Last night only one minute after this story about Ted Haggard broke, I was checking my e-mail. It appears that there are more skeletons in the closet, and one of them is coming forward to make some noise. I didn't have any reason to post, as I find it totally sad. I feel so much empathy for Ted's wife, Gayle, and I don't even know her. I've been talked about and I've been lied about, but I have nothing to hide. I wish I could show Gayle Haggard that there is hope in this situation, and it is in truth, honesty, and being real. My heart goes out to you, Gayle.
As far as their church's response to them as a family, it sounds like they were shunned. I don't go to their church, nor do I have any first-hand information, but I can imagine how it went.
When the churches think that mere repentance and their brand of "counseling" will solve this, they are wrong. Sure, Ted Haggard was wrong in what he did - absolutely. But I'm putting together what I know, and he's gay. Would it not be more healthy just to own that fact? The very difficult effort it will take a fundamentalist preacher to learn to accept himself will be extremely difficult, but so much more productive than to continue thinking he's "a loser." With that attitude there is no hope.
Then I read this post over on TWO (Truth Wins Out): http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/focus-on-the-family-smears-mother-of-ex-gay-suicide-victim/ where Focus on the Family is telling their followers to not watch this program. Then I changed my mind about posting.
Now, come on, do they really think that will be effective? On the one hand, a church has completely cut off communication and fellowship from Ted Haggard, and then they tell people to NOT WATCH, "Prayers for Bobby,"?
Why, if Focus on the Family really thinks they have a solution, should folks NOT WATCH this? It appears that turning away from Ted Haggard and his family has not helped them. It has hurt. In the movie, "Prayers for Bobby," Bobby's mom has changed from the closed-minded view of her church, to a supportive role for gays and lesbians - and SHE finds support there.
Wouldn't it make sense for Ted Haggard to come to his senses, be honest with God, with everyone, including himself? Because God already knows the truth. The truth is that God loves us all, gay or straight. For many of us it is so ingrained that only heterosexuals can be Christians, that for gay folks it is very, very difficult to accept otherwise. For me, I have come to accept this Good News - that the Gospel is for us ALL, and to live with integrity, honesty, and reality is part of what Jesus said when he told us, "...the truth will make you free."
Continue to pray for the Haggard family. They need it more than ever.