toward soldiers in the field should be judged by ten ambiguous misread words from a script rather than say pulling someone out of the water in the midst of enemy fire.  After all, our slips reveal so much about who we really are and what we really feel and words always speak louder than actions.  

This may seem strange, but I wish Ted Haggard and his family well.  All of us are human and fallible.  I also believe that whole Jungian business about having a shadow self.  The louder someone proclaims or protests something, the more likely it is that whatever they’re being vocal about is something they’re afraid of in themselves.  I suspect Ted Haggard, like Roy Cohn, worked too hard to banish his own shadow and left him a tortured soul (though I point out this kind of torture does not violate the Geneva convention).    

For the last 5 years, I’ve heard one thing from Republicans.  “We’re the ones who care about your security.  We’re the ones you want to trust to protect you.”  Every time I check the facts, I’m made all too aware of the shadows these boasts leave behind.

The act looked pretty good in 2002 and 2004.  I have to say that in the first week of November 2006, it’s looking more and more haggard.  If you study hard and do your homework well, you'll see the candidates clearly enough to see their shadows before you go to the polls, maybe we won’t get stuck sending our children to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Lebanon in the next six years.

link to Harper's article on Haggard and Colorado Springs


At 11/04/2006 07:17:00 AM, Blogger Malott said...

To me, the story here is that Haggard's problems made it into the news at all - at least outside Colorado.

Isn't this just the Democrats and MSM coming up with dirt on conservative Christians and trying to tie them to the White House and Republicans?

Why else would this story be in the news?

At 11/04/2006 08:04:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Yep, you front an organization that represents 30 million evangelical Christians and you confess to buying meth from a gay prostitute between advising the president about who you want on the Supreme Court and it shouldn't be news. It's not a national story even at a human interest level that this is the same man who's a national leader in opposing gay marriage.

Why is the dirt there in the first place and why is there so much of it?

At 11/05/2006 12:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a man, Mr. Haggard, who has a weekly conference call with the president of the United States and who insists on vehemently condemning millions of our brothers and sisters not only in a vicious drumbeat to a huge baying audience but into the very blindfolded law itself.

The president in our republic is supposed to be a citizen servant. If someone gets to shout in his ear and you and I don't get to even whisper a thought or two, the craven hypocrisises of that shouter certainly are news.

At 11/05/2006 06:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted Haggard is a sinner, not a hypocrite. He has a high moral standard and has failed to live up to it. Contrast that to the liberals who have low moral standards that are easy to live up to because they embrace and justify sin. Ted knows what he did was wrong and will go through a healing and restoration process that will take years. Liberals don't acknowledge sin, they justify and continue to live in it.

At 11/05/2006 08:41:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I had always understood a hypocrite to be an individual who verbally endorsed or claimed one set of values then lived another.

I would think there are two sets of sins in the Haggard matter from an evangelical point of view. The first would be the act of buying drugs and likely having gay sex. The second would be lying about who really was (the hypocrisy).

I'm not aware of liberals endorsing a low moral standard. In fact, I know a number of liberals with exceptionally high moral standards. You, however, don't seem to have very high personal moral standards given the way you judge liberals.

At 11/05/2006 10:45:00 PM, Blogger inkyhack said...

To Anonymous: A person who can not live by his own morals has no morals. Haggard and the current crop of Republicans can't seem to live by their own ethics, therefore, they have none. Say what you will about liberal beliefs (I mean, the whole all men are created equal thing is suspicious at best) but at least it's a belief system they live by.

Chance: Wow, you had a reactionary conservative visit your board. I'm impressed. I didn't know they could read. I just thought GOD personally dictated everything to them.

At 11/06/2006 02:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly will embrace and justify sin if it helps me avoid the plague of rampaging piety the High Moral Standards folks proclaim.

Sin seeker, c'est moi.

At 11/06/2006 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

You know, I was thinking about this last night. I'm actually glad that Malott and anonymous showed up here.

Having someone disagree always pushes me to think about what I've said from other angles. I've never liked the echo-chamber nature of the blogosphere.

At the same time, there was a part of me that certainly thought, "you might look hypocrite up in a dictionary" before telling people what a "hypocrite" is and isn't.
I do think the revivalist Christian notion is that "we are all sinners", but as far as I know it's never been "we are all hypocrites" before God. The latter makes it way too hard to run a religion.

At 11/06/2006 03:31:00 PM, Blogger None said...

Other points of view are never a bad thing. Polls are interesting, even better is when people explain how they think. Its safe to say I disagree with Malott and Anon. Still, it doesnt make be think them any less American.

At 11/06/2006 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I've noticed on a couple of blogs though that conservative bloggers have been commenting on "progressive" blogs. Wonder if this is like the robocalls... :}....


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