Monday, November 06, 2006

The Saga of Ted Haggard's Anti-Gay Bigotry

In watching evangelical preacher Ted Haggard's life implode amid his admission that he popped methamphetamines and had repeated homosexual sex with a prostitute, it suddenly dawned on me how the twisted logic in his mind must have worked. Prior to his public humiliation, Haggard was a key advocate for a Colorado constitutional amendment that seeks to deny homosexual relationships equal protection under the law (we in Virginia are also considering a similar "pro-marriage" amendment). As Haggard is a self-loathing homosexual who kept is true sexual identity under wraps, I wager he thought that the more legal prohibitions against gays there were, the easier it would be for him to reject his is "repulsive" and "dark" nature and remain faithful to his fundamentalist Christian creed.

After all, evangelicals argue that protecting homosexual marriage under the law threatens non-gay marriage; the implication being that if homosexuals are free to marry, men and women will suddenly quit their heterosexual marriages and abandon their children. Given the depths of Haggard's dishonesty and hypocrisy, perhaps that would be true for him. Yet it still remains that Haggard has no moral right to control what other consenting adults do with any aspect of their lives, let alone their sexual natures. Furthermore, the anti-gay marriage bigots forget the true purpose of marriage law, which is not to protect married relationships (most people do that well enough on their own), but to provide a means for establishing order when one of the marriage partners is incapacitated, or the marriage dissolves, be it by death or divorce.

Yet as a Republican and a Christian evangelist, no moral principle checks a man like Haggard from entering in the bedrooms of his fellow Americans in order to regulate their private and consensual behavior. Haggard could hardly control his own life, yet he actively sought to control the lives of others (in fact, he has not made any statement whatsoever renouncing his Christian anti-gay political agenda). I almost feel for his wife and children, who now must face the shock of knowing that their husband and father practices a despicable evil according to their chosen creed—were it not for the fact that their creed is irrational and morally repugnant.

At root, protecting homosexual relationships under the law is the natural progression of the principle of individual rights first codified by the founders. There is no rational reason to oppose this progression, just as there was no rational reason to oppose freedom for blacks, or equality for women. Yet the religiously-inspired Republican party has become so enthralled with lording over people's lives that on a road trip yesterday to enjoy Virginia's fall countryside, I could hardly escape being reminded by the myriad of campaign signs that it is the Republicans who are pushing the anti-homosexual agenda with all the political power they can muster.

It is wicked; it is immoral, and it deserves to be defeated.


Anonymous said...

Nice post! My plan to protect traditional marriage? A constitutional ban on crystal meth and gay prostitutes :-)

Mario said...

The problem many people have with what they should consider — at the worst — as victimless crimes is their own inability to live up to the moral code they’ve accepted without having it enforced on their own selves at gunpoint.

My full comment on my blog:

Anon said...

People are naturally attracted and enthralled by what is most vehemently proscribed. It is moot whether this pastor is a self-loathing gay person; we don't need to care or speculate. People should be able to experiment in their lives without being overwrought with guilt. Maybe if he had been more free as a young person, he would have "found himself" by his early 30s and then could choose to settle down to have a family. There is a strong push in religious circles to get married young, often too young.

JR said...

But Objectivism also teaches that homosexuality is evil. Rand correctly called it "disgusting" and "immoral."

Nicholas Provenzo said...

There is much debate among Objectivists over Rand's position on the nature of homosexuality and whether or not this position falls within or outside her philosophy, or is outflanked by her dedication to the moral and epistemological basis for egoism.

In this instance, I simply decline to be Rand's spokesman or interpreter (not to claim that I ever have been) and stick with my own estimate of the morality of homosexual conduct.

Jack Galt said...

One point worth considering is what if Ted Haggard, rather than being a dishonest fundamentalist hypocrite, had simply elected to be honest about his homosexual desires. I know of no one who wakes up suddenly gay, but I do know plenty of people who repress their sexual orientation for one reason or another, most centering around their deep guilt they feel over being something that so many detest (even if such hatred is totally irrational and utterly undeserved).

So how would this story have played out then if Ted Haggard’s moral code was “to thy self be true” instead of “God’s will be done on Earth.” Haggard would not have prostituted himself in the name of a constitutional amendment outlawing equality for homosexuals. He would have been honest with his wife and children (if he would have even married his wife and had children with her) rather than leave them shocked and publicly humiliated that their husband and father lived a lie before their very eyes. He also would have been honest with his flock, who looked upon him as a moral example.

Haggard would not have had the political power he enjoyed as a right-wing fundamentalist preacher, but his life would have been better for it; it would not have been predicated upon lies, self-loathing and a backwards moral creed that shuns people for their private sexual choices.