Thursday, November 09, 2006

After The Fall

Will the Haggard scandal usher in a new age of Christian tolerance or increase the religious right's homophobia?
By Lauren Sandler
It's not Ted Haggard who gets to write the rhetoric of his sexual history.

It's the nation's No. 1 homophobe, the godfather of the religious right, the tyrant against tolerance, James Dobson.
Dobson's Focus on the Family campus lies just south of New Life Church off I-25, but his reach is global and his compassion for homosexuality is nil.
During Sunday services at New Life, it was announced that Dobson, with a team of two pastors, would be overseeing Haggard's "therapeutic restoration."
Under Dobson's watch, Haggard's "problem" is one the religious right can surely solve with "restoration and rehabilitation," further suggesting to brothers and sisters in Christ that homosexuality is a cancer that must be eliminated by the radiation of faith.

Haggard may even be just what the ex-gay movement was waiting for: a testimony of the highest order, a public figure guilty of chronic sin who can emerge cleansed of his desire, a paragon of sparkling heterosexuality.
As Tanya Erdetz, author of "Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement," points out,
"His story is perfect for the kind of evidence they like to present. Here's an example that this is merely a sin or an addiction, that he can emerge redeemed. You can overcome. This is just how they can be anti-gay and talk about themselves as being compassionate. It's a perfect opportunity."
Michael Cobb points out that Dobson will get to prove through Haggard's "restoration" that the church is more necessary than ever before, that faith is the "technology of redemption," as he puts it. "They can show through Haggard that something actually happens. In some ways it's so scripted, so perfect."

No comments: