The Haggard Affair

posted at 7:49 pm on November 4, 2006 by Bryan

I’ve refrained on commenting on the Rev. Ted Haggard story for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that I didn’t know what the facts were. Given the fact that a) I’d never heard of Haggard and therefore didn’t have a record to base any opinion on and b) his accuser flunked a polygraph test, it just wasn’t something I felt comfortable opining about. It is clear that the accusations came out at this time for political reasons, but that doesn’t make him any less guilty if he’s guilty. It was equally possible until today that Haggard was either guilty of all the charges or innocent of most of them. If he was guilty only of what he initially claimed, namely buying drugs, then he faced some legal jeopardy but there might be some way to restore him to the pulpit once his debt was paid. Now, it’s clear that he’s guilty of enough of the charges that his church has removed him from the pulpit.

That, in my opinion, is what should be done and it has been done. He may also face legal problems and he’ll certainly have some family problems. Anything further from the commentariat is piling on.

The glee with which many have greeted Haggard’s fall is all too typical of the times. He was a man the vast majority of his new critics had never heard of until a day or two ago. It’s his position as head of a large church and of the National Evangelical Association that stirs up the hate in his critics’ hearts. Their behavior is neither humane nor, unfortunately, shocking anymore. That it comes mostly from people who support the lifestyle Haggard seems to have been leading underground shows that they hate the sinner but may well love the sin, a view that is the inverse of real morality and humanity.

Haggard’s behavior itself is terrible, but the fact that he behaved at odds with his stated beliefs does nothing to discredit those beliefs. Everyone by their own life injures their stated beliefs to some extent. The apostle Paul described the conflict between belief and action best in Romans 7:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

That’s the human condition summed up. And it’s the Christian condition.

Ted Haggard deserves justice, consequences, and then mercy.

More: Alabama Liberation Front and JunkYardBlog both have very good posts on the topic.


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But Okie from Muskogee was a great song.

see-dubya on November 4, 2006 at 7:56 PM

It’s right for Ted Haggard to step down. The organization he runs, and the ideals he promoted are bigger than him and require a leader that does not have a public smear to discredit the cause – whether you agree with those causes or not. As for the man himself, there’s one more quote we could add: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. All! Let him pay for his sins without us throwing more stones.

thedecider on November 4, 2006 at 7:56 PM

Heh. Wrong Haggard, see-dub. You’re thinking of Merle, whose sins are also pretty well known.

Bryan on November 4, 2006 at 8:00 PM

Very well stated Bryan. Excellent choice of scripture as well. Guess it’s a good thing he isnt part of a faith that demands his head be chopped off eh?

Centurion68 on November 4, 2006 at 8:20 PM

Good post!

Aren’t the MSM/democrats looking haggered lately?

SouthernGent on November 4, 2006 at 8:21 PM

The MSM is already blaming President Bush for the Haggard affair!

From an AP article:

The Rev. Ross Parsley will lead the church until a permanent replacement for Haggard is chosen by the end of the year, the statement said. A letter explaining Haggard’s removal and an apology from him will be read at Sunday services.

Haggard’s situation is a disappointment to Christian conservatives, whom President Bush and other Republicans are courting heavily in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.

Many of them were already disheartened with the president and the Republican-controlled Congress over their failure to deliver big gains on social issues even before the sex scandal broke involving former GOP Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record).

So I guess the MSM is stupid enough to think that religious conservatives are not going to vote now because they will be too “disappointed” in President Bush, who directly caused Haggard to have gay sex with a male prostitute. Wishful thinking on their part!

januarius on November 4, 2006 at 8:27 PM

Haggard =/= Bush. I, an evangelical, see this clearly. As clearly as I see the MSM’s attempt to politicize what is a personal falling that bears no relationship to politics.

Bryan on November 4, 2006 at 8:30 PM

Hell, I thought he wrote King Solomon’s Mines.

I’d never heard of this guy before yesterday, either. Then again, maybe that means I can be truly impartial. Frankly, I think he smiles too much, like a used car salesman, and he sets off my gaydar. And that story about buying meth and throwing it away is about as credible as Clinton smoking but not inhaling. (Plus it’s a waste of money, and therefore very poor stewardship.) All of that being said, his accuser is also completely shady. Let the cops handle any crimes that were committed, his church can handle the church discipline, and I’m going back to subjects that I care about. I’ll also be laughing as liberals try to make it out like this guy was the Pope while trying to somehow pin this weak-ass church scandal on the Republicans.

ReubenJCogburn on November 4, 2006 at 8:35 PM

Great post, Bryan. The insight about hating the sinner but loving the sin was really astute. I feel so bad for this guy and his family and church. I’ve been in a few faith communities where affairs brought down a man of God, and it’s such a sobering, sorrowful thing. It makes you realize that no one is above these temptations, and it seems like pastors and leaders get hit especially hard. I just hope he can find the mercy from people that is so freely offered from God. There, but for the grace of God, go all of us.

tikvah on November 4, 2006 at 8:49 PM

Good post and insight Bryan. Lashawn has a really good post on this also.

vcferlita on November 4, 2006 at 9:11 PM

I disagree with:

the MSM’s attempt to politicize what is a personal falling that bears no relationship to politics.

Haggard was a national political figure because of his leadership in the anit-gay-marriage movement. I do find it rich, however, that a prostitute claims he is offended because his john is insufficiently attentive to marriage.

Ted’s shame and pain must be unbearable. Hopefully, with the secret out he can begin to recover. I wanted to download amd listen to one of his sermons (many of which have delicously ironic titles), but the New Life website is being slammed now. Once he recovers, it will be very interesting to see what a talented person like Ted says about why he did what did.

pedestrian on November 4, 2006 at 9:32 PM

Thanks for the verse Bryan. It made me tear-up and realize just how delicate our relationship with Jesus is. There isnt a person on this site that hasnt fallen or sinned in one way or another. We need to remember that Satan is out there like a roaring lion.. waiting to devour all of us.

Pray from your heart that Haggard will repent and get his life back together as much as possible. Remember that Moses and the apostle Paul were murderers.

Haggard is still God’s child no matter what he’s done and God still loves him. Jesus already paid the price.

GoodBoy on November 4, 2006 at 9:45 PM

Ace has made this point already, but it’s like when the Left took down Jeff Gannon and they carried on like he was William F. Buckley in the right’s constellation. NO! NOT GANNON!

see-dubya on November 4, 2006 at 9:51 PM

Yahoo has had Haggard-related stories since it broke. And they call him a “Key” Evangelical… so key that nobody had heard of him until this story broke.

Spassvogel on November 4, 2006 at 10:04 PM

Reverend who…?

CliffHanger on November 4, 2006 at 10:06 PM

I’m really glad that you decided to write a post about this. I also haven’t been too sure exactly what to think about everything with new “facts” coming out every day. I think you sum it up best when you say,

Ted Haggard deserves justice, consequences, and then mercy.

tiekitwist on November 4, 2006 at 11:19 PM

I haven’t blogged about this, because I haven’t seen anything but sensationalized journalism on the topic. I am getting the impression that this case is much like the Catholic sex abuse cases, and the coverage surrounding it. For those of us that are involved in an organized religion, there are many sinners amongst our leaders, but that doesn’t make the entire faith bad. I see this coverage of Haggard as an attempt to try and smear those of us that are on the right and happen to be religious..somehow we are hypocrits? I don’t think so..I have been brought up in the Catholic faith, and we are taught that there is but 1 person who is without sin….

Pam on November 5, 2006 at 12:04 AM

I also had not heard of this man. I have been involved in church most of my life and I think that what the democrats don’t understand is that the Christian faith is a personal thing between the believer and God through Jesus. We have “leaders” but our faith is not in them. So if they fail, it does not affect our relationship with God. The posts so far show a good understanding of the Christian’s response to this type of situation.

Rose on November 5, 2006 at 12:12 AM

Hate the sin, love the sinner. I wish Mr. Haggard well if he can deal with his problems and get past them.

On another note, we have all seen a deluge of attacks and revelations of every scrap of dirt that can be found against many of the Republican candidates and their supporters this election cycle. Although it may benefit their opponents in the short term, consider this: As many in the Republican party are “outed”, race-baited, insulted and exposed, this does get out in the open any potentially embarrassing secrets or information some office-holders and office-seekers may have, so that ultimately the party may have stronger people running. Sort of a “what-doesn’t-kill-me-makes-me-stronger” kinda dynamic, yeah?

Maybe that sounds naive, but it’s possible.

Texan on November 5, 2006 at 12:25 AM

i had a friend bug me about this in my contracts class
my only question was “Who?”
Beyond that, honestly, I don’t care. He sinned, whatever. That’s between him and God, let the two of them decide.

I’m still not sure why one of the Jews has to be the one to make a statement about this

Defector01 on November 5, 2006 at 1:10 AM

I’m still not sure why one of the Jews has to be the one to make a statement about this

Defector01 on November 5, 2006 at 1:10 AM

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

tikvah on November 5, 2006 at 1:25 AM

Texan, that’s a very good point. Chuck Colson suffered from a devastating setback when he went to prison for his role in the Watergate coverup. He was transformed by the experience and dedicated his life to prison ministry and several good causes. Maybe Ted Haggard can do the same.

see-dubya on November 5, 2006 at 1:53 AM

If I understand this right… Haggard is, at this point, exactly as bad as Bill Clinton. He had drugs but didn’t use them and had improper sex. Wait, I guess Bill’s still worse, Haggard’s accuser didn’t pass the polygraph test and Bill had a lot more allegations.

