Until the recent "revelation" I’d never heard of Ted Haggard. I knew about Merle Haggard but not Ted. And I now know there’s not much in common between them.
I didn’t know Ted Haggard was listed as one of the 25 most influential men in America. Didn’t know he was president of National Association of Evangelicals. Didn’t know he was friends with presidents and top Christian leaders.
Well Ted’s going down and all that remains is the fading echo of the derby shoe heels of his erstwhile friends Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.
In doing a bit of digging I’ve found that it’s true that the NAE webmaster has taken off all Ted Haggard links; but it’s not true that the only thing that’s working on the site is the donation link.
It’s true that Ted’s fall is a huge deal for American evangelicals but it’s not true that most regular folks care. Most people will think that Ted probably needs some education about his own homosexuality. And that he might want to revise his stated literalism on the Leviticus 20:13 passage: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Up until today, you could still view Ted Haggard’s website where I found something I liked. When conflict flared after the 2001 terror attacks, Haggard said that Christians’ first duty is to "serve the Islamic people" by protecting them from angry backlash.
As well, although there is more than a hint of elitism, he a least doesn’t come across quite as one-dimensional as some of his powerful Evangelical friends. For example, he says, "Whether Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Christian, if we give them government accountable to the people, give them free-market economics and let them worship according to their conscience, and a greater opportunity to raise their families as they believe, we will have a better society."
But on the other hand I found something I didn’t like. In an interview last year with Harpers he said, â€œI teach a strong ideology of the use of power, of military might, as a public service.â€ He is for preemptive war, because he believes the Bible’s exhortations against sin set for us a preemptive paradigm, and he is for ferocious war, because â€œthe Bible’s bloody. There’s a lot about blood.â€
Yes Ted has some issues he’ll need to take care of. Perhaps during this time he’ll rethink some of these weightier gospel issues.
There is, as there is for all of us, mercy for Ted Haggard. It remains to be seen whether the Evangelical community will extend the kind of mercy that often flows easier from people outside the fold.