The Bush defeat & Ted Haggart

11 Nov 2006. Armistice day. The first Armistice day was on 11th Nov 11 am, 1918 to remember the end of the 1st World War. The war set the context for the return of Israel to the British forces and later to the Jews in 1948. It marks the start of the 11th hour, of the End Times clock when the time of the gentiles occupying Jerusalem will be fulfilled. On this Armistice day in 2006, we have just experienced a momentus moment. On 09 Nov 2006, the results of the US midterm elections were confirmed with a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, and the control of the Senate. The exit polls indicated views of President Bush and the war on Iraq were key to the outcome. But it finally came down to the Virginia Senate Race where Webb led the Republican Sen. George Alley by a mere 7000 votes. Sen. Alley was the front runner until he made rasicts remarks and denied his Jewish heritage. It is insightful that the midterm elections like that 2 years ago revolved around the same two issues - the Iraq war and Gay rights. As the Iraq war is ultimately centered on the middle east conflict and Jerusalem, the election is about Jews and Gays. So we have the elections in the most powerful nation on earth not dependent on local issues but on the aggenda set for the end time move of God. The last days will revolved around this two tribes, the lowest and most despised, Jews and Gays, that God may bring his glory and salvation to the great nations through this two outcasts groups. The victory of the Democrates will bring in greater rights for the gays so despised by the Bush government and his evangelical allies.

The evangelical votes did not changed much with all the anti-gay measures passed but with a lower majority than that seen four years ago. The percentage of evangelical voters only dropped marginally from 65% to 60%. Hence, even with the Iraq war, Bush may have survived but the very issue that brought him to power 2 years ago betrayed him on this occasion when the Republican Senator, Mark Foley admitted to sending sexually explicit messages to male congressional minors and later on blamed it alcohol, abused as a teenager by a clergyman, and finally admitted that he was gay. Foley’s resignation on Sept 29, 2006 derailed the Bush election comeback riding on a perceived terrorist treat. The Republicans lost badly the safe senate seat for Florida held by Foley.

The Gay issue that had propelled the Republicans to victory haunted them even further. A few days later on 03 Nov 2006, Ref Ted Haggard, the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the President of the National Association of Evangelicals resigned because of allegations by a male prostitute that Haggard had sex with him over the past 3 months. Despite initial denials and several twists in his story line, on November 5, just two days before the election, Rev. Ted finally admitted that he was sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment his church and that he is guilty of sexual immorality. Ted Haggard was a personal friend and a close advisor to President Bush on moral values. But, the White House quickly abandoned him.

(John 8:7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."

(John 8:9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Jesus was not referring to the sin of adultery in the above passage, but to the sin of hypocrisy. Similarly, the sin that Haggard committed was not so much as the shame that he had brought to his church, nor the sexual immorality to his wife, but his condemnation of the many millions of Gays in his capacity as the President of NAE in alliance with James Dobson. The religious leaders were the focus not the adulterous woman as Jesus highlighted their hypocrisy when they insisted that Jesus throw the first stone. The question asked here is not about sin and repentance but who has the right to judge. Are we saying that we should not judge at all? It was Jesus who said “Go and sin no more” because He had every right to condemn the woman for He alone was sinless. Similarly, now that Ted Haggard has become the very “prostitute” he condemned, let us not likewise be no better and become the religious leaders to condem him unless we consider ourselves sinless like Jesus.

The Gay man/ Call Boy who ousted Rev. Ted, was angry at his hypocrisy in view of the coming ballot against gays, which Ted strongly supported. He had to expose himself as being a gay and a prostitute. However, being a sex worker was apparently more acceptable and morally higher than an overtly hypocritical preacher in a closet with many skeletons in it. However, can Gays judge Rev Ted on his sexual immorality of which he is now condemned by his own church ? Ted Haggard committed sexual immorality for having sex outside marriage and this is a sin, and not a small sin either. However, open sexual relationships are so common in the gay culture. If we were to be consistent, we should equally condemned sex outside monogamous committed relationships as sin and even sexual relationships with non-Christians partners. But we do try our best to retionalise sin when it comes to us. Gays should not be too quick to judge because we too may have committed the same sin on many occasions. His temptation was understandable not only as men but as a gay men stuck in a marriage where there is no sexual attraction. Straight couples are tempted but they have each other to fulfill their natural desires. For Ted, he did not. He suffered for 50 years and should have our sympathy and understanding as a Gay person.

