Friday, November 3, 2006

US televangelist resigns over ... gay "improprieties"

And another one bites the dust. This time, it's the Rev. Ted Haggard -- the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals -- over accusations he has engaged in gay sex. The allegations are as yet unsubstantiated, but with the election in the US just four days away this is even worse news for George W Bush. and the GOP.

One of the reasons I decided not to become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church was my absolute disgust over the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Canadian church in the 1990s -- especially how it ruined the lives of thousands of our country's Aboriginals. I simply didn't want to be associated with a group for fear I would be considered guilty by association, and frankly I haven't regretted making the decision I did. I feel a call to service, but eventually I'd like it to be to serve the people in public life, not the sacred.

It never ceases to amaze me then that those who promote "family values" don't value families, they rail against legalized gambling yet they take pay-offs from lobbyists who are working for the gaming industry, they embrace Jesus of Nazareth whose ethical code was built around uplifting the poor but give huge tax breaks to the rich and screw the poor, and most importantly try to get out the vote (GOTV) and pass constitutional amendments against gay marriage and even try to recriminalize the very fact of being gay or lesbian yet in the backrooms commit the very acts they speak out against.

A couple of years back, Paul Crouch who runs the controversial Trinty Broadcasting Network (TBN) and who repeated ridicules what he calls the "poverty gospel" had to pay off one of his former aides to keep quiet a story that -- we learned later -- involved claims Crouch went "both ways." The claims remain unsubstantiated, but it forced Crouch to cancel of his never ending telethons. And this from a guy who keeps claiming he needs money to keep his (he always says "your" although it's not) network on the air, even raising money to buy his own satellite (not a dish mind you, but an actual satellite) yet lives the kind of life -- wealth wise and personal -- that makes most of the A-list in Hollywood and San Fernando look like paupers; and like angels and not debauchers.

They speak out against gays and lesbians, yet they poke their middle legs down the asses of other men themselves? Man, oh man, no wonder people feel disillusioned. I've mentioned before I personally oppose gay marriage on moral and logical grounds -- but what I oppose even more are those who fail to heed Jesus' warning to "be not like the hypocrites." If what Haggard is accused of is true, I hope the rest of the false teachers follow him and fall down like a house of cards -- the people who have been deceived for so long need to be brought back to the real message of the Man from Galilee which was one of social justice, not exclusion.

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