Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ted Haggard's other secret life

Well, here we go with the second act of a made for Oprah scandal.

Ousted Pastor ‘Completely Heterosexual’

Forced by a gay sex scandal to resign as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Rev. Ted Haggard now feels that after three weeks of intensive counseling, he is “completely heterosexual,” says an overseer of the megachurch Mr. Haggard once led.

The church official, the Rev. Tim Ralph, said in an interview published yesterday by The Denver Post that Mr. Haggard had also told the board of overseers that his only sexual relationship involving another man had been with Michael Jones, the onetime Denver prostitute who exposed that three-year affair last fall. Mr. Jones said then that he was making it public because Mr. Haggard
had acted hypocritically in promoting a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage.
This is particularly interesting in light of the latest Atlantic. There is a very interesting article on the local politics of gay marriage:

They Won’t Know What Hit Them
by Joshua Green

The software mogul Tim Gill has a mission: Stop the Rick Santorums of tomorrow before they get started. How a network of gay political donors is stealthily fighting sexual discrimination and reshaping American politics

A tough loss can be hard to swallow, and plenty of defeated politicians have been known to grumble about sinister conspiracies. When they are rising stars like Danny Carroll, the Republican speaker pro tempore of Iowa’s House of Representatives, and the loss is unexpected, the urge to blame unseen forces can be even stronger—and in Carroll’s case, it would have the additional distinction of being justified. Carroll was among the dozens of targets of a group of rich gay philanthropists who quietly joined forces last year, under the leadership of a reclusive Colorado technology mogul, to counter the tide of antigay politics in America that has generated, among other things, a succession of state ballot initiatives banning gay marriage. Carroll had sponsored such a bill in Iowa and guided it to passage in the state House of Representatives, the first step toward getting it on the ballot

Ted Haggard makes an appearance in a most interesting way.

One component of Gill’s strategy includes courting that element of the Republican Party that’s open to compromise, while at the same time making clear that gay bashing will now come at a price. “You have to create an atmosphere of fear and respect,” said Trimpa, “and set up the proper context for them to do the right thing.” But neither Gill’s checkbook nor the Republicans’ woes have stopped social conservatives from pressing their agenda. Last year, when it became clear that Colorado Republicans intended to back a ballot initiative banning gay marriage, Gill and his allies moved first to frame the debate by pushing Referendum I, a bill endorsing domestic partnerships, and spending $5 million to promote it.

This effort also included some shrewd inside maneuvering. Colorado is home to a prominent Christian-right movement, centered on James Dobson’s Colorado Springs organization, Focus on the Family. Gays held no realistic hope of defeating the marriage ban. So to create a more favorable environment for domestic partnerships to become law, Gill’s operatives worked to divide their opponents into two camps: those conservatives who wanted to ban only marriage but would countenance partnerships, and the rest, like Dobson, who wanted, as Trimpa put it, “to ban the whole ball of wax.” They reached an informal truce with the moderate element of the conservative movement to back only the marriage ban and to not oppose the referendum on domestic partnerships. Among this faction’s leaders was an adversary of Dobson’s within the evangelical community, the Reverend Ted Haggard of the New Life Church
So the scandal about evangelical hypocrisy actually brought down the moderate force that was supposed to blunt the impact of Dobson.

Just goes to show that politics is unpredictable and that the headlines and punditry of the MSM usually only covers about 20% of the real story.

UPDATE: I think that the JunkYardBlog's statement on the power of grace perfectly captures the best response to these sorts of scandals.

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