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He's been through troubles, but haggard he ain't.
January 26, 2011 3:11 PM   Subscribe

The Last Temptation of Ted. GQ talks to Ted Haggard about coming to terms with his beliefs and sexuality in the wake of the New Life Church scandal.
posted by chundo (77 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously 1, 2
posted by chundo at 3:14 PM on January 26, 2011


Attention whore get's attention.
I'm so sick of him.
I live in Colorado Springs, and the daily fishwrap, the Gazette, seems to follow him around like a fanboy.
They publish how he's starting a little church in a barn on his property, and that there were 20 people show up, and now he's moving to a strip mall for more space, and how he can relate to the sinners, and how he's awful sorry about all that stuff that was a long time ago, and how he's building more of a following, so now he's up to 45 people, etc...

I just keep thinking that if people just don't give him their attention, he'll fade away.

It seems he loves the limelight, and people just can't line up quick enough to shower him with the attention he craves like a drunk.

OK, now I'll read the article.
posted by Balisong at 3:19 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Naw, nevermind. I'm not reading that shit.
posted by Balisong at 3:20 PM on January 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


Hold on, let me find the appropriate Jane's Addiction track to put in the background while I read. Here we go. Different Ted, but the sentiment is there.

Carry on, my wayward son.
posted by adipocere at 3:21 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"We never had sex sex," he says... "I bought drugs and a massage from him, and he masturbated me at the end of it. That's it."

Thanks for clearing that up, Pastor.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:21 PM on January 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


Wow, that's the same excuse young Christian girls use when they're "saving themselves for marriage" (I should know, as it's the excuse I used for years and years).
posted by muddgirl at 3:25 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"You've got to understand, Kevin, people are, at their cores, hateful," he says, rising to stamp out the fire's embers and go to bed. "I don't want to believe that, but the facts have prevailed over my idealism."

What amazes me is that he still doesn't seem to see that he's getting back exactly the kind of vindictive spite he lived before his big day in the limelight.

No, people aren't hateful. You are hateful, and you are seeing people's reactions to it.
posted by quin at 3:26 PM on January 26, 2011 [27 favorites]


muddgirl, you sold drugs, too?
posted by Curious Artificer at 3:28 PM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I would suggest that St. James try a different methodology. I would suggest that we try the idea of: 'We have read our Bibles. We have prayed and been spirit-filled. So our purpose is to make life easier for other people around us no matter what their theology is; no matter what their race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.' Those things are not the primary issue as far as we're concerned, because our concern is to be Jesus for them."

I would say, that's about the best charter statement for a church I've ever read.
posted by hippybear at 3:35 PM on January 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't want to stand up publicly and say, 'Hey, I'm a masturbation guy!'

Ted, I disagree! You should totally do that! That would be so awesome!
posted by Ratio at 3:37 PM on January 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


"We never had sex sex"

Saving himself for same-sex marriage?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on January 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


If I know the Christian Right, and I believe I do, I'm sure they'll forgive a prominent figure's minor sexual transgression and not try to impeach him or something.
posted by turaho at 3:39 PM on January 26, 2011


Oh, he was impeached. Not just that, but found guilty, stripped of his job, and run out of town.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I follow the Haggards' white Escalade in my rental for two hours, past Eleven Mile Canyon to a lush hilltop clearing overlooking a wide valley.

Sorry, but Ted, if you wanted to at least give the impression being in any way humbled, you could have bought a less ostentatious car.
posted by hellojed at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Doing the Lord's work and all...

Also:
Ted talks about the scandal freely, whether asked about it or not, which first seems like the by-product of four years of intensive therapy but may also be a canny way to control the narrative, to preempt others' suspicions and doubts.
This is while Roose is on a camping trip with Ted and his sons. One version of my own private hell is to spend eternity listening to my one of my parents talking about their "lapses".
posted by muddgirl at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2011


... I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied.

No. I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied. Ted very demonstrably has some trouble with that.
posted by gurple at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ted very demonstrably has some trouble with that.

