Foley, Haggard and the Evangelical Voter
The accusations of gay sex and drug use by Pastor Ted Haggard are the latest in a concerted effort to influence Christian's voting. Just as with the Mark Foley situation the media has mused as to how this will discourage or demoralize the Evangelical vote. This kind of strategy will fail simply because it does not address what motivates the Christian voter. This is one voting block that the left cannot appropriate simply because they do not understand the principles that drive it.
The assumption is Christians, especially Evangelicals, are mind numbed robots that simply follow whatever they are told by their leaders. There are groups who fit this description such as the nit wits who follow Pastor Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas who are best known for their protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers. This is a small cult that would in fact disappear if their leader turned out to be more screwy in private that he is in public. Yet these people who are rejected by Evangelicals are the model that the left is using in their effort to minimize the Christian vote. People such as Howard Dean are mystified by the ineffectiveness of their "God talk" and expression of "values" in attracting Christian support. A look at how the New Life Church and the National Association of Evangelicals handled the fall of Ted Haggard opens a window to the mystery.
In the hush of a Sunday morning, believers grieved, struggled and forgave as their pastor, the Rev. Ted Haggard, confessed his sins.
"I am a deceiver and a liar," Haggard told 9,000 of his followers in a letter read from the pulpit of New Life Church by one of his spiritual mentors. "There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life."...
... Having resigned the presidency of the National Assn. of Evangelicals and been dismissed as senior pastor of New Life, Haggard said he and his wife, Gayle, "need to be gone for a while." He pledged to put himself under the guidance of several pastors who will help him work toward restoration.
"Please forgive me," he wrote. "I am so embarrassed and ashamed…. I am a sinner. I have fallen."
Much different from the "apologies" that come from our more secular politicians who want to blame someone else for their own shortcomings. Foley's claim of sexual abuse, Kerry's complaint about being misunderstood and Bill Clinton's outright denials are just the ones that immediately come to mind. All "victims" and all clueless. So what separates them from the fallen Christian? Ted Laggard's statement is a true confession. The reaction of his congregation opens a window to what the God stuff is all about.
...Some were angry at Ted Haggard; many were bewildered. But all said that their faith was not shaken; it was renewed. They would hold fast to all Haggard had taught them over the years, including his preaching that homosexual behavior is an affront to God.
"He believes that what he taught us is true," said Carol Groesbeck, 61.
"I don't think there's anything that needs to be reevaluated," said her husband, Jim, 61, an elder at New Life Church. "We know what we believe, but it's difficult to live that out. That's not just Ted's struggle. It's our struggle."
Michelle Gatson, 37, said she felt reinvigorated by the service after a week that left her so spent, all she wanted to do was "be lying on the floor at home, crying." A member of the choir, she said she found healing in the songs of praise — praise not for any man, but for God. "I love my pastor," she said. "But I'm glad I didn't put my faith in him. He's human."
Christianity, politics, Traditional values, Media