November 18, 2006

Responding to Haggard: Falwell and Robertson are Nuts

As fun as the whole Ted Haggard scandal was, especially following so closely on the heels of the Mark Foley incident and reports that top Republicans have been laughing at the Religious Right for some time, I was particularly fascinated by the response of Falwell and Robertson to the story.

Ted Haggard was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization which represents more people than Robertson and Falwell combined. And yet, both Falwell and Robertson decided to respond to the Haggard scandal by describing Haggard's role and influence as being relatively minor. It is certainly true that Haggard lacks their celebrity, but he was the leader of a large and rather influential Christian group. By trying to minimize his role instead of addressing the pathology in their ranks, Robertson and Falwell sent a message to their flock that Haggard was merely an isolated case and not a symptom of an underlying disease.

Perhaps this is a perfect opportunity for the Christian Right to focus on themselves instead of their usual enemies. Robertson and Falwell have made careers out of hate-mongering and their holier than thou attitude. Perhaps the conviction that Christians are automatically better than everyone else because of their Christian values is part of the problem here. The higher you make that pedestal, the harder the fall.

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