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Ted Haggard Resurfaces, Flames Out

Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard has resurfaced via an article in the Denver Post. He claims he was sexually abused as a child and that’s what led to his later sinful sucking.

Sigh.

The quote I found most telling:

"I hate this thing, but there were times I loved it," he told himself. "I hate this thing, but there were times I loved it. I hate this thing, but there were times I loved it."

Ah, love.

I can’t quite find it in me to heap hot coals on the broken, twisted, traumatized mess that is Ted Haggard. Okay, I’m a shrink, so I’m not going either to trivialize or automatically presume the veracity of his childhood sexual abuse explanation. The "abuse excuse" has been fabricated before by any number of people, and reports of such childhood victimization cannot, clinically, either be dismissed or presumed to be true with certainty.

Let’s suspend belief or disbelief for a moment in Haggard’s neatly structured tale of victimization in search of a redemption narrative of forgiveness by his Evangelical constituents. None of us has direct access to observe what may have happened to him as a kid. But we have observed a real trauma in his life, and he talks about it in the article:

Haggard sounded critical of church leaders who, he said, missed the opportunity to demonstrate unconditional Christian love and forgiveness after the scandal broke.

"There came a moment in my life when were so alone and there was so much despair that I was suicidal," Haggard said. "The world would be better without me."

He said he would lie in bed, "paralyzed with shame," at times unable to pray, until Jesus came to him and dispelled the darkness.

The shunning he experienced left him suicidal and reeling. Of this we have no doubt.

And as tragic as traumatization caused by childhood sexual abuse is, the trivialization of those sufferings by religio-political hacks for cheap political purposes represents another kind of abuse, the cooptation of people’s nuanced life experiences to serve one’s own hostile agenda.

Which brings us back to love.

Haggard sabotaged his carefully constructed life through actions fueled by a natural part of himself that sought expression. Sometimes the impulse to heal oneself is messy: such is the vital need to love and be loved authentically.

The part of his life that sought love, that part which he, by his own admission, not only hated, but "loved," had first to find a way to explode his life that it might save his life. But Ted’s traumatized, broken adherence to the anti-human, anti-love ideology that imprisoned him before imprisons him still, leaving him a distorted, pathetic shell of a man, looking for love in all the wrong places.

I suspect Ted’s final reckoning with the "demons" he needs most wholly to embrace has not yet come, and I hope he survives that final flame out to emerge, bit by bit, a more whole and healthy man, intact. I note that, according to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, in spite of the ballot initiatives November 4th, national tolerance for homosexuality has never been higher: 54% in a national survey endorse the statement, "Homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society," while only 38% endorse the statement, "Homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged by society."

For Ted’s sake and the sake of hundreds of thousands like him, and their families, let’s hope he catches up with the trend soon, before he does end up killing himself, directly or indirectly.

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Ted Haggard Resurfaces, Flames Out

Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard has resurfaced via an article in the Denver Post. He claims he was sexually abused as a child and that’s what led to his later sinful sucking.

Sigh.

The quote I found most telling:

"I hate this thing, but there were times I loved it," he told himself. "I hate this thing, but there were times I loved it. I hate this thing, but there were times I loved it."

Ah, love.

I can’t quite find it in me to heap hot coals on the broken, twisted, traumatized mess that is Ted Haggard. Okay, I’m a shrink, so I’m not going either to trivialize or automatically presume the veracity of his childhood sexual abuse explanation. The "abuse excuse" has been fabricated before by any number of people, and reports of such childhood victimization cannot, clinically, either be dismissed or presumed to be true with certainty.

Let’s suspend belief or disbelief for a moment in Haggard’s neatly structured tale of victimization in search of a redemption narrative of forgiveness by his Evangelical constituents. None of us has direct access to observe what may have happened to him as a kid. But we have observed a real trauma in his life, and he talks about it in the article:

Haggard sounded critical of church leaders who, he said, missed the opportunity to demonstrate unconditional Christian love and forgiveness after (more…)

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Pachacutec

Pachacutec

Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.