Hypocrisy Scandal

The talk show I watched this morning (The Today Show) was all aquiver about the “sex scandal” involving Ted Haggard, and the fact that his dutiful wife wrote a book about it. Of course she wrote a book. His source of megabucks was cut off when he left the church is shame, because of the so called “sex scandal” . Religion is, ultimately, about money, so it’s no wonder she wrote a book. The Haggards were used to a better style of living, and there are not many sheep that will follow him anymore, willing to tithe to his mega-church.

The couple had no savings. They received a year’s severance pay, but their income dried up during the three years they were forced to live in Arizona while Ted went to therapy to deal with his sexual demons.

Frankly, I don’t really care whether she wrote a book, nor do I really care whether she stay with her husband, any more than I care about Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes.  One’s personal life is…personal. If she wants to write a book and make money on it, this is America, home of capitalism and free entrepreneurianism. No problem. I won’t buy her book, or read it, but she’s free to write it and sell it, and more power to her.

No, my problem isn’t even with her. I have a problem with the Today show, and more generally main stream media. Why is this story deemed, at the top, a “sex scandal” (aside from the obvious, that sex sells)?  To my way of thinking, it’s a hypocrisy scandal, not a sex scandal. Sex is natural, normal, and personal. He broke some vows to his wife. Happens all the time, they’ll deal with it, and in fact, as far as I can tell, they have dealt with it. Their continuing marriage is a testament to that.

Hypocrisy, on the other hand, especially by the leader of a 14,000 member mega-church, is the real news. Here’s a man who taught his flock that what he himself was doing was wrong, a sin against god, and reason for the full wrath of the church, not to mention the government, to come down on anyone who did what he did. The man who outed him said he did it because of the hypocrisy.

Vieira asked Gayle if it was true that her husband had been a hypocrite.

“The term means to say one thing and do another,” Gayle said. “However, I have discovered that is the human condition. All of us have ideals that we strive for in our lives. So I think that all of us are to one degree or another a hypocrite. Ted just had to play his out on a very public stage.”

I’m going to be a human being here and say that I agree with her. I’ll accept his assertion that it was a reaction to youthful abuse that surfaced when he was older, and that he’s now cured. Maybe cured is a bad word. In recovery might better describe it. But he’s dealing with it. If he says he’s cured, then he is (though my gaydar says otherwise).

At least he’s no longer in a position to affect governmental, or even personal, policy concerning homosexuality, gay marriage and all the other things his silly religion is against. He doesn’t, and can’t effectively, influence people with anti-gay screeds like he once did, because he’d be called on the carpet for it.

I just wish the press would focus on the hypocrisy more, not the sex.

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16 thoughts on “Hypocrisy Scandal

  1. I’m sorry, but every time I see that clown’s face, I laugh! Watching this guy lie himself through interview after interview in the days this was going on was more fucking humorous than I can stand! Not too long after he stepped down, he and his wife started soliciting people for money to support them in some kind of scam (can’t remember the details right now). Basically, these are people who are used to being given lots of money for nothing. Screw them! Let him get a job flipping burgers, and maybe she can go waitress somewhere. Make them actually work for a living, and learn to subsist on what they actually earn.

    As for the ‘gaydar’ thing…uh…yeah.

    • He just looks gay. I don’t know what there is that makes one look gay, but he does, to me. That’s my gaydar, I guess.

      And not all gays look gay. I never thought Rock Hudson looked gay.

          • LOL! Haggard, although I’d heard rumours about Hudson since I was in junior high. I’d imagine you remember the supposed Hudson/Jim Nabors stuff?

            Anyway, it’s not Haggard’s sexual orientation that bothers me. It’s the fact that he made dumptrucks full of money peddling bullshit, including gay bashing, meanwhile playing spank the monkey and snort the sugar with a male prostitute, lied exceedingly about it, got caught but STILL walked away with another dumptruck full of money, and now is crying ‘broke’. Fuck him. Fuck him right in the ass! *figuratively speaking, of course*

  2. SI,

    Here’s another one we see pretty much eye-to-eye on. I agree the media focus on sex likely stems from knowledge of American’s demographic appeals, and I agree that we all have ideals we fall short of, so in that sense each one of us is a hypocrite. In fact, I think that statement would be true exactly as worded, whereas I would not consider the “in a sense everyone is racist” statement to be true as worded.

    If I may add one point of semantic criticism; when you say,

    Religion is, ultimately, about money,

    That’s not true as worded. Religion is like atheism or anything else in the sense that they’re what we make of them. Religion isn’t “about money” just as atheism isn’t about “hating God.” However, some religious people and some religions – maybe the majority, maybe not – are about money, just as some atheists are about hating God.

    jim,

    Basically, these are people who are used to being given lots of money for nothing. Screw them! Let him get a job flipping burgers, and maybe she can go waitress somewhere. Make them actually work for a living, and learn to subsist on what they actually earn.

    Without judging anyone I’d say that I pretty much agree with your sentiments there. For what it’s worth, did you know the Bible tells believers to “buy the truth and do not sell it?” (Prov. 23:23) I often recall that verse in response to mega-pastors.

    • Religion isn’t “about money” just as atheism isn’t about “hating God.

      I disagree. I wouldn’t say, nor did I, that it was exclusively about making money, but I do think that most organized religion is no different than big business. The Haggards little Colorado Springs operation is no different.

      Take the organization out of religion, and I suspect it would disappear in a generation or two. Most religious need the constant reinforcement that organized, community based religion gives it. Without it – poof! Gone.

      And the organization can’t exist without money.

