‘The truth that bruises…’ is a phrase that we should remember. It’s not that truth always bruises, but it can. And those bruises can provide the lesson that we need. We, who claim to be Christian, have images in our memory of being told that we are training for a race, that we are gold being refined, and as clay being molded. Those are not images of comfortable living. Those are images that call us to go where we can be hurt.
"So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed
public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."
And yet if we are training for an event don't we come away with bruises and sprains and other injuries. And we as Christians are given the example of a runner preparing for a race. We shouldn't ask for it to be easy, but that the training be done well. When we look for the easy way - our pastor always knows what’s right - in one fashion or another – the Bible has all the answers - then we fall prey to wanting things to be our way rather than taking a look at reality. I hope the discoveries about Haggard are not used to pull him down and forget about what happened. I hope that they become an opportunity for discussions about what happens when one's sexuality is denied, when one is forced to live a lie, the dangers when one comes into or seeks power and prestige and more. I hope that there is an opportunity not just for abuse, but also for reflection. What I see from the gay press is mostly sympathy (albeit with a few gleeful sounds), what I see from the mainstream press is here are the facts (albeit in a way that sometimes sounds a little gleeful over who's got their hand caught in the cookie jar), and from the evangelical/fundamentals something like 'he couldn't have done it but if he did he's good for denying that it was him for so long'. These are gross over-simplifications, but... I want to see more reflection on what sort of world we are looking for and how do we help our leaders as well as what do we expect from them.
One of the things we should expect from our leaders is the truth. Yes there are some things that should be kept private, classified, or not mentioned. But that should be for some other reason than convenience or embarrassment. Too often, as in the case of Haggard, the lack of disclosure of sexual improprieties is about embarrassment or, as in the case Bush admitting to lies about Rumsfeld’s departure, convenience or, again, as in the cover-up of a soldier who committed suicide after having protests over torture dismissed, convenience.
The truth may hurt, but without it we will fail miserably. We may not make the right choices with the truth but we surely won’t make the right choices unless we have the truth.