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September 27, 2008

Funnier Than Sad? Or...Sadder Than Funny?

This is former evangelist Ted Haggard in the documentary Constantine's Sword. It was filmed when he was still pastor of the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs, before he admitted to visiting a male prostitute and using meth.

As you'll see, Haggard might as well be wearing a t-shirt reading "I AM A HORRIBLY TORMENTED CLOSETED GAY MAN." In a way it's funny, especially since his church was a leader in the right-wing culture wars. But it's also incredibly sad. You want to go back in time and find 12 year-old Teddy Haggard, and tell him he's perfectly fine and worthy of love exactly as he is.

I generally don't get too worked up when people are discriminated against as adults, since I figure they've got the inner resources to deal with it. But I do find it upsetting to imagine the ways humanity's various bigotries wound and twist children. Poor Teddy. Truly god only knows what was done to him.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at September 27, 2008 08:52 AM

He's so awkward and freakish. Who would ever take advice or counsel (of any kind) from this man? Look at his freakishly large teeth... FREAKTEETH!
Are those the teeth of a man who knows things other people should know? I don't think so. Those are the teeth of a man who knows horrible things! Terrible things! Things others should never know!
Thank you.

Posted by: RTT at September 27, 2008 09:05 AM

I see that face, and all I can think of is Definitely Not Gay Man :

Posted by: Marshall at September 27, 2008 09:36 AM

Its his love life-his PERSONAL business, his and his congration's church, THEIR religion-their PERSONAL business. WHATS SAD (and maybe funny) is that I and the rest of the fucking world end up hearing about and discussing it. BUT when xyz (no I'm NOT xyz) discusses HIS sexual trists and (maybe) his religious belief, some people get the palsy and start jerking like they were tased. (funny and real sad)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 27, 2008 01:23 PM

@RTT: "Look at his freakishly large teeth"

Perhaps his teeth are normal size, and the rest of his head is freakishly small.

Hence, the entire foundation of your analysis may be off.

Posted by: lirny at September 27, 2008 03:52 PM

Mike, that made no sense whatsoever--what does the troll have to do with anything? He didn't just come here to tell us about his sexual prowess, fascinating as that apparently was to you--he also mixed in large amounts of racist and sexist comments. You miss this? Find some public restroom and start reading.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 27, 2008 05:57 PM

"what was done to him"
And why, and by who(m).
The default is it's just this weird anti-sex thing that rose up (no pun intended) back in the dark of history.
But people as cultures don't carry dysfunction for as long as this without there being root causes (no pun intended).
Sex taboos have upsides (no pun intended), even the ones that are still festering in contemporary Puritanical communities.
Patriarchal sex taboos enforce and maintain the dominance of the patriarchy. Establishing sex taboos in kids before they have conscious sexual feelings links those taboos with survival modes received from the culture at the same time, and avoids the resistance that would be there if the sexual feelings came first (no pun intended).
The conflict between personal sex drive and cultural sex permissions and taboos that Haggard squalidly exemplifies benefits somebody or something, even now.
Treating it like a simple aberration makes it easy to dismiss.
Lots of love for whoever you are as whatever you are, yes.
But there's something there that still can't speak its name(no pun intended).

Posted by: Roy Belmont at September 27, 2008 06:36 PM

Donald Johnson: He's just expressing his opinion, such as it is. I don't happen agree with him, but still its his opinion and I have mine. Would YOU rather he lie about his prejudices? That doesn't make them disappear. I personally would rather hear the TRUTH than an ECHO.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 27, 2008 09:01 PM

I want to respect EVERY human being's opinion. I will agree with VERY FEW of them I know, YET how can I otherwise expect ANY human being to respect my opinion, agreed to or not.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 28, 2008 01:45 AM

Mike, he wasn't just expressing his opinion. That's not what trolls are about--this guy made no pretense that he was here to respect opinions or argue in good faith and if you couldn't see that then you weren't paying the slightest bit of attention and there's nothing I could say that would persuade you--I'd have to go back and quote him and it's not worth the effort.

Also, unlike you, I do not respect every human being's opinion and won't respect their opinion just so they will respect mine. Sometimes I can sympathize with someone with an opinion I think is abhorrent--there might be understandable reasons in a person's life story which explains why they might support suicide bombing or torture or whatever. But I don't respect the opinion. But again, this has nothing to do with the troll.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 28, 2008 12:52 PM

Your sentiment is true of so many people. For example, by the time he was 12 Charles Manson was doomed. He never had a chance.

Posted by: JL at September 28, 2008 05:39 PM

Donald Johnson: Its bait and switch. Respect IS NOT agreement.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 28, 2008 06:53 PM

I kinda understood that, Mike but you apparently can't distinguish between opinions you disagree with, but respect, and opinions which you disagree with and don't respect. I don't agree with racism, for instance, and don't respect the opinions of people who defend it.

Anyway, Mike, you can disagree with but respect the racist and sexist ravings of any troll you read if you want to. I don't. You can have the last word.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 28, 2008 11:35 PM

Darn-- That was garbled. I meant that I do respect the opinions of some people I disagree with, but there are some opinions so vile they deserve no respect and you, Mike, don't seem to understand this. Sheesh. I should have just made my bathroom wall comparison and left it at that.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 28, 2008 11:42 PM

I don't think Haggard is gay. I think he's a rapist, in much the same way that Caligula was a rapist. What I mean is thus - Haggard would have sex with anyone he can "control." It has nothing to do with desire or lust, and everything to do with power.

Gay folks are just like you and me. Haggard is not.

Posted by: Christopher Wing at September 29, 2008 12:59 PM