The Ted Haggard Movement Airs Its Shame
Max Blumenthal printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:27:47 AM EST
Throughout Focus on the Family's broadcast on the Ted Haggard scandal this Monday, James Dobson and his guests took special care to distance themselves from Haggard while unwittingly empathizing with their disgraced former ally's submission to what he called his "dark and repulsive" desires.
Syndicated radio host Ravi Zacharias revealed that he had cried himself to sleep the night before ("I've been weepy all day," Dobson interjected). Zacharias then related an unintentionally hilarious tale about a trip by Rev. Billy Graham to Paris in the early 1960's.

According to Zacharias, Graham wandered the Left Bank one night after delivering a sermon and witnessed "all this nightilfe available to him." But rather than succumb to temptation, Graham locked himself in his hotel room and left the key outside. Thanks to this bold tactic, he survived the night without morphing into a black-bereted existentialist.

The lesson of this story, Zacharias said, is that, "We need to have a healthy respect for the power of seduction."

Dobson's first cousin, H.B. London, who is charge of ministry outreach for FoF, declared, "Though we're talking about Ted Haggard today, I guarantee you there are 50 or 100 cases like this breaking across the nation today."

Another guest, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler, insisted, "I think one of the biggest dangers here is solitude. Someone has to be there to interrogate and investigate every aspect of our lives." (Is Mohler aware of the Bush administration?)

Finally, Dobson's co-host John Fuller piped up. "If you're struggling with sexual temptation," Fuller told his listeners, "Focus on the Family is here to help, and our number is 1-800-A-FAMILY."

Apparently Dobson and his movement have a lot more to hide than Ted Haggard. More seamy scandals are inevitable, but don't expect that to stop them from projecting their shame on others.

We're all supposed to trust them when they can't even trust themselves. In the same vein as Dobson's lament, I received this today from the Texas Freedom Network -- an email from Jerry Falwell (emphasis added).

Date: November 6, 2006
From: Moral Majority Coalition and Liberty Alliance
By: Jerry Falwell

The Elections are Not Over!

On MSNBC this afternoon (Friday), Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report said on MSNBC that he believes the Republican Party is in a "meltdown" that will lead to a 20-seat pickup for Democrats in the U.S. House. (Democrats need to gain 15 seats to take control of the House.)

With all due respect, I believe Mr. Cook is wrong.

And I continue to believe that conservative Christians hold the key to this election.
If we -- the people the media like to call the "religious right" -- get out the vote and support those candidates that best exemplify our Judeo-Christian values, I believe that conservative incumbents and candidates across this country will surprise the experts.

I don't believe the scandals involving Rep. Mark Foley and now Rev. Ted Haggard will affect the election, even though the so-called mainstream media have attempted to make them hot-button issues.

As I told a Newsweek reporter earlier this week, our nation overcame larger scandals in the Clinton White House. I don't believe these scandals -- as disconcerting as they are -- are going to prompt conservative "values voters" to throw up their hands and allow the liberals to gain power (even though the media are sensationalizing these scandals like nothing I've ever seen).

That's not how conservative Christians have voted over the past 26 years, since we swept President Ronald Reagan into office. We're not about to shy about from the political battle simply because one in our ranks -- even though he is an important leader -- has apparently allowed himself to fall morally.

The fate of America is too important to allow another in a long line of scandals to inhibit conservative Christians from going to the ballot box and expressing their faith through their vote.

As I wrote last week, I am encouraging pastors across the nation to ensure that their parishioners are knowledgeable about the issues and prepared to vote. While pastors may not legally endorse candidates, we may -- legally -- inform our congregations about issues and discuss the candidates' voting records. It is imperative that we do this.

If the 225,000 evangelical pastors in our nation will exhort their members to the voting booths on Tuesday, November 7, I am convinced that the experts and pundits who are predicting doom and gloom for the Republicans (and conservative Democrats and Independents) will be proved wrong.

Pastors and Morality

Finally, as an aside to the Ted Haggard situation, I would like to encourage pastors to take great pains to avoid temptation in their lives. It must be a constant effort on our part.

As a pastor of more than 50 years, I vowed a long time ago to shun moral temptation.

Subsequently, I never meet alone with a woman, for any reason. I don't travel with women and I surround myself only with confidantes, Christian men, whom I trust and know well.

I don't say this to pat myself on the back. I am a man and am subject to the same lure of sin as any other man. It behooves me -- and all pastors -- to avoid even the hint of temptation in our lives. We must be careful and cautious at all times to keep ourselves out of harm's way.

History is full of tragic figures. When men -- even Christians -- do not adequately protect themselves from the temptations of sin, they tend to experience moral collapse. I have known pastors through the years -- many of them good men -- who let their guards down and became morally incautious. Their recklessness cost them dearly and their churches and their families needlessly suffered.

Any time a well-known evangelical figure experiences a moral nose-dive, the entire church of Jesus Christ is negatively affected. It gives ammo to those who love to portray all conservative Christians as hypocrites and frauds.

Pastors, we all have weaknesses, as the Bible tells us (Hebrews 12:1). But that verse also informs us that we are to "run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

We must, pastors, recommit ourselves to avoiding the temptations of life. Place in your own life men of abiding faith who will encourage you, pray for you, hold you accountable and help you run the race that is set before you.

It's easy to understand why Falwell has to be so careful to surround himself with stalwart Christian men. He's obviously temptation on the hoof to any woman with a pulse.

by moiv on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 01:28:43 AM EST

Ouch!  James Dobson just announced he isn't going to be part of the counselling team of his "good friend" Ted Haggard.

"Emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help - but the reality is I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility," Dobson said.

Of course what he said may be true, but it certainly doesn't look good to be backing off a commitment like this.

by tacitus on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 01:10:14 PM EST

I thoroughly enjoyed this particular flame-out (no pun intended) as Mr. Haggard is among one of my in-laws favorite empty-mind fillers.  The man really gave her a big part of her daily/weekly dose of psuedo moralizing superiority.  Of course, the whole idea of him actually being gay just tripped what few circuit breakers they've got in their brain.  So, once again, cognitive dissonance appears to only cause painful symptoms in those of us with sufficient synapses to hold two or three complex thoughts in our head at once.  

In other words, the "movement" will simply drum him out in shame, and move on, without another thought.  After all, we've been here before: Swaggert and Bakker come to mind, though they are pretty well forgotten, just a decade or so later - and the movement is as strong as ever.

I feel very badly for this man - what a horrible and terrifying existince he must have been leading for some time.  Double lives take a terrible toll, and I'm sure the Meth didn't help much with that.  Perhaps now, with the truth out, and the weight of lying and hiding off of his back, he may get some peace and relief.  I'm sure this will be horribly painful for his family, but again, ultimately less painful than living a lie.  

by montpellier on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 05:13:58 PM EST

Dobson has to be another major NAMBLA closet case himself - the writings on the little dog and discussions of fathers and sons sharing least Mr. Haggard's tastes ran to mature adults.

by montpellier on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 05:15:28 PM EST

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