Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Haggard Tragedy

" is a logical fallacy to conclude from this that the message that Haggard brought on behalf of evangelicals is somehow discredited. Or to allow it to be watered down in the embarrassment of it all. Jesus reserved some of his strongest criticism for the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. But he in no way condemned the righteousness that they stood for in public. Matthew 23:1–3 records:

‘Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practise and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.’

Thus the charge of hypocrisy was not an attack on the morality they preached but on their failure to live up to it. He actually told his followers to be even more righteous than them (Matthew 5:20).

In fact, the very pain of hypocritical actions in a preacher has something to do with our innate recognition that something intrinsically good has been debased and let down by his failure to meet the standard that he proclaimed. Hence the saying, ‘Hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue.’ It stands to reason that saying the right thing and doing the wrong thing is better than saying AND doing the wrong thing.

Indeed, what would have happened if Haggard had come out of the closet on his own and bashed the church for repressing gay sexuality? Judging by its record of lauding gay bishops, the generally anti-Christian media would be hailing Haggard as a brave maverick who had boldly thrown off the chains of organized religion to embrace self-actualization. We would hear very little of his hypocrisy of not following the book he claimed to believe in, or of betrayal of his family. About the only thing that the media seems to have against Haggard is that he now seems to be repentant, spoke out against homosexuality while practising it, and has not resiled from that."

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