Saturday, November 04, 2006

Everybody knows I'm just barely getting by

If at this point, I need to explain to you who Ted Haggard is, you need to get out of your bubble. Admittedly, when this news first broke, i was overjoyed. There's nothing I love more than hateful hypocrites, and people who thrive on demonizing others, getting their one-up, being publically humiliated and disgraced, and having their ignorant or naive followers have to face a little more reality than they're used to having to deal with.

But you know, this guy gets me. For some reason, much more than Foley, this story really moves me. I feel genuinely bad for the guy, and I kind of want to give him a hug.

Interestingly enough, Tony Campolo seems to get it, too, and in this interview actually blames religious leaders for not only causing, but perpetuating this type of behavior that Haggard has engaged in. He understands the shame of the closet, the irreparable damage that living in a society that hates you can do to one's psyche, and calls for compassion, forgiveness, and reaching out to gay people by evangelicals. Perhaps a new day is dawning after all. I mean, Jesus Christ, how many more times does this kind of shit need to happen before people start to understand and realize that it is society's prejudice that creates these monsters that hurt people and destroy families, not that they're inherently evil people who are driven mad and into a life of self-destruction simply by nature of who they are.

I sympathize with Haggard, I honestly do. Every gay person, if they're really honest with themselves, will. The ones who want to demonize him are not much better off than he is. Which is not to say that I think he should be let off the hook for his hypocrisy, or not be held responsible for the furthering of hatred in which he has engaged, but the man obviously hates himself on a very, very deep level. And not only that, nobody of his status buys drugs and visits the same prostitute every month for 3 years, and doesn't, on some level, want to be caught. This man is in pain, and caused irreparable damage to his family. I can't imagine what it feels like to be this man's wife right now. His life is effectively over. As I said, we don't need to excuse this, but I feel a little compassion is in order.

I sincerely hope that some positivity comes out of all this, even if it's the start of a new dialogue, or just the reconsideration of a handful of people about their beliefs and actions. I can only hope that it further damages the credibility of the Republican party, and the power of the evangelicals, but more than that, I truly truly hope that Haggard can recover from this and become a whole human being someday. I don't envy his journey; I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, and as painful as my own journey of acceptance has been, his will be a thousand times worse. So I feel for him. If I believed in his God, that he may, or may not, actually have any faith in, I would pray for him.

Sigh. This story breaks my heart, to be honest, and I've been following it very closely. I hope I live to see the day where the society in which I live moves on from these types of stories because these types of things no longer happen, because everyone is on an equal playing field.

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