Saturday, November 04, 2006

Haggard, Frum, and Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan has a quote on his site from David Frum that goes:"If a religious leader has a personal inclination toward homosexuality -and nonetheless can look past his own inclination to defend the institution of marriage and to affirm its benefits for the raising of children - why should he likewise not be honored for his intellectual firmness and moral integrity?"But that's not all that David Frum says. Frum goes on to suggest Haggard in his preaching against homosexuality and for the understanding of marriage can only be for a man and a woman was better than another man who openly visited prostitutes and took drugs. In other words the preaching against the sin that one hides is better than not preaching against the sin one com mitts openly.

But the man called Jesus in the gospel lessons would have, I believe, some different words. What Frum wants is hypocrisy. Frum seems to want someone to hide their sin and preach against it. But Christians are called to bring what is hidden to the light.The problem is that Haggard continued to preach against what he called sin without admitting that he was continuing in that same sin against which he preached. He left a corner of his life dark. And when the light finally came into that dark corner there were consequences. The family which he supposedly protected is now faced with a scandal. That whole scandal would fade into nothing if Haggard had been open about his desires and struggles with drugs in the first place. The mind that Christ wants us to have is not one that hides, but one that is open and brings things to the light.

If we Christians have the mind of Christ that we are called to have, then we can say things like "I'm married but still have desires for relationships outside of marriage." We can say things like, "I struggle with wanting to take illegal drugs." Then there are no surprises for our family and congregation. If one is open then there is no glee from the non-Christians when one fails to live up to the standards which one professes. But as it is now the glee that some feel with Haggard's slip is part of the consequences of having hidden that which he did.

I pity Haggard more than condemn him. I have more problems with those who say 'take this hypothetical situation' and see Haggard is better than another who does the same thing. Those people are more hypocritical than Haggard.

No comments: