Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Friday, November 17, 2006

And the World Weighs In

As the Ted Haggard story winds down, the pundits are ramping up their commentary. Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe says that Haggard's reaction to his own apparent sexual identity suggests he, along with many others, need to come to grips with what she considers the genetic nature of homosexuality. Over in Wisconsin, Jack McMillin says that Haggard's fall exposes the hypocrisy of the Religious Right. The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson wrote for WorldNetDaily that Haggard's struggles can teach Christians a lot about sin and grace.

One of the more curious takes, however, came from the UCD Advocate, a student newspaper on the University of Colorado's Denver campus. In a column titled "The Great Hypocrisy of Religion," author Jack Knoll uses the Haggard scandal as a launching point for atheism.

"Move beyond the prejudices of your own beliefs and discover what it truly means to be just one of the billions of insignificant humans on this tiny planet in a universe that is, so far, infinite," he writes. "Just because of our species' enlarged cranial capacity, can you or I really be so arrogant as to think our lives have greater meaning than that of a dog or a cat?"

Kroll calls Colorado Springs "ever-ridiculous" and "hate-filled," and says religious beliefs spurred on, among other things, the Holocaust and the "elimination of native populations in the U.S." He also says that Haggard raised "millions of dollars for the Bush campaign." If that was true, that'd be a bigger story than the whole gay-sex-meth thing, though far less tabloid-worthy.

It's a column filled with lots of opinion, broad-brush characterizations and sketchy (or plain wrong) "facts" -- which, I think, all nicely illustrates what a story like this can bring out in people: It can confirm their worst suspicions of religious leaders, movements, cities and even faith in general. That's not to say that there isn't sometimes truth in those surface cartoons, but the full truth is almost always more nuanced, more complex, if we take the time to look carefully.


Blogger my_take said...

It's been very interesting to see all the fall out this revelation has created. When I first heard it I knew that there would be people from all persuasions weighing in. This has certainly been the case. Sad to say that unbelievers will use this as an excuse to justify their unbelief or sin.
Unfortunately, Haggard over the years has had a habit of lying about several things. The main thing is that as his star rose and he gained fame, he denied some of his former beliefs and associations in order to be more palateable to a wider audiance. Here's some info that basically sums it up.

5:15 PM  

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