Before resigning in disgrace after a three-year relationship with a male prostitute, Ted Haggard was one of the Christian Right’s most powerful figures — president of the National Association of Evangelicals and a close confidante of the Bush White House. Haggard, now purportedly “completely heterosexual,” hosted a prayer meeting at his Colorado home last night in an attempt to mount a comeback, attracting 110 people. Saying “America loves a scandal, but they love a comeback even more,” Haggard argued he can redeem himself in part because he was never a “hateful, anti-gay guy”:
“I was always well aware of my own personal struggles, but my desire was to be more Godly,” said Haggard. “I was never a religious right, hateful, anti-gay guy — secretly running off, except right at the end. I’d say right at the end, before the crisis. That did develop a little bit stronger.” […]
“It was good for me to go through the Christian hatred of people believing that I was a gay man — and hating me so strongly because of it. And so because of it, my compassion for the homosexual community has gone up incredibly,” said Haggard.
Haggard has experienced what it’s like to be on the receiving end of “Christian hatred,” and it’s reassuring to know that he now has more “compassion” for gay men and women. But despite his claims, he was responsible for dishing out this hatred for many years.
Haggard catered to the Christian Right’s demonization of gays, calling homosexuality a “sin” and arguing, “We don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity, it’s written in the Bible.” Haggard also said that Western civilization could be devastated by same-sex marriage:
“[W]e need the Federal Marriage Amendment is for the sake of children. … It would be devastating for the children of our nation and for the future of Western civilization for us to say that homosexual unions or lesbian unions or any alteration of that has the moral equivalence of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage.”
Will Haggard finally practice what he preaches by pushing for equal rights for gay men and women?