I hate to speculate about the sex lives of others, but maybe it turns out his wife is GGG for the whole "meth, massages, and a hand job" kink?
posted by muddgirl at 3:43 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, that's a lie. I love to speculate about the sex lives of other couples.
posted by muddgirl at 3:44 PM on January 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm not gay, but meth without a hand job is like cocaine without hot tub sex.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:49 PM on January 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


There are few more powerful words in the English language than "I have done nothing I am ashamed of". For want of the courage, joy, and love of self it takes to say them, so many of us live in fear. And of what? That someone will find out? That they won't approve? That they might hurt us? That they might turn away in revulsion?

It's a sad thing to see someone who has lived through much of what there is to fear, but still cannot stand to forgive himself for being who he is. It's like watching someone just two feet from the trenches turn back into No Man's Land.
posted by vorfeed at 3:55 PM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's easy to hate Ted Haggard, since he embodies the ultimate boogeyman of both the political right and the political left: the conservative homophobe and the gay wolf in sheep's clothing. As a former Christian, however, I can relate to Haggard's struggles with his sexuality and his faith.

Ted didn't just experience second death with his outing, he experienced THIRD death when the "loving Christians" at New Life demanded that he leave the state and never return. Suddenly the "redemptive community" of the church was revealed to no longer be a hospital for sinners but a country club for saints.

I went the opposite route as Ted when I made the same discoveries: I lost my faith and decided to stop looking for it in vain. I don't think Ted will ever take that route, because pastoring is the only business he knows. I wish him the best, however, and I'm glad we live in a world where even a meth-smoking lying sack of shit can find his own redemption.

I'm not much better. In fact, I'm probably worse. So who knows...
posted by Avenger at 3:57 PM on January 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


While I'm not interested in rehabilitating Haggard's image, I did think the part toward the end where he talked briefly about the difference between being 21 and being 54 was the most interesting and real thing in the article. Maybe if he were 21 (and not married, etc.) he would identify as bi, but he has all this life history behind him and it's hard to unhitch yourself from all that--30 years of life history, good and bad--even if you want to. That's a hard decision to face and without excusing Haggard for his many faults, I felt kind of sorry for him reading that. But moreso for other men and women who face the same dilemma without being preachers and resorting to hookers and meth.
posted by immlass at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't want to stand up publicly and say, 'Hey, I'm a masturbation guy!'

Who's a masturbation guy? Let's see a show of hands!

High five!
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:12 PM on January 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


His voice trembles, "That $500? That's Jesus to me now."

That idea's far more offensive and blasphemous, to my mind, than anything else in the article. And I'm not even religious.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:12 PM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's easy to hate. I'm not going to. That article made me feel bad for him. He sounds like he has been struggling for a long time.
posted by empath at 4:16 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


but he has all this life history behind him and it's hard to unhitch yourself from all that--30 years of life history, good and bad--even if you want to. That's a hard decision to face

I can't even count the number of gay men I've met who were married with children and then finally came out in their late 30s and early 40s. It nearly always meant the end of their family unit, no matter how amicable the circumstances. Some of them went on to live completely separate lives, others were very involved with the lives of their family members, sharing custody with the children, sometimes even living in the in-law apartment behind the house they used to live in while they were married.

The sad part of the story is, three of them (that I know of) have committed suicide over the years. I don't really know the story for any of them, but the similarity of their circumstances has often led me to wonder about the sorrow and heartbreak these men went through, and continued to go through even after they started being more true to themselves.
posted by hippybear at 4:16 PM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's easy to hate. I'm not going to. That article made me feel bad for him. He sounds like he has been struggling for a long time.

My favorite thing about Christianity is forgiveness. Let him start over.
posted by empath at 4:17 PM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ted Haggard's problem seems to be that he preached himself into a corner making it impossible to be true to himself.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:17 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


When's GQ going to interview all the gay people whose lives he helped ruin with his hypocritical bullshit? Fuck him and fuck them for giving him a stage.
posted by Legomancer at 4:18 PM on January 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Fascinating article on a fascinating character. If you haven't read Kevin Roose's book, you should, it's great.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:23 PM on January 26, 2011


the similarity of their circumstances has often led me to wonder about the sorrow and heartbreak these men went through, and continued to go through even after they started being more true to themselves.

I have a hard time imagining a way in which those stories could be anything but tragic. Haggard made his situation worse by his decisions and conduct, but reading the article, I couldn't help but think his story wouldn't have been simple or easy even if he'd never taken up preaching.
posted by immlass at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2011


My favorite thing about Christianity is forgiveness. Let him start over.

