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(un)holy tryst batman...

there’s an evangelical in my closet! who has just now stepped aside

Apparently, he sees things other people don’t. He’s seen angels and demons and blood on his hands. Sometimes, he sees things before they happen. I doubt he saw this coming, or, he must’ve lived dreading the day it would.

And, that will be the end of my making light of this.

In matters such as these, not sex, but Christian reporting, I turn to, who else, but Jeff Sharlett?. His piece on Haggard, linked to in the above link, in Harper’s May 2005, was really, really good. Critical, but not unduely so.

Sharlett concludes his little bit on Haggard’s recent appearance in main-stream news:

The downfall of Ted Haggard is not just another tale of hypocrisy, it’s a parable of the paradoxes at the heart of American fundamentalism. I wrote about the role of sex in Ted’s theology, but removed it from the final edit of the story (some of it I refashioned into a short essay on Christian Right’s men’s sex books for Nerve). I made the mistake of viewing Ted’s sex and his religion of free market economics as separate spheres. The truth, I suspect, is that they’re intimately bound in a worldview of “order,” one to which it turns out even Ted cannot conform.

(K, you’ll be glad that he takes on Wild at Heart in the Nerve piece—which deals quite frankly with the homoeroticism of manly-men Christian language.)

This is an all too tragic story of evangelical sexuality. One that also rears an equally ugly head in the life of Dr. W. David Hager and the sexual abuse he routinely submitted his wife to all the while believing it was his God-given right and duty to police the amarital sexuality of others.

I am curious to see what Haggard does and says, now that he has resigned. Will this end in a Jimmy Swaggart baptism of tears? Or will he write his own Confession more ala McGreevey? Supposing Jones’ story of an “Art” coming to him in the night is true, how will the good Dr. Dobson, also of Colorado, also a kingmaker, also extreemly vocal against homosexuality, treat him?



I keep thinking, George W. Bush wasn’t the only man TH could call at a moment’s notice…

He may very well be innocent. We don’t know for sure yet. Though if I had to put money on it, I’d bet it happened. Who resigns from their post merely because of a wild accusation if there’s nothing to it?

Nevermind. He’s admitted to some of the charges. Well, this is going to be a juicy scandal.

you’re right, he may be “innocent”... we don’t know.

it took much more for delay to resign with this jewel of a speech

“You can’t prove to me one thing that I have done for my own personal gain,” he added. Yes, I play golf. I’m very proud of the fact that I play golf. It’s the only thing that I do for myself. And when you go to a country and you’re there for seven days and you take an afternoon off to play golf, what does the national media write? All about the golf, not about the meeting that went to. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done. I’ve never done anything in my political career for my own personal gain. You can look at my bank account and my house to understand that.

“My faith is who I am,”

“I said a little prayer before I actually did the fingerprint thing, and the picture,” he said. “My prayer was basically: ‘Let people see Christ through me. And let me smile.’ Now, when they took the shot, from my side, I thought it was fakiest smile I’d ever given. But through the camera, it was glowing. I mean, it had the right impact. Poor old left couldn’t use it at all.”

but, you’re right, he may be “innocent”

i keep putting that in scare quotes, because of something he is not innocent… namely, “faith-based” pandering and the use and abuse of christianity to advance a puritanical piety that none can keep with the sole purpose of “keeping our nation” great.

The scare quotes are good, too, because it’s also the case that what he’s been charged with isn’t illegal. It’s hypocritical and unethical given his purported commitments to his wife and family and to the causes in which he professes to believe. What’s sad is that, if he’s gay, he remained closeted, turned against himself, and used his charisma and great power to beat to a pulp that in himself which he most hated. Or something like that. Whatever indiscretions he’s copping to (I bet it’s something along the lines of “monthly blowjobs aren’t sex”), they’re many things wrong, but illegal is not one of them. (Unless of course there are anti-prostitution laws in Colorado, yada yada; and I realize, too, that you guys probably weren’t using innocence/guilt in a strictly legal sense…)

I wonder how this will shake up the power structure of the Colorado Springs Evangelicals?

for the sake of clarity, i do not mean to equate closeted homosexuality with wife-rape and the buying of violent, degrading sex from one’s wife. what these two pseudohomonyms have in common is the way their puritanical, tyrranical political lives relate to their bedroom practices.

so, his argument is, happy endings aren’t sex

but, the fall of one overly coiffed, much to white toothed pastor is much less interesting, i think, than how this will be spoken about by him and those close to him and the relationship

The “not sex” line was all mine—I was predicting in 5 & 6. I haven’t had the chance to keep close tabs on the excuses as they’ve unfolded…

indeed, i realize that this was your line.

but, when the allegations came out he said that he has been steady, faithful to his wife.

now, he admits that jones gave him massages, or a massage, and procured meth for him.

there is a big difference between gay sex and a massage… and i suspect that all masseuses and messeurs, even gay prostitute (as mr. jones is being refered to as) masseurs, know the difference between a massage and sex…

Bill Clinton used that excuse re: marijuana in 1992 and nobody bought it; saying he bought but didn’t partake, in the mind of Publius anyway, is like claiming virginity on a technicality.

Anyway, in that link Haggard’s given some enterprising reporter a possible lead, anyway—“He said he did get a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel”—although how easy it might be to track down the hotel that recommends Jones as a masseuse is a question.

What mystifies me is that it was meth he was using. That’s not a drug you typically just stumble onto. Of all the meth users I’ve known (and I’ve known a few more than I should), all of them got turned on to it only after (a) long years of using softer drugs and full immersion in a drugs subculture, or (b) full immersion in a meth-using gay subculture.

a theory: he was drawn to amphetamines in general because he wanted to feel like he could always go, but in Jones he found an extra prefix to his amphetamine dreams, bought the meth he was not using, and voila, Ted Haggard has suddenly gone to seed. (perhaps?)

(I totally buy the story that he could be sorely tempted by amphetamines in general. Someone like he, who lives by charisma and dreams of great things, must surely regret such superfluities as sleep and rest…)

so you are proposing that amphetamines led to the harder stuff (meth) which led to a massage by jones?

No, not direct causation—inadvertent switch. He wanted speed; he got meth. The massage was unrelated except that his dealer was also a masseuse.

Kinda improbable, I guess. I think there’s still some lying on both sides, but I don’t have a good sense of who’s lying about what. Haggard’s story so far (“I got a massage, but we didn’t have sex; then I bought some meth, but I didn’t take any”) seems improbable because it relies on too many “yes… but” claims; however, I’m willing to accept there’s something in it that’s true.

The Denver Post reports on Pastor Ted’s farewell, and supply a link to Pastor Ted’s confession and apology. It’s a remarkable description of what it’s like to shove oneself in the closet and loathe oneself for years:

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn’t a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.


Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his actions will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn’t violate you; I did.

(“He didn’t violate you; I did” seems a poor choice of words given the situation, but it’s certainly… um, declarative.)

It’s interesting how he dragged this thing out so long. He should have just come clean immediately; he would have been canned even if he was only habitually buying meth to throw away.

When I was 10 or so, the preacher at our church got canned for simply being seen in a Biloxi casino late at night, even though he was taking notes on a clipboard, and maintained to the end that he was only doing research. The elders backed him 100% and believed his story, but in the end they decided the “appearance of evil” was just too strong, and he was let go.

Who saw him at the casino?

A question I have long pondered.