Well, It Beats A Nice Hot Bath: Ted Haggard and the Straight Man’s Cure for Stress

So of course I’m all over the “Ted Haggard now says he’s straight” story. But what I’m really interested in is how many people are getting it wrong.

If I read the pertinent quote correctly, then despite what you may have read or heard, Haggard isn’t saying that his homosexuality has been cured, and that after three weeks (!) of intensive therapy, he has now become heterosexual.

No. What he said (or what his church overseer the Rev. Tim Ralph said on his behalf) is, if possible, even more preposterous.

What he said was that he’s always been straight. He didn’t become heterosexual in therapy — he “discovered” his heterosexuality.

“He is completely heterosexual,” Ralph said. “That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place.”

Right. Because straight men “act out” by sucking cock all the time.

No, really. It’s a natural stress response. Long hours, money problems, illness in the family, trouble at home? Every straight guy I know would be running to the nearest male prostitute to suck his cock. It’s a perfectly normal reaction. Very common.

My question: Just exactly how stupid do these people think we are?

BTW: My favorite writing so far about the Ted Haggard kerfuffle has been by sex columnist Dan Savage, who pointed out that the Haggard story competely gives the lie to ex-gay movement. The pertinent passage:

“Describing a lifelong battle against temptations that were contrary to his teachings,” says the Denver Post, “[Haggard] had sought assistance ‘in a variety of ways,’ and while he had stretches of ‘freedom,’ nothing proved effective. ‘There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life,’ Haggard wrote.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ can change the sexual orientation of a believer, why on earth did he refuse to cure Haggard? He founded a church that has 14,000 members! Thousands were brought to Christ by Haggard’s preaching. Mixed in with Ted’s meth-fueled gay sex romps and hypocritical gay bashings were, without a doubt, thousands of good works.

Did Jesus help Haggard out? No. Haggard tried to battle off his “dark” desires, but nothing proved effective. There was no cure for Haggard, no miracle. No matter how long he struggled, no matter how much faith he had, Haggard’s sexual orientation remained unchanged. Nothing helped.

If giving his heart to Jesus couldn’t cure Haggard, what hope is there for the likes of me? If Jesus can’t be bothered to work a miracle for the most powerful evangelical minister in the country, what “hope” is there for the average dyke?

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen it yet: Here’s a video clip of Richard Dawkins interviewing Ted Haggard (pre-kerfuffle, of course), in which Haggard admonishes Dawkins “don’t be arrogant.” (The clip is all good, but if you don’t have time to watch the whole six minutes, the really good stuff comes about three minutes in. Video below the fold.)

Well, It Beats A Nice Hot Bath: Ted Haggard and the Straight Man’s Cure for Stress

6 thoughts on “Well, It Beats A Nice Hot Bath: Ted Haggard and the Straight Man’s Cure for Stress

  1. 1

    Actually, MY favorite commentary was on the Daily Show. It was one of those bits where Stewart didn’t even have to deliver the punch line. Approximately “Have you wondered how Haggard was cured so quickly? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. Remember when you were a kid, and your dad caught you smoking, and he made you smoke an entire carton?”

  2. 2

    People like Ted Haggard place a higher priority on feeling good than on using reason. That’s why Haggard’s anti-logical brand of “logic” sounds so certain and so specious at the same time … yet so convincing to people who don’t like to think. When your sole explanation for life, the universe, and everything is a word that fits on half a bumper-sticker, that doesn’t leave much room for doubt, now, does it?
    If Haggard were truly life-affirming, why would he have *anything* to hide, ever? Why would he feel threatened by Dawkins and compelled to chase him and his crew off his property? Isn’t the existence of meth, Haggard’s predilection for sex with men, and Dawkins’ presence at his church all part of the divine “Plan,” too? How can *any* of it be a “repulsive” mistake?
    So much for feeling good.

  3. 3

    What a crock of shit. Ted Haggard loves cock. I love smoking. I haven’t in nearly a year. I quit for my child’s benefit. Ted Haggard Quit screwing men in the ass and blowing them because he got caught. He is responding to the most selfish and Narcissistic of motives, namely what other people think of him. I do not ascribe to the identifier “homosexual” any more than I believe in “heterosexual” Ted loves dick. Many readers can no doubt sympathize. I happen to love pussy, and tits, and the shape of a womans ass. Dick does nothing for me so I do not pursue it. Ted loves dick so much he is willing to pay for dick. I might have actually been able to empathize with him a little bit if he had just admitted his love for dick. But no, he had to hide behind the idea that he suddenly realized he hated dick and was just confused. Once again, what a crock of shit.

  4. 4

    As a teacher, when a student is constantly tattling on other children or chastising them for breaking rules, I know that that child feels bad about themselves for some reason. Often the child has a learning disability that hasn’t been properly diagnosed yet or a behavioral disorder or parents that somehow make them feel like they have a behavioral disorder. It’s an attempt to hide what they feel is wrong about them by putting the focus on someone else’s problems. I think adults who spend their time and energy decrying the “sins” of others do so because they feel that their sins are so bad that only by putting the focus on others can they hide them.
    I define sin as separating oneself from God (or Goddess or Goodness or insert the word that means the source of love and communion in our lives for you) I therefore believe that sucking cock is not a sin and in fact, if it makes you feel closer to God then it’s the exact opposite of a sin, it’s a sacrament. However if you have been convinced that sucking cock is a sin, then thinking so can actually make it one. Once they’ve made you feel that sucking cock is a crime against God, each time you find yourself with a cock in your mouth you will feel unworthy of Grace and therefore you will separate yourself from the source of Grace. Unfortunately this often makes people overcompensate by calling others sinners which makes them feel unworthy of Grace and a vicious cycle is set into play.
    While many of the people reading this may not be Bible readers many of you are show tune geeks so perhaps you’re familiar with the line “Alas for you lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites!” I think that one of the greatest sins is that of the Hypocritical Pharisee who ignores the spirit of the law of every major religion as well as secular humanism: Be kind, take care of one another, try not to hurt yourself or others” and instead takes ahold of one of the bylaws and uses it to create shame and hurt and, well, sin. To me, this is taking the Lord’s name in vain. and it’s like watching some crazy mother in the supermarket line smacking her kid and screaming “We do not hit!” The thing is, she was probably hit by her mom who had been hit by her mom and so on and so on….
    So while to avoid being a hypocrite myself, I must admit to enjoying a bit of schadenfreude that this hypocritical Pharisee has lost his pulpit (although the thought of him going into the field of psychology scares the shit out of me), I’m also feeling sorry for him (not because he got caught, but because he hates himself so much). Whenever I feel disgust or hatred for someone I try to remind myself that as hard as it is to have to deal with that person or their actions, it must be so much harder to have to BE that person. This allows me to feel compassion for them and wish them enlightenment, growth and release from their pain. This doesn’t mean I won’t call them on their shit or work like hell to remove them from power or do whatever I can to stop them from hurting others until that day of enlightenment and growth arrives, but it helps me let go of some of the hatred or disgust that I feel which hopefully moves me towards my own enlightenment and growth (removing bits of the log from my own eye as it were)
    That said, I did laugh out loud at John Stewart’s joke about Haggart’s “cure” (something to the effect of it being like the time his dad caught him smoking a cigarette and made him smoke the whole pack)

  5. 5

    Is it just me, or did it appear that Dakins’ head was about to explode, just before Haggard admonished him, not to be arrogant? I was half expecting it to go off before the end. It rather makes me wonder what Dakins is thinking about that exchange now.

  6. 6

    In response to Laura Deal:
    Brilliantly said. It is so rare to find people who are willing to accept love and kindness in all its forms and someone who is willing to show compassion even toward those that rub them the wrong way.
    It is so easy to hate. It can be very difficult to look at someone you hate and wonder what it must be like to live their lives and how hard it must be. It is hard to bother imagining what life must have been like for them and how scared, lost and hurt they might be. I’m sure that it is the general lack of compassion in our society that leads to these poor people lashing out and accusing others of sin and wrong doing.
    I’m sure it was much easier for Haggard to tell the world how much god hates fags than to come out and seek acceptance.
    I must admit, your comment about ‘if sucking cock makes you feel closer to God then it’s the exact opposite of a sin, it’s a sacrament’ was amazing. An act of love, no matter what it is, is an act of love. It is so rare for people to see that and accept it. Thank you for your comment. It made my day.

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