He seems to be "starting over" through sexual re-education:
Soon after Ted signed the separation agreement, the Haggards began their exile in Phoenix, where Ted took a job as a door-to-door insurance salesman. He attended therapy sessions in which a counselor used a technique called eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to trace Ted's same-sex urges to having been molested by one of his father's employees at age 7. After just three weeks of EMDR, a member of Ted's advisory committee told The Denver Post that Pastor Ted was "completely heterosexual."
He seems to be unwilling to acknowledge his sexuailty, and to go back to the kind of self-hatred that has hurt so many others. It's hard to quantify exactly how much damage these cults do to people. He had a chance to break free and instead chose to go back to old ways.

I feel bad for him, too, up to a point. It would be easier to forgive someone trying in good faith to make a clean break from such destructive behaviors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:37 PM on January 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


There are lots of people who fuck up, and are trying to pull themselves back out of their own holes.
Most of them don't get favorable press coverage to explain their stories.
Most of them don't get donations from followers in an effort to be a poster boy for redeemed sin.
Most of them didn't get to sign book deals.
Most of them didn't get on national television.
Feel sorry for him. Hope he gets his shit together.
Just quit enriching him to rebuild his empire after 30 years of tearing people down.
(by buying books about him, reading articles about him, and of course, donating to his ministry)

He's a hypocrite and should be shunned into the land of "meh."
posted by Balisong at 4:40 PM on January 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Atheist here, thanking gob for yet another religious figure who publicly rails against what he seems to privately love most. I'm looking forward to all the others who are to be outed over the years.
posted by nevercalm at 4:48 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't help but think that Ted Haggard's life could be a lot easier if he got a real job, a job involving hard work, rather than insisting on collecting money from the gullible for interceding for them with his very cool, very powerful, and unpredictably vindictive Invisible Friend.

He could move to San Fran, and open up a coffee house and be happy.

No, I'm not saying all preachers/priests/imams/rabbis/shamans do nothing; "pastoral" care can have value, and many are no doubt sincere in their beliefs. But Megachurch Christianity seems to attract mountebanks and carnival barkers and grifters of the Holy Word, guys who want to talk about Jaysus to an adoring crowd on Sunday and then loaf around in tailored suits and fancy cars and big houses Monday through Saturday.
posted by orthogonality at 4:52 PM on January 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


""We never had sex sex," he says... "I bought drugs and a massage from him, and he masturbated me at the end of it. That's it.""

Look, Ted, you're the one who believes in God. If you believe in God, you gotta believe that he's not going to be fooled by that rules-lawyer bullshit. It might work on your dungeon master, but either God's OK with dude-on-dude action (and any right-thinking theist has to conclude that love's love), or he's not making distinctions between handjob and butt fuck. This is the savior that was all like, if your eye gives you adulterous thoughts, pluck it out, after all.
posted by klangklangston at 4:55 PM on January 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


It sure is easy to hate. Look how well Ted Haggard managed it all those years--he preached hate for people who were doing the same stuff he was, including those who were doing it monogamously with their loving, committed partners of many years. Remember, folks, being openly gay and in a loving, supportive relationship is "evil"; breaking your marriage vows to have sex and use drugs with a sex worker is a "mistake."

As soon as Ted Haggard shuts up and stops judging others publicly, I will stop judging him forever.

Also, Ted Haggard is completely heterosexual.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:57 PM on January 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Who's a masturbation guy? Let's see a show of hands!

In a minute...
posted by jonmc at 5:14 PM on January 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Since I'm pretty certain EMDR is bullshit, I have no trouble believing it "cured" him.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:15 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ted didn't just experience second death with his outing, he experienced THIRD death when the "loving Christians" at New Life demanded that he leave the state and never return. Suddenly the "redemptive community" of the church was revealed to no longer be a hospital for sinners but a country club for saints

I read this article and frankly I am torn with so very many emotions. I'm upset with everybody in the scenario.

I'm upset with Ted because he lived a lie and it literally affected MY church too. I'm upset with New Life because-well, see above. At least, assuming the above is accurate.

Many of you remember I had a friend that died almost a decade ago and it threw me for a loop. Well, that friend was very well known in certain circles. He and his wife were worship leaders and very well known for it. They even lived in the Springs for ten years before they came to our church.

That friend of mine, before he went to the Springs was also dealing with cheating on his wife. His cheating was also same-sex. To compound it all he was also dealing with DID (what used to be known as multiple personality disorder. He was severely abused by a family friend as a child. Nuff said.) My friend confessed what he did to his wife and his church BEFORE he was found out. He did what they asked him to do. He left the ministry for a time and worked in the secular world. He got counseling. He worked like, excuse the expression, hell to save his marriage, to deal with the issues that caused him to cheat, and finally, to be healed of the mental issues he was dealing with as well. After it all, he went back into the ministry (invited by a friend) and by the time I met him he was almost Jesus with skin on. He was the one who helped me so much when I got my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He and his wife were the ones who loved me and did not reject me even when I was throwing books at them after choir practice and practically having nervous breakdowns every time they turned around.

They had been open about their past IN the past but at the time our pastor asked them to keep it to themselves. I guess he didn't think our people could handle it. Before my friend's death from lung cancer he gave his wife permission to share EVERYTHING and she wrote and selfpublished a little book about their journey. (By the way, that book has helped a whole lot of people. Raw and real.)

My friend did not make excuses and point fingers at everyone else. He took responsibility to do what he needed to do. His funeral had people from all over the US and even foreign countries. Everyone who ever met him loved him.

Every time I hear anything about Ted Haggard, I cringe. Because there is no way, no how, that man is ready to be in the ministry. I believe in redemption. I believe in healing. I even believe in what his philosophy of ministry seems to be at the moment (at least the part about reaching the hurting folks.) But you cannot, cannot CANNOT and SHOULD not be in the ministry if you do not have a good name. MY friend did what it took to get his good name back. I do not believe Ted has.

For that matter, it wouldn't surprise me to find out Ted is dealing with bipolar or other issues. But you cannot work your issues out that way. It's not right and it's not biblical.

At the same time I am upset that the body of Christ is in general so inept at helping people that have fallen into sin or addiction or whatever. There is a whole world out there of broken hurting people both in and out of the Church and their experience with church is condemnation instead of hope and healing. And that is, pardon the expression, damned wrong.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:21 PM on January 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


There are few more powerful words in the English language than "I have done nothing I am ashamed of".

I think there are things that Haggard should be ashamed of. It's just that none of them are sexual. He should be ashamed of his own former hypocrisy.

The Christians that chased him out of their organization are certainly guilty of a failure to forgive, which is damning considering that it was Jesus' primary attribute. But I think I can kind of see where they're coming from. While they don't admit it consciously, I think subconsciously they all realize that, regardless of whether they've read it, they don't really understand what is in the Bible. They all rely on others to interpret it for them. If they didn't rely on others you'd get a hundred different versions. Which would be okay in terms of personal beliefs, but doesn't make it easy to get a cohesive church started, so I think those big churches kind of select for that.

So, the people in the big churches are the ones who need help in determining what da Bibble says. And the single person who most determines that is the pastor. Then that guy is found to do something that all those people think doesn't align with their beliefs. The result of this theoretical process would look very much like what has happened to Ted Haggard.

The point I'm trying to make is not that the members of that church are justified. It's that large religious organizations based on a single interpretation of the Bible are inherently problematic.
posted by JHarris at 6:05 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who's a masturbation guy? Let's see a show of hands!

who likes masturbators!
posted by danb at 6:37 PM on January 26, 2011


The Christians that chased him out of their organization are certainly guilty of a failure to forgive, which is damning considering that it was Jesus' primary attribute.

Our church is grappling with this issue now. It was discovered about a year ago that it appeared that some people were using church funds from a ministry they were running for their personal use. When confronted, those involved weren't able to deny it but didn't take responsibility, either. The thing about "forgiveness" is that it's hard to know what that means in practical terms. What do you do? Pursue legal options? Fire everybody? Pay the debt quietly and hope nobody notices? Let the people involved keep running the important ministry that nobody wants to shut down and nobody wants to run? Banish them from the state? And of course at any church, these are people you consider your church family, and people take the hurt very personally. So when people start reminiscing bitterly about the topic a year later, what do you do? What's the right thing to do? What can you realistically do? It's all very hard. The article mentions the time the church settled a sex-and-drugs related complaint against Haggard for $180,000 - was that the right thing to do? In retrospect, probably not, but I can't judge them. It's hard to know what to do in these situations that both embodies the spirit of forgiveness and protects the organization from harmful things.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:40 PM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've written this comment twice and deleted it twice because I figure it will probably go over 'round here like a lead balloon - but,
Avenger: he experienced THIRD death when the "loving Christians" at New Life demanded that he leave the state and never return. Suddenly the "redemptive community" of the church was revealed to no longer be a hospital for sinners but a country club for saints.

