Trouble in Zion

Poor Ted Haggard's life is crumbling around him. The pastor of a 14,000 member church in Colorado Springs, of all things, bought meth from a prostitute. He didn't use the drug, of course, and the prostitute did nothing more than administer Rev. Haggard a massage. Even so, Haggard has resigned his positions and submitted to the authority of an oversight board within the church which will decide his fate.

Many people outside evangelicalism see Haggard's behavior as pitiful, just what happens when somebody tries to cover up who they are. They mistakenly assume that his tawdry visits to a prostitute will forever discredit him with his co-religionists.

Not true. The wheels of forgiveness are already spinning. I always suspected this was some people thought, but I never thought I'd find somebody to say it out loud: For some, hypocricy is a high virtue.

Yes, it is far better to hold old time moral standards, violate them in tawdry, even dangerous ways, go through emotional public confessions and tears and pain for you and your family, than it is to lead a life of integrity which might not fit with the mid-1950s nuclear family ideal.

"We're all sinners," is the refrain right now amongst those who are rushing to forgive Pastor Ted. What they don't say is they are much more comfortable with tawdry, sick, sinful behavior--from that, people can convert--than they are with somebody who calmly seeks to live with consistency outside the norms.