Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sad Testimony

By Cassandra D

"There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life."
-Rev. Ted Haggard in a letter to his congregation

You would think that this revelation about Mr. Haggard would make more people believe in the biological basis of homosexuality. Here is a man who wanted not to be gay with a passion that evolved into public, though veiled, condemnation of himself.

How terribly sad to be repulsed by who you are, to hate yourself. Surely at least some of his followers will know that if he could have changed his sexual orientation, he would have. And perhaps if they grow in that understanding, they will grow in their compassion and tolerance as well.

7 Comments:

At 3:59 PM, Blogger LiteraryTech said...

Ah, but sadly, no.

Part of why they will be comfortable in their obstinate insistence in spite of the evidence is that this is not really the church or religion of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the religion of Saul of Tarsus. Paul is responsible for the self-loathing and sense of inner-battle that characterizes the Christian religion. That sense on inner conflict was given the weight of authority by the greatest author the Latin language has ever seen. I understand that few Latin scholars would dispute this claim for Augustine save only those who would give a tied win to Augustine and Cicero. Augustine was, like Paul, seriously disturbed by his sexuality and transferred that sexual disfunction to those around him. In theological terms, we can look to Augustine for articulating the concept of Original Sin as the root of the inner conflict that Paul characterized as a thorn in his side.

And so, no, I do not think we can expect these Christians to change their mind about the obvious. I completely agree with you that Mr. Haggard is yet another example of the specious nature of the contention that sexuality is subject to choice. I would further observe that there is no evidence that this belief in choice is grounded in anything other than the fervant wishing of those condemned by their religion.

In the end, however, we are left with the reality that this sense of inner struggle is an integral part of the Christian church as established by Paul and shaped by Augustine. Mr. Haggard's "part of my life that is so repulsive and dark" is part and parcel of this belief and it would be an unusually thoughtful heterosexual Christian who could step outside their own experience and theology to understand the real nature of Mr. Haggard's struggle. Sadly, such people are rarely found in evangelical congregations.

 
At 3:38 PM, Blogger C.McMichael said...

LiteraryTech:

I'm afraid that you are selling old goods when you express your feeling that modern Christianity is unable to come to grips with the concept of homosexuality. Christ taught acceptance, understanding, and love and you'll find much of this in the enormous population of Christian Americans.

For exmaple, my business partner is openly gay... hilariously openly gay, and my faith doesn't conflict with anything he has thought, expressed or done in our long and close friendship.

I'm not unusual either and I'm from a very small, southern town. Times have changed and it's discouraging to continue to read mis-statements from individuals who do not understand Christians, their beliefs, and their actions.

I mean... I haven't burned a book in weeks! Haha...

You're pretty much spot on though in your analysis of Paul and the evolution of the Church, but you've overlooked that he is credited with founding the Church on the principles that Christ taught. In that light, it is only reasonable that American Christians follow his path.

In 30 hours of College level Religion classes, however, I have never heard any professor allude to Paul having a sexuality conflict. And I've heard a good deal of debate on the Foundings of the church.

Great writing style, however :)

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger CGHill said...

I'm just wondering at what point "openly gay" becomes hilarious.

And, well, maybe it's just me, but I came in through the Roman tradition, and while Paul gets his due, it was Peter the Rock upon whom the Church was founded. (Your mileage may vary; see preacher for details.)

 
At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see Paul comes in for the usual drubbing here. I'm sorry, I just don't see it. I've read all of his letters back to back several times - every single word and spiraling phrase. There are hard sayings in there, just like all of scripture in many faith traditions. But invariably the guy is just enthusiastic about Jesus, and he exhorts everybody to love one another.

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger BlueDreamer said...

As an openly gay man who has felt the brunt of Christians and their "values," it is appalling to me that "moderate" Christians always come to the defense of the conservative or Evangelical Christian. They can justify their moderate Christain views with the Bible, just as conservative and Evangelical Christains justify their views. It doesn't take a very long or thorogh look at our history here in the US to see all the atrocities that were justified with the Bible. And that's just here in the US.

I can give you a personal example of Christian intolerance that is forever seared into my psyche. When my best friend and I were marching at the gay rights march in Washington DC in 1993, the vitriol from the "Christian" protesters was not countered by any moderate Christians. The signs of "God Hates Fags" and "AIDS is Your Punishment" will be reminders forever of Christian tolerance. And we all can remember Matthew Shepard's funeral.

The sad part is that bible you use does justify the hatred and intolerance Christians have shown and not to recognize that fact is to be ignorant of the very book you worship. Read your bible and then come back and we can talk.

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger C.McMichael said...

Bluedreamer:

Yep... those people who show up with the signs are pretty embarassing, but there's usually about 2-15 of them. Does that constitute a majority of concurring thought in an American segment of several millions? Nope... don't get me wrong though; those people bug me severely.

CGHill:

"Hilariously openly gay" is the term he uses when he's shopping and/or 'being fabulous.' Is it somehow wrong to use the term he came up with? Just checking...

 
At 3:12 PM, Blogger CGHill said...

Well, if it's his own term, far be it from me to quarrel with it: he's a far better judge of the situation than I would be. (I claim no particular expertise in this realm, and in some aspects of it I must plead ignorance.)

 

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