Last week, the Reverend Ted Haggard re-entered public-ish life following a solid three months of being under the radar screen.
Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was unceremoniously canned from the New Life Church of Colorado Springs, Colo., in November after a male prostitute went public about a three-year, drug-fueled sexual relationship.
Haggard made a public apology and admitted to his "sexual immorality" and a lifelong battle against feelings contrary to his beliefs. He declared that while he had purchased the illegal crystal meth, he never used it.
At the time, I was willing to give Haggard the benefit of the doubt regarding the first part of his apology because he has a wife and five children and no one ever wants to bring shame upon their house.
Anyhoo, "hard to swallow" came to mind again following the claim by the Rev. Tim Ralph that Haggard and his wife had emerged from three weeks of intensive secular counseling at an unnamed Arizona facility and that Haggard was now "completely heterosexual."
Snort! Yeah, right. And I can fly, too!
Ralph told The Denver Post, "That is something he discovered. It was acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."
Hey Timmy, if you feel better, then I feel better.
Ralph heads up a four-man board of overseers charged with cleaning up the mess left behind Haggard's ouster. The overseers have spent the last three months investigating Haggard's insistence that his "sexual immorality" was limited to former escort Mike Jones and have found no evidence to the contrary.
Of course, it depends upon how hard they were really looking.
The overseers will submit a report to the New Life Church membership on Feb. 18 that will "provide any necessary clarification of his restoration process and give us a report on the New Life staff," according to an e-mail from interim senior pastor Ross Parsley.
Last week, Haggard and NLC officially severed ties in an agreement that pays him an undisclosed sum and requires that he not publicly comment on his gay sex scandal. He was asked to join a church and continue the twice-a-week Christian counseling he currently receives.
Haggard told congregation members that he and his wife Gayle plan on pursuing their master's degrees in psychology by means of online courses. I'd be willing to venture that Haggard's "sexual immorality" got its ugly start on the "no facility" rest areas of the information superhighway.
Haggard and his wife have left Colorado Springs and have been offered sanctuary in Iowa and Missouri, according to an e-mail he sent to the NLC membership two weeks ago, "Thank you so much for your love and prayers during this horrific time of transition in our lives. For the last three months, I have not been communicative because I've been paralyzed by shame. But as God and people like you forgive me, the sun is starting to rise in my life, I look forward to communicating with greater ease."
Uh-huh. I got a couple of things in my craw out of all this utter nonsense. One is that the New Life Church membership and its leadership appear to be more concerned with running Haggard out of town than spiritual solace and forgiveness.
The other is that I can't help but feel that Ted Haggard hasn't learned anything at all and by declaring that he wants to perhaps enter the field of counseling, he's back to the "look-at-me-look-at-me" ego trip of his previous job.
I feel sorry for all of them because they refuse to see the forest for the trees and, as usual, it's all the fault of them queers.
Sayin' don't always make it so...