Thursday, November 02, 2006

NAE president resigns

Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, has stepped down over gay-sex accusations.

Got this via Internet Infidels, full scoop from various links there, including the Denver Post.

My thoughts:

Probably, this is for real. The ex-prostitute making the claims says he has a voice recording, and he has to know that if you fake something like that it comes out eventually. And if it is true? One, the guy is either a disgusting fraud (if he doesn't believe what he's been saying about homosexuals) or a pitiable victim if him self (if he does believe it).

Question: Should this be regarded as a bigger scandal than some of the stuff in the 1980's? To what extent does the NAE deserve to be regarded as the face of conservative Christianity in the 21st century?

UPDATE: Daniel Morgan posts that the allegations against Haggard have been substantiated.


Tina said...

Meh, religious people have always been hypocrites (in the Middle Ages, priests and popes were having more sex than Paris Hilton, not to mention the more recent examples of child sexual abuse). They'll get rid of this guy, "guilty" or no, and find another nutjob.

The Red Rocker said...

What do atheists care? Atheists are immune from hypocrisy? Anyway, the voice mails in question were requested by the AP and the guy refused to reveal them. At this point I'd say it's a lame attempt by the left to pull some pre-election stunt. One which will no doubt backfire because it's too obvious. Gay sex AND meth? That's a little over the top. Plus they're attacking our faith. Not smart.

As for who this guy is and what he represents and is he important the answer is no. There is no representative for Protestants in America. (I'm a protestant and I'd never heard of this guy.) Atheists and non-Christians don't grasp this, but Pat Robertson is a charismatic, Dobson's in his own little denomination, Falwell is an arminian baptist. These prominent names barely speak for their own niche denominations, and really not even that. American protestants are notoriously independent. Actually individualist is the word. Some more high church protestants bemoan this fact, but too bad, it's bred in us from the beginning.

The only real camps that define large swaths of American Christians is the liberal/conservative divide, and I refer to doctrine in general. It plays out politically too, but not necessarily in a paint by numbers way.

Bronze Dog said...

What do atheists care? Atheists are immune from hypocrisy?

1. Hypocracy is wrong. Therefore we do care.

2. Thus far, my experience leads me to believe that atheists are just less often guilty of hypocracy... But that may be biased by truly superb examples I tend to bump into thanks to all the bullhorn wielding extremists Christians.

American protestants are notoriously independent. Actually individualist is the word.

I'd certainly like to hear more noise from the independant / moderate / generally-not-insane Christians. Unfortunately, I doubt the ratings-oriented media will help with that.

Hallq said...

Why do I care? It's news, how big I wasn't sure when I wrote this post. Hence the question.

The short version of why this struck me as possibly big is that "evangelicals" have established themselves as the dominant form of conservatism today, and they're no slouches on organization: they've got major publishing houses, some of the largest organizations for college students in the world, the Evangelical Theological and Philosophical Societies, etc. These organizations, of course, do not answer directly to the NAE, but if any group can claim to tie it all together, the NAE is probably it.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Okay, first we can dismiss red rocker's "left-wing plot" characterization, now that his church has dismissed him.
As for his importance, he certainly was among the five most influential evangelicals around, probably more important even in Colorado Springs than Dobson, and his New Life group had over sixty 'satellite churches' with maybe half a million members. As well as being the head of NAE until he was dismissed this week. He's MUCH more important than Falwell -- who is pretty much 'yesterday's news' -- or Robertson -- who is becoming a laughing stock, more important to people outside the churches as someone to beat up on than inside it.

This is FAR bigger than the scandals in the 80s. Bakker was an obvious con-man and hustler who didn't have that much respect, and Swaggart was also not a major figure outside his own large audience.

The thing is that Haggard, while definitely dangerous and hateful, was actually relatively moderate, at least as compared to someone like Rod Parsley or Tim LeHaye. Of course he was wrong, and yes, he preached some hateful things, but he had a respect among moderately dsane evangelicals (assuming that is not an oxymoron) that the others don't.

On another blog, a political one, that has asked for election predictions, I've stated that I had to increase (gladly) my prediction of Democratic pick-ups by 4 just because of the "Haggard effect." I've also expressed human sympathy for his followers, who are probably experiencing the equivalence of PTSD right now. This was a BIG shock.