Monday, November 06, 2006
Rev. Ted Haggard and what his fall means
Right before the 2006 mid-term elections, the media has feasted over the fall of another religious right pundit, Rev. Ted Haggard from the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, home of, as we know, Focus on the Family. Colleen Slevin has a major AP story on Sunday Nov 5, 2006.
There's not need to dwaddle here on the details. Of course we're concerned about the hyporcrisy, in a state where there are two amendments on the ballot by referendum concerning same-sex unions.
Haggard is shown in a media clip as saying that everyone should "find a partner of the opposite sex and make a lifelong commitment." Haggard himself was married with five children. All of this means that (in religious right views) it's not just that homosexual acts are wrong, there is a positive duty to carry on a biological lineage if biologically able. I saw this in the subjunctive mood, of course. This kind of comment ("be fruitful and multiply") does indeed come out of a mindset that looks for an external source of Truth (the Bible, or any scripture) that does not require independent intellectual verification by man.
That idea (of a moral obligation to be open to procreation, the way the Vatican talks about it, despite its own priests and nuns) has always been the center of my own concern. There is an existential mishmash of other concerns over the idea that, among men, homosexuality is a way (for a less "competitive" male) of rejecting your own biological family, of saying, through upward affiliation and a kind of self-abuse, that another lineage is superior. That is, one, like a free agent, wants to play on another team. One does not have the psychosexual drive and maturity to continue one's own lineage adequately. That's the impression I sometimes have of what I see in the writings of other conservatives, like in George Gilder's book Men and Marriage in the 1980s. I do understand the consersative Christian pseudo-claim that outflanking one's own competitive weaknesses with upward affiliation (instead of "turning to God" and Christ) could indirectly put other "non competitive" people (who depend on the automaticity of family connections) in a weaker position. When does one have to be his brother's keeper? The Gospels seem to say, pretty often.
But Haggard himself would refute, or at least complicate, this idea. After all, he did have a full home life with a wife and five kids. What was he looking for?
It's about more than just biological destiny. But in a mainstream church yesterday, a middle-aged married heterosexual Sunday school teacher said, "Marriage is a great institution. But as a young man, it was years before I was ready for it."
(Picture: Market St in downtown Philadelphia, PA; the COPA Child Online Protection Act) trial, which could affect LGBT websites, is going on the the James A. Byrne US Courthouse building on the right.)