Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sadness, sordidness

So the news web sites are full of stories tonight about Ted Haggard, pastor of an evangelical megachurch in Colorado Springs, who has been accused of having paid a gay male escort for sex for three years. The escort is the accuser, and he also claims that Haggard consumed methamphetamine.

This feels so sordid. If the escort's story should be proven true, I feel most sorry for Haggard's wife and family, then for his church. I cannot imagine how shocking it would be to consider oneself a married woman, a pastor's wife, and then find out about a whole secret life. And find out in the most public way. My heart goes out to her.

If the escort's story is true, I hope against hope that he was not motivated to tell this story because of money or other favors promised by politicians. It's hard for me to "get" his motive unless it has something to do with the upcoming election. Given that he is said to have accepted money for sex for three years, why the sudden outrage? Granted, if the story is true, Haggard is a hypocrite, but surely not the only hypocrite to have paid for sex. It's fishy.

If the escort's story is not true, then the queer community has been damaged very badly; the public relations backlash will be huge because of Haggard's status. And the damage to Haggard and his family cannot be overstated. I would hate to think that anyone would be willing to cause so much damage.

Much is being made of Haggard's placing himself on leave at his church. It really is not a statement of guilt but rather a proper decision to let the investigation go forward. I hope the investigators can be thorough and unbiased; of course, if the story is true, I hope Haggard is forthcoming with the investigators and moves the situation forward.

Mind you, I am a queer woman, woman before queer, and I would not be honest if I did not acknowledge a huge fascination with this story and also a frisson of delight at the thought of a hypocrite being publicly found out--but there is huge collateral damage here. Should the story be true, I would be furious at Haggard for betraying his family and his church. And, if the story is false, I will be furious at the accuser for the damage to all parties concerned.

Nothing good will come of this.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home