I pastor churches in recovery. Three of the last four churches I've worked with had to use a prybar to get their former pastors out of the pulpit, resulting in legal action in at least two of the cases. Two cases of financial malfeasance and one case of severe psychological abuse. After seminary I logged additional classroom time working on org com and conflict management specifically because there are so many churches that have been put through the administrative ringer.

It sounds like Tad Haggard is trying to be a Christian. He sounds like he is making his wilderness transition with conviction and is drawing from a deep well of progressive faith.

That said, when he agreed to pastor New Life he took on some fairly serious professional responsibilities. He was not (for better or worse) just another person in the pews. The membership at that congregation conferred upon him certain responsibilities and benefits. He was, in ancient, holy-person terms, set aside. He was tasked to help these people grow in relationship with God in whatever terms they agreed upon.

He utilized his position as a pastor to engage in extra-marital sex and illicit drug use. He used the money they gave him from the offering plate to purchase sex. He stood up on Sunday morning and lied through his teeth to all those people. And now his ghost will haunt that church and it will be up to a staff of compassionate individuals to clean up his mess. I know, I've spent my (albeit brief) professional life cleaning up messes. When ministers leave a mess it is usually some fairly deep psychological trauma that requires intense, ritualized action on behalf of some very patient professionals - otherwise the church often sinks. And no one should lose their house of worship because someone else lacks the fundamentals of professional ethics.

The best thing for a recovering congregation (indeed, for all churches who are in any form of transition) is to create space between the membership and the former pastor. Most create a contractual agreement that the former pastor is banned from the premises and barred from communicating with the members for 12 months. This gives new leadership a chance to flourish without being haunted by the ghosts of former pastors. Honestly, if Ted wanted to start a new church he should have moved out of the state. His interaction with the biker at the start of the article set my teeth on edge.

It seems harsh and even unchristian - but churches need an opportunity to breath. Getting the former pastor out their shared psyche is usually the best first step.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:46 PM on January 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


I think there are things that Haggard should be ashamed of. It's just that none of them are sexual. He should be ashamed of his own former hypocrisy.

His former hypocrisy was about shame. Hypocrisy generally is.

Like the old saying goes, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
posted by vorfeed at 6:47 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


TPS - I highly, highly recommend working with an accredited Intentional Interim pastor. Googling "Intentional Interim" will turn up many more results and organizations. Sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your family are facing.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:49 PM on January 26, 2011


Honestly, if Ted wanted to start a new church he should have moved out of the state.

Well, he DID move to Phoenix for several years, working as an insurance salesman or something. Why he returned to Colorado Springs is something I do not know. But for some reason, Colorado Springs seems to be a bit of a magnet for this kind of thing. When Haggard started up his church in his garage, it was largely based on spiritual warfare principles, with his early membership walking streets at night praying and claiming the city in the name of Jesus, and lots of "battling demons" talk and stuff.

So, on unknown grounds, he returned there to start a new church after his exile ended. I don't know why Colorado Springs is such a hotbed for these kinds of things, but it does seem to be.

I remember when I was VERY young, the church I grew up in splintered, with a new congregation starting up at the opposite end of town under the leadership of the pastor who was being kicked out. I am completely unsure of all the details, but I do have a vivid memory of my mother abandoning a half-full shopping cart at the grocery store and us leaving very quickly when she saw the old pastor shopping there once.

It's a very strange thing, the relationship of pastors to their congregations. And only gets stranger when that relationship has broken for some reason.
posted by hippybear at 6:56 PM on January 26, 2011


I'm not gay, but meth without a hand job is like cocaine without hot tub sex.

