Friday, November 10, 2006

What did Haggard do wrong?

No, I’m not asking this question for myself. Rather, my question is directed at folks like “Rick & Gary”:


“All very cute. But Haggard said that he opposed homosexual marriage because homosexual conduct is a sin. Presumably, he believed it to be a sin even when it involved a prostitute and crystal meth.”

1.To begin with, I don’t what was especially “cute” about my post.

I quoted a philosopher, a Jewish social critic, and a homosexual man of letters.

The actual arguments of Prager and Vallicella went right over their heads.

2.I’m still wondering why they think Haggard is a hypocrite. Because he’s a junkie?

Is a junkie by definition a hypocrite? Or is it only a junkie who disapproves of drug addiction?

How many junkies approve of drug addition? Do they become drug addicts because they think this is a wonderful way to live?

Surely the average junkie is painfully aware of the fact that his drug habit is destroying his life. Wouldn’t he kick the habit if he had the willpower to do so?

Why do Rick & Gary have so little empathy for men and women who find themselves trapped in compulsive and self-destructive lifestyle? Isn’t compassion a liberal value? I guess not.

3. Is there something hypocritical about a junkie who warns other people about the dangers of drug addiction? Who better if not a junkie?

How does experience disqualify you from warning others to learn from your own experience?

4.Or is he a hypocrite because he keeps his addiction a secret?

But suppose he’s been able to hold down a good paying job. If he goes public with his addiction, he’d lose his job.

Don’t Rick & Gary have any friends who are addicted to drugs? Are all their friends a bunch of hypocrites?

Or only those who work for a living?

Or only those who work for a living while they warn others about the dangers of drug addiction?

5.Back to same-sex marriage, why do they think Haggard is a hypocrite? It’s not as if he was opposing same-sex marriage at the same time he had a private wedding ceremony to marry his boyfriend.

So where’s the hypocrisy?

It would be hypocritical of he denied same-sex marriage to everyone else while he made an exception for himself. But that’s not the case.

6.Or is it because he was an ordained minister? That he was leading a double life?

But don’t some of their homosexual friends lead a double life as well?

Indeed, isn’t one of the stock arguments for homosexual ordination that there are good men and women who are forced to lead a double life because a homophobic church compels them to choose between ministry and the partner they love?

Why are Rick & Gary so judgmental? Shouldn’t we expect members of the homosexual community to be more understanding and accepting of the pragmatic compromises which men like Haggard must make?

Don’t they have any friends in analogous circumstances?

7. What’s wrong with being a hypocrite, anyway? Do they believe in moral absolutes?

What did Haggard do wrong? Violate traditional Christian ethics? But they don’t believe in traditional Christian ethics.

So if they don’t think that traditional Christian ethics should set the standard of right and wrong, what did Haggard do wrong?

8. Are they saying that it’s worse to do the wrong thing if you think it’s wrong than it is to do the wrong thing as long as you think it’s right?

If so, do they think a skinhead who lynches a sodomite in good conscience is better than a man who lynches a sodomite even though he thinks it’s a sin to do so? Is that their idea of moral clarity?


  1. Ted Haggard sinned a vile sin. He should be barred from the ministry for a long time, if not for ever. What he did wrong was buy illegal drugs and engage in homosexual practices (which he paid for). In so doing, he brough the body of Christ into disrepute.

    Why is it that the anti-Christian side cries 'hypocrisy?' Why, it is because in a society without God, without moral absolutes, the highest moral standard is viewed as fidelity to self. After all, when self becomes the highest end, what worse sin could there be than being untrue to one's own self.

    Sadly, its a morally diseased version of the old 'Public School religion' of Matthew Arnold.

  2. You said "Why is it that the anti-Christian side cries 'hypocrisy?'

    Because Haggard condemned the very thing that he was actively partaking in.

    You said: "Why, it is because in a society without God, without moral absolutes, the highest moral standard is viewed as fidelity to self. After all, when self becomes the highest end, what worse sin could there be than being untrue to one's own self."

    90% of people in the U.S. believe in God. I don't know what you are talking about by blaming atheists, we are talking about Haggard, a pastor of a mega church who did what he condemned.

    Why are you attacking atheists? Remember, Haggard is a theist. Maybe you should be critical of hypocrite Christians. they seem to be the holier than thou bunch who judge everyone else. I'm stereotyping, but every stereotype has some truth to it.

  3. Anon. First, I do not write from America, but Wales. Where I write, about 5% of the people attend church, and churches are closing at the rate of almost one a week.

    Now, a clarification. As I re-read what I wrote, I would like to make it quite clear that I do not blame atheists for Ted Haggard's sin. I blame Ted Haggard.

    My first paragraph, now that I read it again, was open to misinterpretation. The words in brackets '(which he paid for)' for a reference to the fact that Haggard paid for sex and drugs, not that he has paid in full for his crime. In fact, he should be put on trial and, if found guilty, imprisoned. This is too early to talk of restoration. By at least twenty years.

    Had you bothered to read further, rather than quote out of context, my wondering "why is it that the anti-Christian side cries 'hypocrisy?'" was asking why that particular sin was picked up on and not the two other very vile sins that Haggard sinned.

    I did not attack atheists, but 'anti-Christians'. There is a difference. Believe me, however, there is no-one more critical of those in the Church who live in sin, whether secret or open. Of course, I do so in love. But to correct a person, or to preserve a ministry is love enough.

    And, lastly, you will find no-one more critical of much of the failings of modern evangelicalism as I. Not a month ago, I noted that too many young evangelicals play with sin, seeing how close they will go. I wonder if that's how Haggard got started.

    See, too many evangelicals surrender to the temptation to entertain sin, just a small one. But a single enemy spy can open the gates of a great city.

    Judgement must begin at home. But we must clear that this is not because the sentencing magistrate who is guilty of the same crime as the prisoner at the bar has no right to pass judgement. Rather, it is because that magistrate will find himself sharing the same cell as that prisoner.

    Equally, the political focus of too many US Churches seems to men to be feeding this ghastly combination of legalism and antinominaism, these legalistic libertines like Ted Haggard.

    Thank you for your interesting points. I trust this clarifies my position.