(I know this is old news already. I’ve been busy lately and there is scant time available for editing.)
For devout and outspoken atheists like myself, the schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) that we enjoy when one of the holy elites finds himself in deep moral trouble is immense. In fact, that sort of pleasure, at least for a while, overshadows pretty much everything else that is going on around me. For Rev.Haggard, who has vehemently opposed homosexuality, to be found engaging in homosexual acts, once again reinforces the age-old adage-principle of “Me thinks he doth protest too much.” In Freudian terms, we call this behavior ‘reaction formation’. Freud called this process of over-compensating ‘overboarding’, and it is one of Freud’s original defense mechanisms.
Since everyone by now knows the story of Rev. Haggard’s downfall, I’d like to focus more on the latest news from his ministry and how they feel about Pastor Ted now. I will have to offer here a great big “I told you so”, because right after he was exposed, I predicted four things would occur. Firstly, that he would be ushered into a gay rehabilitation program by other prominent church leaders. Second, that they will assert that Rev. Ted was taken over by Satan and, thirdly, his congregation would forgive him and pray for his welfare. My fourth prediction is that Pastor Ted would commit suicide at some point within the next few months. It hasn’t happened yet. There’s hope.
From the LA Times 12-08-06:
“This theology of constant spiritual warfare has led some of his followers to blame Haggard's fall not on any personal weakness but on Satan's cunning. As congregation member Jan Long, 60, put it: "The enemy wants to destroy us."
That’s right. Blame everyone but the man who broke the rules he preached. Who exactly is this enemy? Satan? Liberal Society? Drugs? Jews? Sheesh. And warfare? This paranoia is exactly what exacerbates the problem. Talk about screwed up. The more pressure you apply to the problem, the more the problem stays in the forefront and thus, the more attention is drawn to it. I have seen videos (via YouTube) of this church and others who use over-the-top rhetoric and tactics to scare the ‘bejeezus’ out of kids and adults. It apparently works on everyone except those who produce it. The audience is so messed up after Pastor Ted’s preaching they can’t think straight.
I can’t help but think how much Pastor Ted’s followers resemble certain Chasidim and how these Colorado Christians remain as devoted to their pastor as do Lubavitchers to their still-dead-maybe-not-dead Rebbe. In one video, the young male audience members literally glistened with joy at coming in physical contact with Pastor Ted. They began to dance and jump as if on cue. If the church could have been instantly morphed into a gay techno dance club, the reaction of the male youth to Pastor’s presence would have made a lot more sense. (Yechi! Yechi!)
This man was damn near 50 years old. Do you think this was the first and only time that Satan had the good Pastor Ted in his demonic grasp? No one wakes up at 49 years of age and decides that he is gay. I have spoken with many gay men and the vast majority knew full well they had such tendencies from early on. Maybe after years and years of counseling homosexual men and fighting an uphill battle against this ‘disease’, old Ted finally had to see for himself what the attraction of man-on-man sex was all about. After all, he had been thinking about long and hard in his ministry.
Some might argue that Pastor Ted is really a bisexual (or at least bisexually curious) and he just likes getting off with whoever is available and willing. He may even be a sex addict. If so, then why did he choose a male prostitute when there are so many more females to be had? There are likely to be dozens of Asian massage parlors anywhere within driving distance of the church. That he chose a male is telling. This obsession was brewing for some time. Maybe Pastor Ted was just curious? Once is curious. After that, it means he liked it!
Maybe Pastor Ted close a male because he could always fall back on a good alibi should he get caught. The chances of Pastor Ted weaseling his way out from underneath an illegally trafficked sixteen-year-old Burmese mountain girl with a justification of “counseling for the ministry” probably won’t work out too well. Since no one would believe he is gay to start with, a male prostitute would actually provide an excellent cover for Ted’s spiritual ‘deviance’. Nice try, Reverend.
Let’s also mention the methamphetamines; ostensibly the most pernicious, vicious, and addictive substance anywhere around. Most drug users don’t just start with ‘meth’. Meth is somewhere you get to when other narcotics or pharmaceuticals just don’t get you high enough anymore or aren’t available. It’s not common to just wake up one day and decide to try methamphetamine. It is possible that the gay hooker was a user and convinced Pastor Ted that drugs would help him have better orgasms or give him more energy. Whatever that excuse, the idea that Pastor Ted just up and decided, out of the blue, to smoke meth is ludicrous.
“New Life's trustees are working on a severance package to sustain Haggard (who earned about $140,000 a year) and his wife (who earned about $50,000 a year for her work with women's ministries). Associate Pastor Rob Brendle said the Haggards had also received a "generous outpouring" of gifts from congregation members, including donations.”
One question: Where do I get a job (outside of politics or religion) where I can violate the most important rules in the company handbook and still get a nice severance package and the best wishes of those whom I so audaciously deceived? Maybe if I burn down the company warehouses and call the customers obscene names, the owners and coworkers would hold a benefit in my honor? Will the ‘captains’ of my chosen industry perform an intervention on my behalf? I think not.
The next time anyone claims that someone is in the ‘Grasp of Satan’, ask them to hold up both hands in plain sight. If Pastor Ted was, in fact, being held in Satan’s unholy death-grip, we can then only imagine where that hand was placed. At least Satan gave him a little reach-around.