WSJ Reports Return of Rev. Ted Haggard

We wonder why the Wall Street Journal sees fit to covering the return to the ministry of the disgraced preacher Rev. Ted Haggard, "Humbled Haggard Climbs Back in Pulpit" by Stephanie Simon. The Journal is not known for its coverage of the religion beat.

Recall with Ms. Simon who precisely is this Rev. Haggard:
... Mr. Haggard was forced to resign nearly four years ago as president of the politically powerful National Association of Evangelicals and to step down from the megachurch he founded, after admitting that he had bought methamphetamine from, and had a sexual encounter with, a gay prostitute.

Once one of the most prominent church leaders in the U.S., Mr. Haggard confessed in a tortured letter, calling himself "a deceiver and a liar" who had long wrestled with desires he described as "repulsive and dark." He signed a contract promising to follow a path laid out by fellow clergy: to find a new career in a new state and to stay away from pastoral work....
Now, why does the leading business newspaper see fit to follow this story? The obvious answer is that the WSJ sees religion as just another business. And this then is an uplifting story of a disgraced businessman rebounding from bankruptcy to reenter the world of commerce.

Only this would not happen in most business environments. If suddenly and inexplicably paroled, Bernard Madoff would never be permitted to climb back into the investment business. Yeah. Religion is different. No standards.

What bothers us most in the story is the way it accounts for dishonesty that continues in the Haggard story line. Instead of fessing up to major sins (repeated violations of the sexual code of his own church) and taking credit for serious repentance (and moving on), Haggard minimizes his waywardness (it was a single instance of a massage gone wrong) and proclaims that he "over-repented."

Okay then. We've read lots of theology books from Judaism, Christianity and the other religions of the world. Credit Rev. Ted with a brand new idea in religion. He sinned a little and then repented too much.

We ponder just how weak is the church leadership in Colorado Springs to allow this guy back into town. The article informs us that some wacko NY theologian defends Haggard thusly:
"He has a humility of spirit and a recognition of how gripping sin can be in a person's life," said Paul DeVries, president of New York Divinity School, an evangelical seminary in Manhattan.
What humility of spirit? No, now this lying fraud minimizes and denies his sins. You can't have it both ways - minimize and recognize. Unless honesty, logic and consistency are outside your theological worldview.

No comments: