Mega-minister Ted Haggard has reemerged from hiding, and
he seems no less confused than when he was paying for gay
In an article
from the Associated Press, we get snippet
quotes like this, regarding his sexuality: "The
stereotypical boxes don't work for me. My story's got
some gray areas in it. And, of course, I'm sad about
that, but it's the reality."
He also recounts
same-sex "sex play" with friends when he was in the
seventh grade. Hmm. That story probably sounds familiar to
lots and lots of gays.
But in spite of
everything, Ted Haggard remains firmly in the closet. I
feel sorry for him. Rather than be himself, he continues to
subject himself to a set of ideas and values that do
nothing to value him as a person. It's as if he
has chosen to spend the rest of his life striving to
regain the position of respect he once held as the
leader of the 30 million-member strong National Evangelical
Association. Maybe he's just made a conscious choice that
this is best for his family. Or perhaps he is in
It took me 26
years to accept my sexuality as a wonderful, natural part
of my life. Along the way, I certainly had some similar
thoughts to those expressed by Ted Haggard in his
interview with the AP. Of course, in my journey toward
accepting the truth, I didn't carry the burdens of a
wife, family, and the preponderance of American
the "trained eye," Haggard is clearly gay. If he
hadn't spent so many years demonizing our lives and our
families, the gay community might have some sort of
sympathy for him. However, there seems to be a
collective disdain for his less-than-honest return to the
A close friend of
mine is actually hosting a party on January 29, the day
the Alexandra Pelosi-produced documentary on the exile of
Haggard from his church following his sex and drug
scandal premieres on HBO. I'm pretty sure he's looking
forward to seeing the train wreck that Haggard became
and still remains.
That being said,
there is something even more disturbing about the
implications of the Haggard episode. Here we have someone
who has admitted to having gay sex repeatedly, has
admitted to teenage sexual experimentation, and has
admitted to ongoing confusion over sexual attraction,
and most everyone still allows him to call himself straight.
What the heck?
Is this a sign
that America could care less about someone's sexual
orientation? Maybe it means that the public doesn't even
care about utter hypocrisy in our leaders. The
evangelicals have sure been pretty quiet about this
In a world where
we are fighting to be seen, heard, and respected, what
does this mean for us?
It's not good.
That so few
people are challenging Haggard's illogical explanation for
the person that he is today is disturbing. It furthers the
myth that people choose their sexual orientation.
That is just
plain false. Our sexual orientation is a natural part
of who we are. The only choice we may make is whether or not
we lie to ourselves and those around us.
is allowed to get away with this absurdity he has
created for himself. It also sends a signal to other closet
cases that stand in the way of our equal rights that
they can continue their charade at no cost.
community may debate for years to come whether it is ethical
to out people, I think this is one instance where
ignoring the public record is a disservice to us.
Whether we choose to ease Haggard's full exit from the
closet or attack him for his hypocrisy, we are better off
working to end the perception he has created for
struggle isn't about choosing a sexual orientation. His
struggle is about suppressing his true self. In doing so, he
undermines further understanding among people who need
it the most.