A Second Thought on Conservative Sex Scandals


Far be it from me to spoil everyone’s enjoyment of the seemingly endless parade of busted Republican moral hypocrites. As if boy-chasing Rep. Mark Foley and mistress-keeping and allegedly mistress-beating Rep. Don Sherwood and allegedly cocktail-waitress groping Nevada state Rep. Jim Gibbons weren’t enough, now we’ve got the meth-huffing, gay-prostitute-hiring Rev. Ted Haggard! Honestly, I haven’t felt such satisfying schadenfreude since Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart were caught with their respective pants down.

But it’s worth pointing out that, all things being relative, Haggard was apparently not such a terrible guy. As the LA Times reports, “Though Haggard has spoken out on abortion and same-sex marriage from time to time, he is less fiery on those topics than many of his colleagues are. He has pushed, instead, for a broader concept of biblical values: He wants evangelicals to be more involved in protecting the environment and helping the poor. Haggard has not joined other evangelicals in campaigning against a Colorado initiative to provide domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples. He also stood out among conservative preachers for publicly praising a 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law.”

In other words, it seems the guy had a heart, and perhaps even some principles. Who knows? Maybe now that he’s been outed as a man who like to have sex with other men, he can use what are evidently some impressive talents as a preacher and leader to help convince his fellow evangelicals that that’s not such a terrible thing. Hey, a blogger can dream, can’t he?

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  • Vince Beiser, a former Mother Jones senior editor, has reported from more than 30 countries—on troop training in Iraq, natural disasters in Haiti, and prison conditions in California.