Ted Haggard is probably living up to his surname about now.
The out-spoken opponent of homosexuality has resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after being accused of having a homosexual affair with a gay hooker. He’s also stepped aside as leader of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs while a church panel investigates the allegations.
I don’t know if Haggard is guilty of the charges, and I won’t presume that he is. He denies it, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. His accuser has been less than forthcoming with the evidence he claims he has, like voice-mails and an envelope that Haggard supposedly used to send him cash. Could be, but even in religious courts one is presumed innocent. We no longer throw accused witches in the Thames to see if they float.
I’m not a huge fan of Haggard’s, though recently he has shown courage in breaking from right-wing orthodoxy around global warming, economic justice, human rights and promoting non-violent solutions to international disputes. That’s not to say that he has softened his stance on stem-cell research, gay marriage, or abortion.
The real question is: if Haggard’s guilty, so what? It just means he’s like me, a poor sinner saved by grace. I’ve condemned people for doing what I’ve done too. I’m a far better hypocrite than holy man. You are too, I’ll bet. Like my favorite Baptist preacher Will Campbell once said, “We are all bastards and God loves us anyway.”