Tired and Haggard

First, I must apologize for my long absence from this blog. The Tickle Trunk store has kept me a long way away from the sex advice of others for quite some time. But I vow to do my best to keep watching for those sex things of interest. I've found a few of them this past week, and although only one of these posts really has to do with sex advice, they all have to do with sex and they piqued my interest.

I haven't watched Oprah in forever but I watched it in it's entirety yesterday because Ted Haggard was on it. I just had to find out what this man could possibly have to say for himself. For the few people out there in the universe who don't know who Haggard is, he was the founder and pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado and one of the most powerful Evangelical leaders in the US. Haggard and the New Life Church were very public about their position that homosexuality is a sin and dedicated opponents of same sex marriage. In 2006, Haggard was exposed as having an ongoing secret relationship with a male prostitute, among other things. He made an agreement with New Life to leave his leadership position and Colorado.

Haggard was a key figure in the right-wing religious opposition to homosexuality. He was very vocal in his opinion that homosexuality was deviant and not of God. And yet, clearly, Haggard was attracted to men himself. I wondered what he would have to say about this obvious conflict and if he now, after being exposed as having had sex with men, would change his position on the matter and apologize to the millions of gay Americans who were shamed and deeply hurt by him and his Church's teachings.

Not so much.

During the first part of the show, I thought he was being quite open about his history and the fact that he had lied and deceived people and was deeply conflicted. But after the dust settled on how sorry he was for covering up his behavior, it appeared that this is, in fact, all he is sorry for. He stated several times that he is not gay and that although he still has thoughts about men, he doesn't act on them. This gave him and his wife the platform from which to express that worn-out idea that homosexuality is not wrong, it's only the expression of it that's wrong. That argument has been used by homophobes for decades to try to make themselves appear loving and accepting while allowing them to continue to exclude and judge people. The message is - "I don't care if you're gay, just make sure I don't see any evidence of it". Which, I guess, explains why Haggard thinks his only sin was in lying about his homosexual affair - although one wonders if the sin was in lying about it or in getting caught. After all, it was only getting caught that brought shame on his family and his church.

So after all of this, Haggard continues to hold to his beliefs that homosexuality is deviant and can be controlled by simply not acting on one's feelings. I wonder how conflicted he really is still - not being able to fully acknowledge who he is. I don't know if Ted Haggard is gay or bisexual or just happens to like having sex with men on occasion, but I do know that he's clearly not being honest with himself or anyone else. He explained the extensive therapy that he's been through but it was clear that this therapy was with other evangelical leaders and counselors who have the same view of homosexuality - how likely is it that they will truly help him come to grips with the fact that he might actually be gay, rather than work on helping him rationalize his behavior?

The worst part of the whole thing is that the real apology that needed to made, the apology to the millions of gay people who are stigmatized, traumatized, judged, abused, and discriminated against every day, was never made. He was clearly in it for himself. It was obvious that we were meant to feel sorry for him and I for one, do not.