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Joan Garry

Joan Garry

Posted January 29, 2009 | 11:36 AM (EST)

"Ted Haggard is working hard to tell the truth"


So says Mrs. Haggard in an interview yesterday on Good Morning America. It is why, she tells Robin Roberts, she now trusts him.

Ol' Mrs. Haggard has set the bar mighty low, huh? She clearly can't say that he is now an honest man, especially in light of new allegations raised just in the last 72 hours. And I suppose it is poor form to call your husband a lying bastard on network television, especially during a press tour for a documentary about your poor suffering husband that is premiering later that same night.

Perhaps the most truthful thing Ted Haggard has said during his press tour was in response to Ms. Roberts' question about the men who have come forward: "Will there be others?" His answer? "I sure hope not."

There it is. The only thing that has come out of Ted Haggard's mouth I actually believe.

So I watched Larry King last night - the next stop on the press tour - I suppose there could have been some truth or at least 'truthiness' revealed. But no such luck

So if Ted isn't going to speak the truth, I am here to offer some.

1) Sexual orientation is deeply engrained in people. Ted says he is "heterosexual with issues." Assessing sexual orientation is not like ordering a salad at a restaurant. "I'd like the Caesar salad but the my dressing definitely needs to be on the side." The truth is that Haggard is struggling with his sexuality. Maybe he is gay, maybe he is bisexual but his characterization rings about as hollow as "I'm completely straight but I really enjoy sex with male prostitutes." (note: I am a homosexual with issues. This week my issue is Ted Haggard)

2) Ted's story is as old as the hills. We've seen it countless times. Self-loathing homosexual (or 'heterosexual with issues') directs his fury outwards and spews anti-gay rhetoric at every opportunity. Now, in this case, Haggard's spewing happened from a pulpit, with a microphone and I front of thousands of people.

3) A person can be gay and not be creepy. We have taken to watching the evening news over dinner with our 14 year old twins. Last night, we watched a Ted Haggard interview together. Ben was helping shed light on the topic for his sister. This minister is anti-gay but it turns out he is gay himself, he said to Kit. "But not like "regular gay." Like 'creepy gay." Ben is right. Haggard is 'creepy gay.' (I fall into the 'regular gay' category) When a parishioner comes to your office seeking counseling about his sexual orientation, there is a "regular" response (counseling). There is a creepy response (masturbating in front of aforementioned parishioner)

4) Ted is part of the problem. I beg of you. Watch this documentary with a critical eye. Beware of sympathetic homophobes. He is promoting this film (which I have not yet seen) because it no doubt tells the sad tale of Haggard's journey. Please remember: he abused his power in the evangelical church and was dismissed. Sounds about right to me. Please remember: when he sympathetically talks about selling life insurance now, remember he should feel lucky he has a job. And please remember: his anti-gay rhetoric has been fanning the flames of prejudice and discrimination against gay and lesbian people for years. His sermons give permission - for name calling and gay jokes at the water cooler. Then it ramps up. Employment discrimination, violence. But it all starts with the words of people in positions of power, often those with pulpits.

Oh, I forgot. Ted told the truth about something else on Good Morning America this morning. He told GMA that he is back in the spotlight because "I needed to say I am sorry."


OK, I'm ready. The gay community and all of those who know and love us are ready. It could go something like this. "I am sorry for the role I have played in fostering anti-gay sentiment in this country. Gay people are second class citizens thanks to irresponsible people like me. And I may not know if I am heterosexual or homosexual but one thing I know for sure: I have issues."