It's like the old saying, meth and a hand job, two bits.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:57 PM on January 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


I like what comedian Gilbert Gottfried said about masturbation: "If masturbation were a crime, I'd be on death row!"
posted by Quasimike at 7:41 PM on January 26, 2011


Anyone see that documentary "Jesus Camp"? It's worth watching just for Haggard's brief appearances. You'd think it's because you're seeing it with the knowledge of what happened to him shortly afterwards, but no: it's because he comes across as a terrible person, right there on camera.
Maybe being brought so low has helped him become better. He certainly seems more honest. But he and his imaginary fag-hating savior are no concern of mine.
posted by uosuaq at 8:05 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty certain EMDR is bullshit

Citation?
Or...?

I'm not arguing with you, but I have read (anecdotal) good things about EMDR. I have no direct experience with it myself. Interested in hearing your own opinion/experience.
posted by Ratio at 8:13 PM on January 26, 2011


His voice trembles, "That $500? That's Jesus to me now."

That idea's far more offensive and blasphemous, to my mind, than anything else in the article. And I'm not even religious.


I'm pretty sure he was referring to the selflessness that led one parishioner to give $500 to another. Which is a pretty admirable trait, and certainly Jesus-approved.
posted by chundo at 8:23 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Christians that chased him out of their organization are certainly guilty of a failure to forgive, which is damning considering that it was Jesus' primary attribute
Really? The way I read the NT, Christ had quite a lot to say about the behaviour of hypocritical religious leaders who preached Law they didn't themselves follow. Take for instance the totally uncompromising stance in Matthew 23:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practise what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them...

‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:27 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


At what price does it become non-Jesus approved? Does $20 count?

As an aside, I've used EMDR a couple times. I'm not sure it's not bullshit, either.
It's supposed to stimulate cross hemisphere cognition while you think about your problem.
There's either a cylon/kitt LED light that travels back and forth, or as in my case, you hold two alternately vibrating eggs wired to a frequency adjuster. That's it.
You can talk as normal to your therapist, or just sit there and think while watching/holding the device. It's supposedly used for PTSD recovery, too, which is handy because Colorado Springs has plenty of those guys coming through Ft. Carson.
posted by Balisong at 8:33 PM on January 26, 2011


> It's like the old saying, meth and a hand job, two bits.

I thought it was $20, same as in town?
posted by ostranenie at 8:39 PM on January 26, 2011


There are lots of people who fuck up, and are trying to pull themselves back out of their own holes.

Please don't link to that image here, thx
posted by Challahtronix at 8:51 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ratio-I'm on my iPod touch, so linking is not easy, but take a look at the article on emdr at the skeptics dictionary and see what you think.

Emdr sounds a bit like nlp to me.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:00 AM on January 27, 2011


So the issue isn't that he cheated on a woman he married and had children with...but that he did meth and admitted to a handjob from a dude?

Entire Greek systems in universities all over the US could go down for that.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:57 AM on January 27, 2011


I think the worst part about the article is that he talks about how meth is great for maintaining an erection and delaying an orgasm.

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

I can't stand any article that just lets people advertise "positive" things about meth without referencing it's terrible destructive power.
I can just imagine people that have little drug knowledge walking away with this article with a concept that meth is a good subsistute for viagra, except they can just get it from that biker at the back of the pool hall in town.

It'd be like another pastor saying "yeah, it's pretty stressful running a megachurch. But you know what helps me relax after a long day with my flock? Heroin. Good clean heroin. I would only use it when I needed to chill out and take a load off." And then changing topic.
posted by Theta States at 6:40 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't stand any article that just lets people advertise "positive" things about meth without referencing it's terrible destructive power.

Meh, not every mention of drugs needs to be a PSA. I don't think there is any shortage of negative portrayals of meth use in the media.
posted by empath at 7:23 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Skepdic article on EMDR.
posted by muddgirl at 7:40 AM on January 27, 2011


The guy was so addicted to the attention he received while being the head of such a large evangelical church that he just can't stand not being in the public eye anymore. Hence, this interview and his participation in the HBO documentary: The Trials of Ted Haggard [trailer] and talk show appearances such as on Oprah.

Buddy, it's time to shut up. There's nothing wrong in leaving all of that behind and focusing your time and attention quietly on your family and other pursuits.

Attention whore, indeed!
posted by ericb at 7:55 AM on January 27, 2011


Anyone see that documentary "Jesus Camp"? It's worth watching just for Haggard's brief appearances.

