Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm Shocked About Pastor Ted

If you want to read about Pastor Ted Haggard from a person who knows about Pastor Ted very well, I strongly suggest that you read The Revealer [Haggard's Downfall]. Jeff Sharlet has been covering Pastor Ted at the Revealer and in a featured article at Harper's [Soldiers of Christ].

For all of my jaded political attitudes, I have to admit that even I am shocked to hear about this "sex scandal." Pastor Ted has put on such a good front.

What always bugged me about the influential and charismatic Pastor Ted is that I, as a Social Justice/Catholic Christian, felt that he was overly judgemental, far too politically conservative, and that he overtly attempted to sway his followers to vote Republican. Jeff Sharlet tells you just how influential Pastor Ted has been:
..he sets the political tone for the Christian conservative movement at an administrative level broader than the influence of better-known figures such as Jerry Falwell.
Knowing that the Republican agenda had very little - often nothing - to provide in the way of real moral leadership on issues such as poverty, healthcare,education, and Medicare for the elderly, Pastor Ted was already a hypocrite in my personal book.

Revelation of hypocrisy is always the quickest way to pop a Chritian leader's balloon. I missed the sound of the air leaving the balloon because, seconds after this gay sex story about Rev. Haggard was revealed, there was nothing left but flattened and torn rubber on the ground. [no pun intended].

I am truly sorry for any Evangelical who made the mistake of trusting or expecting any human being - even Pastor Ted - to be infallible and perfect. As Christians, I have a feeling that his followers will forgive him for being human.... but politically? He's toast.


Aldon Hynes said...

I am struck by the contrast of Haggard's Downfall with Bishop Katharine Jefferts investiture

Iddybud said...

Thanks for referring me to the news about Bishop Jefferts, Aldon. I think that's just wonderful news. Her leadership style sounds like the kind that can bring people of faith together rather than dividing them with hypocrisy and a style that hypocritically promotes harsh judgement. Who can doubt that we cannot genuinely be at one with our neighbors if some are too poor to put food on their family's table or if they're living in neighborhoods where they're afraid to let their children play?

The perceived spirit of Christianity is cancelled out by revelations of sheer hypocrisy in one's public leadership style. In the case of the all-too political Pastor Ted, he has been politically "cancelled out" by sex - gay sex, yet (hoo-boy) - one of fundamental Christianity's ultimate taboos.

Hypocrisy is everywhere. I can't help but think about the conservative father, a prominent and well-to-do member of his suburban community who gets a big tax cut and never has to worry about living from paycheck to paycheck who finds out that his 14-year old daughter's pregnant. He whisks her off secretly for a quickie abortion while he shows a face of piety in church on Sunday and grouses about the irresponsibility of the African American community where the 14 year old girls are having babies. Then he votes for George W. Bush and the rubber stampers who pander to the Religious Right for undeserved votes and continue their quest to drown the social safety net in their bathtub of greed and hypocrisy.

Only solid moral leadership - in both a social and political sense - with a focus on "The Golden Rule" and real compassion for our neighbors will unite America once again in a productive and healthy democratic cause. Americans are so sick of the fighting - the ugliness - the division.

A change must surely come.

BrettBum said...

I'm a non-believer surfed in from blogsoldiers, but you summed up the situation pretty well!

I like the idea of religion and politics taking a leave of absense from each other for a couple years. It seems like it would help both groups decrease the corruption and get back to their primary mission.

I heard one suggestion that if many of the religious organizations would redirect their political contribution to actual charities for a while a lot of good might come of it.

Instead the funding seems to go towards polarized campaigns that drive wedges between everyone. Seems to me that lots of politicians these days are using Christian Conservatives to get money and get elected and then don't deliver on any of their promises.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I'm a non-believer in religions in general, but when they start having such negative impacts on society, it requires everyone's attention! :)

Kurt said...

Actually, I used to be a member of the Evangelical Cult. While I feel sorry for Ted, you have to remember where all this started. The Moral Majority began as a protest against Jimmy Carter, when Carter tried to end segregation by threatening private schools that they would lose their tax exempt status if they failed to comply with the then current civil rights standards. That being said, none of this surprises me.

Iddybud said...

One of my strongest hopes is that this is not simply used as an anti-gay "We forgive you for your sins, Pastor Ted" thing. I've had enough of the Religious Right turning every political and religious leader's total hypocrisy into an anti-gay issue. Pastor Ted can do whatever he likes in his private life, but as a religious leader, he is a creep and should step down for good because he is a total hypocrite. Period.

GreenSmile said...

At least, in resigning, the pastor makes a better example than some politicians who's votes he preached to influence.

Stan said...

Like your new site....

Pastor Ted will undoubtedly do a weeping Jimmy Swaggart "I have sinned" re-enactment in the near term. I could care less what he does on his own time as long as he isn't publically condemning others for doing what he does secretly.
Like so many other high profile religious personalities, he's in it for the money and power...just like most of our lickspittle elected representatives. Hope his wife takes everything he has accumulated and leaves him begging on the streets. He deserves it.