Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Haggard File

I love this summary of the Haggard situation from Atrios on Friday afternoon:
According to CNN, Haggard claims he bought meth but didn't use it and went to the prostitute for a massage.


Like most folks in the non-Evangelical community, Ted Haggard didn't cross my radar much. (Looking back, I only have two mentions of him -- one in conjunction with David Kuo's recent tell-all book about BushCo's usage of the Christian Right for its political goals, and the other noting that Haggard was wilting from making a stand on global warming after vocal protests from the usual suspects like Dobson.) But now he's here, he may be queer, so get used to it.

And despite protestations from BushCo LLC, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals did have a close relationship to the White House, as noted by the Rocky Mountain News:
He made frequent visits to the White House and was included in a select group of religious leaders briefed on the administration's agenda during a weekly teleconference with White House staff, a session meant to "feel the evangelical pulse," he's said.

"We have direct access (to the White House)," Haggard told a Wall Street Journal reporter shortly before the last presidential election, adding that he could take a concern to the president through staff and get a response within 24 hours.

Asked Friday about the Haggard controversy, White House spokesman Tony Fratto downplayed the pastor's connections to the Bush administration.

"He had been on a couple of (conference) calls but was not a weekly participant in those calls," Fratto said, adding that Haggard had been to the White House "one or two times."

"But there have been a lot of people who come to the White House," Fratto said.

Here's a bit more background on Haggard, first from The Carpetbagger Report:
Haggard was listed by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America last year, and this is one of a handful of religious leaders with immediate access to the Bush White House. Harper's recently wrote, "No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted."
But it's also worth remembering that in a broad movement, Haggard was occasionally a voice of reason. Over the summer, for example, when there was a growing debate about the American use of torture on suspected terrorists, Haggard stepped up to sign a joint statement that said torture "violates the basic dignity of the human person" and "contradicts our nation's most cherished values." The statement added, "Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?"
For that matter, when Pat Robertson called for Hugo Chavez's assassination, Haggard also told a reporter, "Pat doesn't speak for evangelicals any more than Dr. Phil speaks for mental health professionals."

For more on that Harpers article check out this post over at Jesus' General, which has audio of Air America's Rachel Maddow interview the article's author, Jeff Sharlett.

Finally, Salon's Lauren Sandler (author of Righteous: Dispatches From the Evangelical Youth Movement) contributed the following to Tim Grieve at Salon's War Room:
"Rick Warren may be the bestselling evangelical scribe since the Bible's original autographs. His 'Purpose-Driven Life' has sold more copies than any other nonfiction book in history, that is, if you don’t consider the Bible nonfiction. But he’s hardly got the ear of the president, with whom he doesn't always see eye to eye (or tooth for tooth).

"And even James Dobson, long heralded as the most influential evangelical in the world, lacks the pull with the evangelical movement he once did. Dobson never takes off his suit jacket, even at his desk, while Haggard can't stand the feel of anything but denim against his skin. Dobson has been seen by many evangelicals as stepping too far into the 'corrupt' dark side of Washington since he launched his PAC, while Haggard manages his influence carefully without the tarnish of politics ever marring his flawless gleam. It's Haggard who is the bionic hero of the young cadets and airmen he ministers to in his own megachurch, just down the road from Dobson's Focus on the Family. In Colorado Springs -- known alternately as the Vatican and the Washington of the evangelical world -- it is Haggard who is king, the crony and the conscience of his youthful parishioners as well as his president.

"Which is why it matters so that Haggard seems to have fallen. The Mark Foley scandal inspired plenty of people to question their devotion to the Republican Party. But Foley is a politician; most evangelicals would already suspect him of thinly cloaking his identity in a three-piece, pinstriped superego. Haggard, on the other hand, has always represented the real deal. He's the one John Wayne would have tapped for his posse. He's the one who represents most how deeply political this evangelical population can be, while always disdaining the notion of politics, always cleaving toward the ranch rather than the Hill.

"If that makes it sound like Haggard and Bush are peas in a pod, well, they are. Haggard participates -- or at least he did -- in weekly White House conference calls, and he and the president like to joke that the only thing they disagree on is what truck to drive."

After a series of denials and openings to some vague admittance to some of the allegations, Ted Haggard was fired from his seat as head pastor to the New Life Church (after previously stepping down from his post with the National Association of Evangelicals):
"Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct," the independent board said in a statement.

Yeah, couldn't see that coming...


At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[insights into Ted Haggard's C. Z.]


Historian Dave MacPherson has uniquely uncovered the 19th century roots of militant Christian Zionism, a modern crusade supporting American politics and even military action to bring about the End.
The roots of this vengeful and power-mad campaign have been traced by MacPherson to a quarterly British journal known as "The Morning Watch" which, in its Sep., 1830 issue, had the first public teaching of the "pre-tribulation rapture" (the most popular feature of "dispensationalism").
In that same issue, one writer stated that the raptured Christians would then collectively become "the victorious ministerer of the great tribulation" upon those left behind!
An 1832 issue of the same journal taught that the "vials" of wrath in the book of Revelation "shall be poured out by the risen [raptured] saints," and a few months later another issue went even further and declared that the collective group of raptured ones will "wield the thunders of its power against the dragon [Satan] and his angels, and cast them down from heaven"!
But where in the Bible, asks MacPherson, did those British fanatics find support for such "rapture rage," and where are the followers of Christ commanded to pick up a sword and conquer or convert non-believers with it - or even support such sword-bearers?
The above is a tiny fraction of Dave MacPherson's 300-page book "The Rapture Plot," the most detailed and documented history of the "pre-tribulation rapture" view merchandised big time by John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, Hal Lindsey, Jimmy Swaggart, Jack Van Impe etc. for their agendas - an escapist view that was never taught by any church before 1830!
MacPherson, BTW, has stated that all of his royalties have always gone to a nonprofit corporation and not to himself. To obtain a copy of his unique, eye-opening book, call 800.643.4645 or visit online bookstores. (Type in "Scholars Weigh My Research" on Google to read endorsements of it by many leading scholars.)
Do Hagee and his fellow preachers really love Jewish persons as much as they say they do? Then why do they pervert Scripture to try to get themselves raptured off earth before the final "tribulation" instead of wanting to be on earth during that period to minister love to ALL of earth's citizens?
Hagee stated on July 19, 2006 that "The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West...." Which Bible verse inspired him to utter this - the one that says "Love ye your enemies" or the one saying "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord"?
Are Hagee, Falwell and other rapture merchandisers trying to identify with the predicted group whose love will "wax cold" (a la Matthew 24:12) during earth's darkest days?


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