Is this guy running for office or did they just pick a Christian off the street to feed to the lions?

Buzzy on November 5, 2006 at 3:41 AM

a) I’d never heard of Haggard and therefore didn’t have a record to base any opinion on

Had anyone heard of this guy? The media (read: left) has trotted this guy out, IMO because of the election. They think (maybe rightly) that they can tie him in with Bush/GOP in people’s minds because he’s a Christian and likely a conservative. The problem is, they keep calling him an “evangelical leader”, but I have no idea who his is and don’t think I’ve even heard his name.

RightWinged on November 5, 2006 at 7:59 AM

RightWinged-I read something by some liberal blogger (sorry, I forget which) saying that he was President Bush’s spiritual advisor. I have no idea if that is accurate, but I suppose it is possible.

tikvah on November 5, 2006 at 8:06 AM

RightWinged-I read something by some liberal blogger (sorry, I forget which) saying that he was President Bush’s spiritual advisor. I have no idea if that is accurate, but I suppose it is possible.

tikvah on November 5, 2006 at 8:06 AM

Haggard has had meetings with the WH and from there, the left ran with it, in their eyes, he was GWB’sspititual advisor…Didn’t Jesse Jackson also have meetings at the WH?

Pam on November 5, 2006 at 8:20 AM

Reverend Faggard did seem to have a bit of sugar in his tank.

And, a 49 year old male prostitute/escort?

doingwhatican on November 5, 2006 at 8:51 AM

tikvah, he is most certainly not President Bush’s spiritual advisor!
He was merely involved as the minister of a large church in conference calls that the President would make to spiritual leaders, which makes him “close to Bush” to the MSM.

This was “hit job” by the Left on the Christian Right to show that we are all hypocrites and that our stand for traditional marriage is based on hypocrisy also.
Colorado has a same-sex marriage amendment on the ballot Tuesday.

The Liberal Left really doesn’t understand what the “religious right” is, so I think they thought Haggard was as big a deal as Falwell and Robertson.
That being said, Haggard illustrates beautifully that we’re all only one sin away from being “perfect” and without moral blemish.
He needs to ask the Lord for forgiveness (and perhaps his congregation) and then change his ways–it was good that he stepped down from the pulpit.
But one man’s failings couldn’t and shouldn’t make all Christians hypocrites or all Christian marriages hypocritical and therefore, not worth cherishing.
We’re all sinners, saved by Grace and I’m sure Rev. Haggard knows this–he looks like a nice man, even if he seems sorta clueless and was easily tempted.

Jen the Neocon on November 5, 2006 at 10:44 AM

I’m still not sure why one of the Jews has to be the one to make a statement about this

Gee. And all this time I didn’t even know that we were exchanging messages/posts with Mel Gibson.

CyberCipher on November 5, 2006 at 12:00 PM

The MSM doesn’t understand how to love the sinner and hate the sin, because their world view requires destroying anyone with whom they disagree, and they can’t relate to why we are not the same way. They think we are weak for embracing and loving the weak. If only they would try to walk humbly for a week, they would see what enormous strength it takes to live with a spirit of gentleness and humility, choosing what battles to fight, then doing so honorably. Being a bully is easy. Loving opponents while they mock us and try to destroy us, now that’s hard work.

Plus, the whole concept of personal responsibility is foreign to them. When our brother repents, we forgive, yet still hold him accountable, because not holding our brother responsible is bad for him. The evangelical way of thinking is something they just don’t get because our way of life is based on self-sacrifice and accountability, instead of selfishness and self-aggrandizement.

JustTruth101 on November 5, 2006 at 12:16 PM

Thanks, Bryan, great post. Again you clearly presented thoughts shared by many. The “Party of Tolerance” (a title as valid as “Religion of Peace”) has shown yet again that the tolerance is only applied when one of theirs is found out. When a liberal commits a sin in any form, it’s immediately time to move on. Haggard, for whichever of these acts he is guilty, should resign in disgrace. Oh, he did that already.

Your “love the sin, hate the sinner” line is exactly what I have been thinking about the left since 1992. They have an inverted theology, because they worship the creature, rather than the Creator.

I have attended independent churches for the last 26 years, and I’ve never heard of the National Association of Evangelicals as being of any consequence. That’s partially because the media couldn’t care less what a bunch of mouth-breathing bible thumpers thinks or believes.

If Ted Haggard had tried, a year ago, to get a moment in the news cycle to represent his association, he would have been laughed at as insignificant, without influence. Now he’s ‘hailed’ as the President’s spiritual advisor.

But the left is so good at lying to itself that they will buy into this spin and attempt to paint all evangelicals and all conservatives with this brush. They will also begin linking everyone that speaks against same-sex marriage to Haggard any way that they can in an attempt to weaken the argument.

