So is there untoward glee in my reaction to evangelical-yet-oh-so-queer Ted Haggard’s precipitous fall from his pedestal?
You bet your ass there is. I am sneering with undisguised and unmitigated delight. And here’s why: he deserves it. Not only he deserves it, but everyone linked to him, either in his Colorado Springs hellhole of conservative theocons or through his presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals or through his Republican get-out-the-vote machinery, they all deserve it.
Do I hate the man? Nope, not even close. I feel a kind of pity for him, but mostly I feel he created his own punishment and deserves every single dram of it. Drink deep, Ted. You too, Dr. Dobson. BFF!
First of all, there’s the rank, and I do mean Claudian-level rank, hypocrisy of it all. When I first heard the news, I laughed it off. I mean, come on, who’s writing this script? It had to be some bitter clown making the accusations, and while it would make for a good titter, the clown would be exposed quickly as a fraud. After all, this is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. But it looks as if it’s true, and now the irony meter is pegging out. Ted Haggard is a man who has made a career of gay-bashing, you don’t get to be president of the Evangelicals by preaching tolerance and forbearance, now do you?, and now it appears he’s queer. Forgive me while I enjoy the spectacle.
Secondly, there’s the grim satisfaction that the American Taliban cannot yet control the rest of us so surely that they can hide the peccadilloes of their leadership from the rest of us. Two legs good, three legs beh-eh-etter, to coin a phrase. The Reverend Haggard wanted it both ways: a shiny wife and five kids, and a himbo-for-hire on the side. Sorry, Ted, that’s not the way it works, at least not in my neighborhood of Liberal Land. You can choose either one you want, but you do have to choose just one, and it works better for everyone if you stick to the one you’ve chosen. We call that the “sanctity of marriage” in my neighborhood of Liberal Land. You may have heard of it.
Thirdly, there’s the undeniable pleasure in thinking that this little tempest in a teapot will help undermine a few more theocon supporters in the public eye. When one of their most powerful turns out to be a lying, cheating, bisexual drug-using adulterer, it’s got to make most reasonable people wonder what the agenda was, since it obviously was not what they were proclaiming. Gotta hurt, can’t help, this one.
So now we all get to sit back and listen to the White House spin and Limbaugh make preposterous attacks on… something… and Dobson and Robertson make mealy-mouthed Christianist statements of pity and prayer, which of course we may take with a grain of salt since no one in America can believe that would be their response if it were Nancy Pelosi discovered with her knickers around her knees. Meanwhile, one man’s family is destroyed through his deceit. And thousands of other families, thousands of miles away, are destroyed through the deceit of this man’s allies. It’s part of the whole.