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Soul cages

Adam turned to me in the office on Friday and asked, “did you hear…”

Yes, I heard. If it is possible for a black woman to turn multiple shades of purple, choking on her screaming, that was me, reading the news on my computer screen earlier that morning.

So the Pastor Ted Haggard was outed by his $200 per hour male escort of three years for being a big ol’ hypocrite on the rights of same-sex couples to fuck, love and marry whoever they want. Until just a few days ago, Haggard could be counted on to be photographed with his wife, Gayle, and their five children as a shining example to the rest of us of what God’s purpose is for us on this planet. Worse than the mere image of the Happy Heterosexual Home, Haggard lead his flock of 14,000 at the New Life Church and the 30,000 of the National Association of Evangelicals into campaigns against homosexuality and other “moral failings.”

Here’s an A/V clip from YouTube showing Pastor Ted speaking with his church on the absoluteness of Christian belief on same-sex relationships.


“We’ve decided the Bible is the word of God. We don’t have to have a general assembly about what we believe: it’s written in the Bible. Alright, so we don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible. [He pauses and turns into the camera, looking directly at the viewer.] I think I know what you did last night. [The audience explodes into laughter. Haggard continues.] If you send me a thousand dollars, I won’t tell your wife.” [More laughter and applause.]

So Mike Jones just told your wife, Ted.

Before you joyfully bounce off to the polls on Tuesday, dear readers, smug in your satisfaction that this fallen angel may drag his conservative party backers down into Hell with him, let’s take a moment here to beg for mercy.

What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis

What’chu talkin‘ ‘boutWillis?

Mr. Haggard (no longer “pastor” as he was stripped of that title by his church board yesterday) must have suffered greatly under the pressure of leading a life in which he could not be fully honest about his desires, whether he wanted to rid himself of them, fully embrace them or simply explore the gray area in between. Ted could not count on this place — the church to which he devoted his life — nor on these people — the ones who claimed to “know” him — to do anything more than rid themselves of him if his other desires came to light.

I have a lot of anger about Haggard, his religious ideology, and the influence that people like him have had over the political direction of the U.S. Still, if there is mercy, Mr. Haggard will NOT be the poster boy for the next NGLTF fundraiser, but rather the man whose experience leads his congregation to a place of open critical thought on sexual exploration, sexual identity and the complexity of human relationships.

We *do* have to have a general assembly on what we believe.

Have mercy on us all.

I dated a woman for 8 months who was not out of the closet about her sexuality. I vividly remember the small terror that flashed across her face when I leaned in to kiss her one morning as we were parting on the downtown bus. She loved me, though, so the relationship was worth what I considered to be small burdens.

Still, when the relationship ended, I swore that I would never do that again.

I didn’t keep to that pledge, as you know. But I still strive for it, and so, last night on my way to a BDSM auction, thought of dumping the friend who came with me because she had the same terror on her face.

Don’t tell anyone, she said. Promise?

Yeah. I guess so. But I don’t like it.

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