“God showed His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Freelancer on November 5, 2006 at 12:23 PM

Y’all can’t tell, but I’m doing a little dance in my chair. When self-righteous zealots fall by their own doings, I smile. Funny, though. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” seems to be the rallying cry, but it only seems to apply to conservatives. Funny how that works. Oh well. Two days until the democrats take over. Yay! This NAE guy couldn’t have come along at a better time. It finally knocked Kerry(gate) off as the leading story. And what a useless story that was. But that’s okay. We liberals take what we can get. Reverend who, you ask? Doesn’t matter. He’s the guy that sleeps with a male prostitute and does meth. YAY!!! Democrats will win now. YAY!!! The evangelicals are gonna stay home. YAY!!! Thanks reverend. I owe you one! ;-)

shackler on November 5, 2006 at 12:55 PM

Nobody’s perfect, and everyone makes ‘mistakes’. However Haggard’s main error was not the ‘sin’ he committed, but the hypocrisy of him preaching/campaigning against things he was actually doing.

MoonbatMedia on November 5, 2006 at 1:51 PM

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” seems to be the rallying cry, but it only seems to apply to conservatives.

Really? You mean liberals don’t rally around their own?

Reverend who, you ask? Doesn’t matter. He’s the guy that sleeps with a male prostitute and does meth. YAY!!!

Despicable behavior is cause for rejoicing?

The evangelicals are gonna stay home. YAY!!!

Do you really believe that? Don’t hold your breath for that one, shackler or you won’t be with us much longer.

thedecider on November 5, 2006 at 2:08 PM

Nobody’s perfect, and everyone makes ‘mistakes’. However Haggard’s main error was not the ’sin’ he committed, but the hypocrisy of him preaching/campaigning against things he was actually doing.

MoonbatMedia on November 5, 2006 at 1:51 PM

Moonbat, it depends on your perspective: Haggard really committed several sins, 2 of which you talked about, but it isn’t wrong for him to preach against immoral things, it’s just wrong to do those things and lie about it to himself and his congregation also.
The man is not only a sinner but a conflicted one.
Along with the forgiveness of sin, Christ told us to “go and sin no more.”
Haggard has been removed from the pulpit for this reason, so that as a minister of the Gospel, he can deal with his own shortcomings in private.
However, just because one minister in Colorado was caught in hypocrisy and sin most certainly does not mean that ALL Christian ministers are hypocrites and degenerates, which is what the actual Moonbat Media is implying.

Jen the Neocon on November 5, 2006 at 2:46 PM

Hey Shackler. Jesus still loves you.

BTW, what are you going to do when the Republicans retain control of both Houses?

.

GT on November 5, 2006 at 2:51 PM

The only people I’ve ever heard saying that evangelicals were going to stay home this election, whether over this or Mark Foley or anything else, #1–weren’t evangelicals, #2–don’t have clue one about what evangelicals believe, and #3–want evangelicals to stay home. When you add in the fact that these are also the same people who tell us that John Kerry is a “war hero” who “loves the military”, I’m not too worried about the evangelical turnout. The importance of voting is also a traditional value, and no matter how bad the Republicans may be on any issue, the Democrats are worse.

ReubenJCogburn on November 5, 2006 at 2:55 PM

However, just because one minister in Colorado was caught in hypocrisy and sin most certainly does not mean that ALL Christian ministers are hypocrites and degenerates, which is what the actual Moonbat Media is implying

Jen the Neocon, I have implied no such thing. I have no doubt that many (if not most) of the ministers actually live what they preach.

MoonbatMedia on November 5, 2006 at 3:05 PM

Oh Jen, sorry — I now understand your post. Please ignore previous one.

MoonbatMedia on November 5, 2006 at 3:06 PM

What seems funny to me is that Homosexuality is normal amongst the liberals, they appove and embrace it… until a conservative does it, then its suddenly wrong and evil.

“Love the sinner and hate the sin” seems to only pertain to conservatives because liberals seem to love and embrace sin.

GoodBoy on November 5, 2006 at 3:08 PM

Why on earth would evangelicals stay home? If anything we are even more motivated because it is obvious that the mainstream media and the democrats are doing their best to keep us from voting.

Rose on November 5, 2006 at 3:50 PM

So Shackler you think this will turn the tide. Now if we found a democrat leader that is taking drugs (Kennedy), or a democrat leader playing around with a male prositute (Frank) you would say the Republicans will win? What a brilliant politcal mind you have, the democrats should hire you.
You’re the greatest. We love people like you.

right2bright on November 5, 2006 at 6:04 PM

Why is this admitted prostitute and drug dealer allowed to appear on national television? Shouldn’t he be up on charges?

jdpaz on November 6, 2006 at 11:33 AM