Saturday, November 04, 2006

"I swear, it was just a massage!!!"

Whoopsy! Looks like bible-humping speed freak Pastor Ted Haggard has been found guilty of sexual misconduct by a jury of his whacked-out religious peers:

"We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigations and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct."

BANG! And so falleth god's great shit-hammer down upon the good reverend's meth-addled head. Following the determinations made by the Overseer Board, Haggard agreed to resign as leader of the New Life Church.

The judgment, of course, follows Thursday's accusation of a 3-year sexual relationship with gay escort Mike Jones, and subsequent denials, semi-admissions and hard to swallow (oops) explanations from Haggard. The reverend maintains that he only contacted Jones to buy meth (allrighty then, that's okay!), which he then tossed "because it was wrong". Which might be almost believable if it happened once, but apparently he did this monthly over a 3-year period. Haggard insists there was no sex involved in his liaisons with Jones... just nice, innocent, relaxing massages to wind down from the exertion of spreading god's word. Nice innocent massages with a little crystal thrown in to maximize the relaxation (ha). Nice innocent relaxing massages done by a gay escort, when there are any number of straight massage therapists Haggard could have chosen from. If he'd wanted to. Some of Haggard's evangelical followers are indeed goofy enough to believe this, but even so, it's expected that the shock waves from the scandal might reach all the way to the outcome of Tuesday's midterm elections. (Maybe there is a dog after all.)

As much as I think Haggard and his ilk deserve ridicule and take great pleasure in relentlessly laying it on them, there's something really disturbing underneath all this. It's dismaying that Haggard could be so totally living a double life, publicly disseminating hatred against the person he really is. Maybe it's the overcompensation on one side that enables the denial on the other. But if these religious hypocrites are so consumed by bigotry that they even loathe what they find in themselves, there's some serious closet-opening that needs to be done in order to force these people to understand that diversity doesn't equal "sin", and diversity walks even among them. Imagine if Haggard just come out on his own. He still would have lost his job, but maybe it would have made some of his followers think. The way it really happened, with all the lying and shame and disgrace and hypocrisy, only serves to bolster the bigotry and force others in similar circumstances to retreat even further.