Ted Haggard

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9 Responses

  1. Baruch says:

    R. Adlerstein,

    The problem here is one of perspective. You are talking about Haggard, the man, (and all your arguments in defense of him are fair in that regard) but the public is talking about Haggard, the public figure. In the latter category, your points are moot.

    Haggard was ulimately “outed as a charletan” to use your recent turn of phrase, because he was stumping for a constitutional amendment banning the legal union of homosexuals in marriage. “Marriage = Man + Woman” are how the ubiquitous bumper stickers read. Well, Haggard, as leader of a 30 million member christian fundamentalist organization, had a marriage that equaled: “Man + Woman+ Husband’s Drug-Dealing Male Prostitute Boyfriend.”

    He thereby undermined his own very public persona and cause celebre.

    It’s fine to defend Haggard, the man, but his hypocrisy as head of an organization is most problematic. I do applaud his ouster by the organization and his admission of guilt and hope it serves as a model for other religious organizations.

  2. Baruch says:

    On an entirely different note. What is it that fascinates about the breathtaking fall of a fundamentalist religious man? (and never a woman, notably)?

    I would hypothesize, along with Freud, that for some, perhaps many, the strictures created by an abstract fundamentalist religious lifestyle are more than just difficult, but are impossible to uphold for a significant portion of the population, even with their best efforts. Moreover, it seems to bear out Freud’s theory of unconscious conflicts that these religous men don’t “just” commit adultery, but become pedophiliacs, or take on abberrent sesual lifestyles (smoking meth and going to a gay prostitute?!).

    Why does this happen so often if not for the reasons Freud hypothesized? (and Shakespeare’s own version of the “reaction formation” applies quite well to Haggard- he did “protesteth too much” indeed.

  3. r10b says:

    I do not think Haggard’s actions will cause any to “lose faith in the platform.” It will add fuel to the cynical fires of some faithful, and it will be a barn-sized target for the faithless; but if one’s faith is not in men, the failures of men will not affect it.

  4. msc says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I believe you have the best veiw on this situation that I have read1 Thank you again!

  5. michoel halberstam says:

    Above all, this incident, whatever it teaches about Haggard, shows once again that the world in which we live is hostile to all those who advertise their religious devotion. The assumption is always made that they are hypocrites or intolerant fools. As we know, sometimes this is the case.

    I don’t really know how deal with this. But it is clear that religious people cannot afford to forget that they are always on display and they must act accordingly. It will not do to simply say “who cares about them”

    It is interesting however, that certain people do get away with public displays of religion, and avoid this reaction. Witness Joe Lieberman for example. How does one explain this?

  6. Amanda Rush says:

    My first reaction when Haggard admitted his guilt was to call him a hypocrite. And I’m still leaning towards that, although Rav Adlerstein’s article paints the situation in a different, and appreciated light. Haggard put himself in a position to be idolized, and portrayed himself as the spokesperson for what was right in this regard. I’m not sure his followers can be blamed for being angry at his trampling of their values. Regarding Tefillah Zakah, is there an online version somewhere? It’s not in my Mahzor. Thanks.

  7. ja says:

    why are you imposing Jewish concepts of repentance on the larger public,
    this is at least the second such post.
    The reverend is christian.
    let his followers judge him by the teachings of their own religion
    we should mix out
    I think it’s impertinent and a bit arrogant to do otherwise
    and certainly not in our interests

  8. EV says:

    JA, as a Catholic I beg to differ. Christians tend to look upon Judaism as the root of Christian faith. Therefore I find a traditional Jewish perspective on repentance as instructive.

  9. Ori Pomerantz says:

    JA, should the Noahide concept of repentance be different from the Jewish one? If not, then Yitzchok Adlerstein is actually trying to impose the proper standard for non-Jews. He is making the assumption that Christians want to follow G-d’s standards, and that when they don’t, it is an error they would like to correct.

    That is precisely the charitable assumption that an Orthodox Jew is supposed to make. One can’t believe in the truth of the Torah on one hand, and have no faith in an objective truth as it relates to G-d and morality on the other.

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