Ted Haggard Bashing Gays ('Jesus Camp').

Related: 'Jesus Camp' directors discuss the Ted Haggard controversy.
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on January 27, 2011


Oh Ted. You still really don't see how surrounding yourself with followers who just give you money (sometimes an appreciable percentage of their incomes) and give you some power over their lives will make it just so easy, so, so easy, to slip back into your previous behavior patterns? You're a sensualist, Ted, you need to feel good so you're back doing the many of the things that make you feel good. Like all things that make a person feel good, they're going to not make you feel as good as time goes by, so you'll need to start doing more of the other things that make you feel good. And that's where you got into trouble the first time, isn't it, Ted?

Running your own little church with no oversight, that's probably not a good idea for you now or ever again, Ted.

As much as I weighed in against him and his ilk in 56002, I'd like to see this guy come to grips with it all and just have an honest, decent, happy life, but this isn't going to help, IMO. As mentioned above, doing the same thing but expecting a different result this time.

Also, how can someone start a church, magically gather several dozen people who just hand them money for talking a series of heavily formulaic word-games at them, and not, somewhere inside, be smirking and chuckling with the clear knowledge that they're scamming themselves a soft life? How can they not, somewhere inside, be in utter contempt of the earnest but gullible folks they've got hanging on their every word?

I can't even imagine what that would be like, having 50 people handing me 10% of their hard-earned cash for saying the same set of things over and over to them once a week. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself knowing what a con-job I was running, I'm just totally against taking advantage of people like that. What kind of person do you have to be to have no problem at all doing all that with a straight face - especially when you're indulging in the very things you are very publicly against?
posted by zoogleplex at 9:40 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I cried when the Chilean miners got rescued. I cry when I watch Undercover Boss. I cry at anything that shows people being people. I'm a wreck."

No, dude. You're gay.
posted by En0rm0 at 9:50 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


But you cannot, cannot CANNOT and SHOULD not be in the ministry if you do not have a good name.

You know what other famous minister didn't have a "good name" in his community...?

posted by jtron at 10:54 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to understand what the fuck "political left: gay wolf in sheep's clothing" means. WTF?
posted by spicynuts at 12:30 PM on January 27, 2011


zoogleplex : to a certain degree, they're paying for exactly what they want. they have a desire, and a strong one, to have someone tell them what they already know day in & day out and they're willing to pay for it. it's like capitalism!
posted by radiosilents at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2011


But you cannot, cannot CANNOT and SHOULD not be in the ministry if you do not have a good name.

You know what other famous minister didn't have a "good name" in his community...?


Actually, when Pontius Pilate wants to let you go because he can't find anything wrong with you, you get a pass. Heh.

Oh, and First Timothy 3:7 says about leaders..."He must also have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, the devil's trap."


I think we can agree that Ted isn't qualified according to that. Besides, as someone above pointed out clearly, the fact he has no one to be accountable to in his present position is a great big red flag. A person who refuses to be accountable is not a person I want leading me in a ministry.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:15 PM on January 27, 2011


"I cried when the Chilean miners got rescued. I cry when I watch Undercover Boss. I cry at anything that shows people being people. I'm a wreck."

No, dude. You're gay.


Actually, it's not a sexual orientation thing at all. Men cry more as they get older. I mean, it hasn't been studied or anything that I can find, but the anecdata is pretty strong that as men hit 40, they become more emotionally expressive.

Still yeah, we get it. Gay men are simpering teary wimps. Thanks for sharing.
posted by hippybear at 1:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh no, I agree with you, Alia. That part just stuck out a bit :)
posted by jtron at 2:16 PM on January 27, 2011


I don't think it's about hating him, not really. It's about the harm he did.

Here's the thing, he had an immediate audience of 10,000 people who would take what he said very seriously indeed. He had a less immediate audience that was much larger than that. He had the ear of President Bush.

And what he did with that was, among other things, to do his utmost to bring harm to homosexuals. He could have used his influence to moderate the attitude of his fellow Christians. Instead he chose the easy route of encouraging them in their own petty bigotries and hatred. Always, of course, dripping with false "love".

