Ted Haggard: Keep the gay; lose the evangelical

Dear Ted,

I saw this movie tonight(The Trials of Ted Haggard). I have to say, I am looking at you in a different way. Before, I was very angry and disgusted with you. You preached that being homosexual was wrong and that people who lived a gay life were sinners. Personally, that was enough for me to be angry with you. Some of my best friends and family are gay and I am Mama Bear where they are concerned. Don’t mess with my gays. I will tear you up.

But, then to hear that you are gay. That you went to a gay prostitute and had sex. Now, I felt two ways about this. One, I was very angry that you were so hypocritical in your life. Hypocrites bother me. You know that being gay is not a choice, firsthand, yet you kept trying to "fix" gay people. But two, I felt very strongly that the church that you looked up to, forced you into this mess.

Now, I mostly feel the second way.

Ted, they have brainwashed you into hating yourself. You don’t need to get rid of the gay, you need to get rid of the evangelical. It’s killing you. They banned you from your church, from your state, from your home. Do you really think your God would approve of that? I mean, really? Do you really think your God would make you this way and then desert you? Because if you do, you will never love yourself. This religion has been set up to exclude an entire group of people, a group of people that society is not so fond of either. You need to break free, to recognize that you can still be a Christian and be gay. That there are people who will not desert you when you need them the most. These are the people you need, not the "only love you when you’re up and throw you out with the trash when you’re down" crowd. I know you seemed surprised and hurt that they didn’t stick by you. I, sadly, was not surprised.

All I could think, as I watched this movie was that this is what misery looks like. You smile all the time, but you look so sad. Even with a big smile, you look like you’re going to start crying at anytime. You feel like a failure, but your only failure was trusting in a belief that doesn’t allow you to be human. I believe it calls it "sin". I think the real sin is allowing for a system that beats people down, makes them hate themselves, then chews them up and spits them out. I think the sin is that you were never made to believe that you were okay just the way you were.

I think there’s hope for you. But, I think you need to stop hating that part of you. Embrace and love yourself for who you are, not what someone else says you need to be. You could be a role model for gay evangelicals, who are going through the same thing you are going through. Tell them it’s okay; tell them they are okay. You could saves lives, maybe your own. Gay teens are at a very high risk for suicide, I would imagine evangelical gay teens even higher. You could be the life raft they hang onto. You could make a difference.

Watching you tonight broke my heart, as I saw what they had done to you. You need to undo it, Ted. Don’t let them win. Keep the gay; lose the evangelical.

I still can’t believe that I feel this way (remember, Mama Bear), but I am rooting for you.


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