The Passion Of Ted Haggard

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It's hard to disagree with Ta-Nehisi:

For some truly disturbing video, watch a man who once--and apparently still does--crusade against gays, on Oprah talking about seeking therapy to curb his attraction to men. It may not be me right, but I felt enormously sad for him, and even sadder for his wife.

I watched the whole thing. I feel for Haggard - because he is trapped between who he is and his internalized belief that God cannot love him for who he is. But God can love him for being gay. And does love him for being gay. This is hard, I know. Accepting God's unconditional love for me was the hardest part of keeping hold of my Christian faith. My childhood and adolescence were difficult to the point of agony, an agony my own church told me was my just desert. But I saw in my own life and those of countless others that the suppression of these core emotions and the denial of their resolution in love always always leads to personal distortion and compulsion and loss of perspective. Forcing gay people into molds they do not fit helps no one. It robs them of dignity and self-worth and the capacity for healthy relationships. It wrecks family, twists Christianity, violates humanity. It must end.

Haggard's betrayal, his lies, his compulsions, his deceits are the excruciating function of this human dead end. What we have to do as Christians is open up this always-closing door, to find a way past the abstractions and neuroses of fundamentalism to a more honest and more human acceptance of gay people as God-like. Gay people, like all people, need love. We need family. And yet we are uniquely and cruelly denied these things. And no love and no family can be genuinely based on the deceit or self-hatred that are the alternatives.

That is why I am so insistent on marriage. It alone heals this deep wound and brings gay men and women into the human family where they can finally be allowed to flourish for who they are, rather than to become the contorted, distorted shapes the rest of the world is comfortable with. Anything else actually sustains the wound, because it imprints the indignity and perpetuates the pain.

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