Rather than confront his own sexuality, rather than see the terrible effects that the evils he preached brought upon himself and realize the harm it caused others, he tried to hide it and kept right on preaching the hate. Look at the Jesus Camp clip that was linked by ericb. Note the coy way he hints at the hate bubbling beneath the surface.

We don't need to discuss our position on homosexuality he says, because the Bible tells us what our position is. What he omits is what the position of the Bible is, but we can't afford to ignore that tiny detail. The Bible is quite clear on homosexuality: all homosexuals are to be killed.

That's why I have a problem with Haggard. Today he tries to distance himself from the clear and orthodox position he previously expressed on his sexual urges: "repulsive and dark". He believed that, he preached that, he encouraged others to believe (as he did) that homosexuals were repulsive, that their very existence was an affront to God, that their lives should be made difficult by legal means, and (coyly, with codewords, and never openly) that they should be killed.

He had the opportunity to become more than what he was, and he rejected it in favor of keeping the easy money and adulation of the crowd.

I never really got the idea of forgiveness. Maybe that's a personality flaw on my part, I can't say. I look at it this way: has the person who did wrong changed so that they're no longer the person who did wrong? I can't go along with the idea of forgiving a person for doing wrong when they're still the same people who did wrong and will go out and do it again.

The other side of forgiveness is making amends, trying to right the wrongs of the past. And Haggard has done nothing resembling that. He still says that God is against homosexuals and they're evil sinners. He had the opportunity to change and he didn't. He could have used his status, his past, to crusade for a better Christianity. And, despite my gripes about religion in general, there are Christians out there who are trying to reform their religion and purge it of the hate that so fills orthodox Christianity. Haggard could have joined them as a powerful voice for change.

He has seen how the poison of Christian hate against homosexuals can twist a person firsthand. He doesn't need to research the matter, he's a case study himself. Unable, due to the poison of Christian hate, to come to terms with his own sexuality he tried desperately to submerge it, and in the process apparently became a sexual predator, engaged in unsafe sexual practices, used quite harmful drugs, etc. And he is undeniably a powerful and motivating speaker. Imagine what he could have become had he been interested in making amends.

But he didn't. Because he isn't interested in making amends. He wants forgiveness but he wants it for free, he wants forgiveness but he's unwilling to change himself so he's worthy.
posted by sotonohito at 2:49 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh, yes, it did, jtron. No worries.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:50 PM on January 27, 2011


>>"I cried when the Chilean miners got rescued. I cry when I watch Undercover Boss. I cry at anything that shows people being people. I'm a wreck."

No, dude. You're gay.


Okay, it's PERSONAL BEEF TIME.

Being sensitive does not mean you are gay. That attitude is, in its own way, just as destructive as gay bashing, because it implies that personality determines sexual preference. It also pushes people who dearly wish to prove, to themselves or whoever, that they aren't gay into ostentatiously heterosexual behavior, which fuels a great proportion of the idiotic MANLY MAN INDUSTRY: hyper-obsession over pro sports, Maxim magazine, the Jackass movies, stupid books spouting moronic pop psych about things like "man caves," in fact the entire prefix-man-to-words meme that has given us terms like "mansplaining," and so on.

Sexual preference may be inborn, but personality is mostly learned, and a lot of guys have learned to be stupidly, stereotypically masculine in order to attempt to avoid "teh gay." Crying over too many things doesn't indicate gayness; it might indicate other psychological issues, but that is a different matter.

And now, I RETURN TO MY CAVE. GRAAAAH!!!
posted by JHarris at 1:26 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


"in fact the entire prefix-man-to-words meme that has given us terms like "mansplaining," and so on."

OMFG that shit makes me apoplectic.

Though I will say that working in a predominantly gay workplace for a while made me associate all those sort of empty-macho performative masculinity tropes with being super gay, except that my coworkers all had a good sense of how campy that shit was.

But the man-prefix drives me fucking nuts. It's the stupidest fucking pop jargon bullshit in recent memory and each time an advertiser uses it I get all, "Who the fuck are you to tell me what being a man is. Fuck you, motherfucker."

(And c'mon, like "mancave" doesn't sound super gay?)
posted by klangklangston at 8:20 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't just sound super gay, it sounds Super Gay Osborne.
posted by JHarris at 11:32 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Who the fuck are you to tell me what being a man is. Fuck you, motherfucker."

He can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me.

Advertising 101.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:18 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


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