      • I agree with cl to some degree and would modify the statement to read “Organized religion is about money” which is much closer to reality. All those churches out there are about making a buck, drawing in butts to fill the pews and stick money in the collection plates. The problem only gets worse as the size and influence of the organization increases.

  3. ..I do think that most organized religion is no different than big business. The Haggards little Colorado Springs operation is no different.

    If that’s all you meant to say, I agree wholeheartedly.

    Take the organization out of religion, and I suspect it would disappear in a generation or two. Most religious need the constant reinforcement that organized, community based religion gives it. Without it – poof! Gone.

    That’s an interesting thought, but I wonder on what grounds you think that, because religion or at least religious beliefs appeared and survived for thousands of years without the organization factor. I think if we took the organization and money out of religion, it would weed out the people who were there for extraneous reasons in the first place. I think that would be a good thing for everybody.

    Still, I long for the day when religion has nothing to do with money, power or politics.

    • That’s an interesting thought, but I wonder on what grounds you think that, because religion or at least religious beliefs appeared and survived for thousands of years without the organization factor.

      When religion first appeared, it was for a reason, and it served a legitimate purpose. I don’t doubt that. But I think we’ve advanced far beyond the need for supernatural explanations. Religion has served it’s purpose, it’s time is past, and the only thing that really keeps it going is it’s organizational strength. Today, we’re way past the need to believe in fairy tales to keep us together.

      For what it’s worth, I think there was always some kind of organization. It probably started on a rudimentary level, with priests and shamans keeping the people in line, collecting offerings, reinforcing the belief that they needed someone to intercede on their behalf to the gods, and it only evolved over time to the organizational hierarchy we see today. But some structure was needed. This provided a job for the religious leaders. But at that time, it was important to have someone who could create and hold together a community, and belief in gods was something they would all have in common, something that kept them within the group, ultimately for their own benefit.

      I think religious beliefs are very much dependent on the perceived consensus of one’s peers. Most people don’t arrive at singular religious beliefs that are completely different than their neighbors. They usually start with their parents beliefs, and then work off them. When you get right down to it there’s not a lot of originality in religious beliefs. So common religious beliefs are ripe for organization, which tends to perpetuate beyond their usefulness.

  4. Apologies for belaboring this, but you know, this guy was making damned good money for quite a while, and was even given what I understand to be a six figure payoff on his way out the door. And already, he’s broke? Give me a fucking break, man! I want to see these people living in a homeless shelter.

  5. Anytime I run across a ‘crusader’ of some kind I wonder what he’s hiding. Shakespeare had them pegged with his “doth protest too much” passage.

    Just like the great drug crusader, Harry Anslinger, turns out for all his great rhetoric and punishments he imposed on certain people, he had his own supply ring going.

    (I actually know a couple of his grandaughters, he was from this town){Also, Jim and Tammy Fay’s multi-thousand dollar doghouse wound up abour five miles away from where I sit}

    And they all have very good reasons why they should not suffer the excoriation and penalties they made sure others have had to live with because of them, because they’re “just flawed humans”.
    And they want back on that pedestal, keep the veneration, and another dump truck of money per day coming.

    Jesus Christ.

  6. SI,

    I don’t even think hypocrisy is the REAL issue… it’s more like a symptom of an even deeper issue that you addressed– SEX.

    It’s our screwed up attitudes about sex that cause people to be hypocritical, and, I think in some instances at least, to even break their marriage vows. We put WAY too much emphasis on it, take it WAY too seriously, and are, consequently, so anxious about it that some people develop all sorts of “dirty little secrets” about it. Things you have to lie about or “keep in the closet” while putting on a different face to the world.

    The root cause of hypocrisy in that regard is our inability to deal with sex and our sexuality in a frank, unapologetic and mature way.

    Religion may or may not be “all about money,” but I think it is undeniable that some strains of religion and some religious people can be preoccupied with sexual propriety in a way that isn’t always so healthy.

    Good post.

  7. Organized religion is about power and control. Money equals power, but not necessarily control. Control is what’s really the goal, for with control, everything else is possible. To this end, I think it’s no wonder that organized religions have various rules concerning how to spend your time and more importantly, rules concerning the most basic human drives and activities. Birth, death, eating, and sex are all sought after control points for organized religions.

    Now sure, the root problem is the ridiculous rules concerning sex by this church. In light of that, deviance seems inevitable. Still, if you’re going to preach these rules while not following them yourself, that’s about as clear an example of hypocrisy as you can get.

    “So I think that all of us are to one degree or another a hypocrite.”

    Maybe, but then that’s not really the point, is it? The point is the the HUGE degree to which your husband took it. I mean, spare me the “ye who is without sin…” crap. You simply can’t compare the math teacher who forbids calculators in his class who calculates grades with a calculator and Ted Haggard.

  8. I love it when holier-than-thou types are hoist with their own petard. And by “petard” I mean “penis.”

    Haggard was definitely exposed as a hypocrite when he got caught coveting his neighbor’s ass. But can you — or cl — name even one religious so-called “leader” who isn’t a hypocrite in some way? Since the tenth Commandment (really, the eleventh or twelfth, but who’s counting) is about mind-control, who could conceivably both take it seriously and obey it 24/7? (Yes, wet dreams count as coveting!)

    • Since the tenth Commandment (really, the eleventh or twelfth, but who’s counting) is about mind-control, who could conceivably both take it seriously and obey it 24/7? (Yes, wet dreams count as coveting!)

      Not to mention, as George Carlin so humorously pointed out, coveting is the backbone of the capitalist economic system.

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