Rev Ted had lost everything with both the evangelicals and the Gay community rejecting him. He has paid the price for his sin and hypocrisy many times over with his story being read throughout the world. He would be totally condemned as being sexually immoral by Christians, and a total hypocrite by the gay community all around the world. We forget that at the end, Ted too was a victim of the homophobia in society and in his church and they have not been taken to tasks. On 05 Nov 2006, when the admission was made public, many church members begin to cry. However, they should they be crying for themselves, for the environment of condemnation against gays that they have instituted. I am reminded of Luke 23:28,29 where Jesus remarked that the daughters of Jerusalem should be weeping for themselves for the calamity that was to come and not for Jesus. At the New Life Church in Colorado, the mainly evangelical congregation strong anti-gay activism has brought God’s judgment on their church which resulted in the lifting of God’s grace and mercy to reveal their sin of hypocrisy. The clouds of judgment may be coming upon the entire evangelical movement for straying away from the gospel message and instead putting Gays outside of the church. This is the dark and hideous sin that the church must confront and not Ted Haggard’s moment of indiscretion.

Gays have every right to throw the first stone because what Rev Haggard was wrong and deserved judgment especially the harm that he did to the gay community. Because of the church, many gays have committed suicides and many lives have been destroyed, many more than the 14,000 that attends the New Life Church. However, Rev. Ted Haggard has been judged and condemned and rejected now both by his former evangelical friends and the anti-gay movement many times over. What is left for us to do, only to forgive and open the hand of fellowship, embrace, and acceptance that he never truly had.

(John 8:11 NKJV) She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

Forgiveness is not easy and those who say otherwise have not suffered nor have forgiven much. As Gays, we have suffered so much in our lives and know what it is like to be rejected by society, our close friends and by the church. From the depths of our sufferings comes the deep currents of true forgiveness. We chose not to throw the first stone, not because we have no right to, but like Jesus, we chose to forgive showing God's mercy, and to accept showing God’s grace. When Jesus said "Neither do I condemn you", He actually accepted the prostitute and forgave her. It was this forgiveness that made it possible for the prostitute to "sin no more". In the same manner, we should we forgive Ted Haggard for when we forgive, we release him to come out of his closet. Ultimately, Ted Haggard too was a victim of the homophobia in society and in the church, which still have not owned up to this deep darkness and sin. We empathize with Ted Haggard because we understand and because of the love of Christ in our hearts. We cry with him not in condemnation or hurt but because of the deep pain that we too have suffered. May God forgive the evangelical churches before further judgment comes for the tears of sufferings from the saints and their lives are precious to God.

As we return to Singapore where the government intends to decriminalized oral sex under section 377 for straights but not homosexuals under the cloak of “moral values’, we see history repeated again. The Government is naturally weary of a conservative society epitomized by the strong anti-gay champions of the Evangelical and Anglican Churches. There is no apparent political mileage to repeal the gay laws under section 377a. However, the government should act with the best interest of all, for the future and not necessarily on voter opinion nor succumb to the religious right. For ultimately when there is injustice, the nation will be opened to judgment with the lifting of God’s hand of protection upon this small but great nation. President Bush and the Republican Party is paying a heavy price for the series of misfortunes ironically gay related that no one could have ever predicted would cost him the House of Representatives and the Senate. Equality for all citizens is in the best interest of the Government and the nation in the long term especially in an increasingly pro-gay western rally for equal rights. Singapore cannot stand an island by itself nor immune from the need of God’s supernatural protection and help in times of trouble. Let there be justice and equality before it is too late or others make this decision for us.

(Mat 11:12 NKJV) "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

The 09 of Nov 2006 will be remembered as a landmark day for Gay rights. The march for Gay basic rights is moving forward. The news on 09 Nov of the Mexico City's assembly move to legally recognize gay civil unions, with benefits similar to those of married couples. A day earlier, in South Africa, the parliamentary committee studying a bill to legalize same-sex unions said that it is speeding up its deliberations in an effort to get the measure to a full vote before the December 1 deadline imposed by South Africa's highest court. Finally, in Jerusalem, the city of God, amidst protests from the religious groups such as the Catholics, and Muslims, the Gay rally went ahead at the University stadium.

The victory for gays in the past week is a reflection that the heavenly spiritual battle for Gays in the heavens against the forces of Satan is beginning to be won. The victories on earth are a reflection of the spiritual reality in the heavens. Jesus is coming back, he is coming back for all peoples irrespective of being straight or gay. The gate to heaven hitherto closed to Gays by the mainstream church is being forced opened by God himself because the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached to every tribe. We shall overcome, for “God is with us”. Jesus Christ has overcome for us. The victory is ours. Amen.


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