Flocks and shocks
The ethical failings and hypocritical behavior of Ted Haggard resulted in New Life Church's board of overseers appointing James Dobson in the role of psychologist and two other evangelical ministers to address Haggard's mental and spiritual needs. After a few days of thinking about it, Dobson says he just doesn't have the time to help his friend.
Yet it never seems to have occurred to him or the other ministers that their role in assisting Ted Haggard with his mental and spiritual "restoration" was highly unethical and totally inappropriate to begin with. The three of them were longstanding "friends" (Dobson's word) with Ted Haggard.
No psychologist or other mental health professional who has an ounce of ethics would ever accept having an existing friend become a new client. Similar ethical standards apply within any pastoral-client relationship. If this is the level of ethical behavior that is modeled to the flock, why are they in shock when unethical behavior is rampant among their brethren?
It seems to me that the Ted Haggard episode would have been the perfect situation for James Dobson to demonstrate his highly touted homosexual cure, "Love Won Out," to the American population at large, rather than keeping this process closeted in Bible-belt seminars.
Does his withdrawal indicate that perhaps we have another local moralist who is full of hot air?
The sad parade
Not to dash the hopes expressed in your Nov. 9 column ("An example must be set but which one?" Your Turn), but Pastor Ted will never "set an example for embracing human sexuality as a gift."
I wholeheartedly agree with you that sexual orientation is not a sin. As you said, sexuality is a gift. Problem is, you want to spin Pastor Ted's actions into a celebration of sexuality. Accept, promote, embrace sexual diversity but don't get swept away!
While parading around as a man of God, Pastor Ted routinely paid for sexual services with a prostitute. Not only that, but he soiled his commitment to his wife, betrayed her, and exposed her to the physical dangers of extramarital sex. Now you want this man to "embrace the darkest part of yourself and hold it up to the light"? No!
This is not a time for rejoicing. This is not a time for celebration. Pastor Ted is no shining example of how to enjoy "human sexuality as a gift." Quite conversely, he is the ultimate example of how to defile, demean and abuse human sexuality and marital commitment.
Do not bring this man's actions "into the light." Do not, for one second, think that he and his choices represent the kind of gay rights that those who stand for the cause espouse.
People do not fight for gay rights so men can have paid sex with other men. They do not fight for gay rights so that homosexuals may be freely promiscuous. People fight for gay rights so that same-gender couples can express their love and commitment with respect and honor from the community at large.
Pastor Ted is the epitome of hypocrisy, haughtiness and intolerance. Unless you need a model for the cheat-on-your-partner-with-a-prostitute-rights movement, his actions are not to be celebrated or embraced in any way, shape or form.
Based on their understanding of biblical teachings, many Christians believe that it is not wrong to be a homosexual, but that it is wrong to engage in homosexual behavior. More liberal believers, such as Pastor Benjamin Broadbent, have difficulty appreciating this distinction. But in the spirit of respect for differing viewpoints, these left-leaners must learn to appreciate, without having to accept, such an interpretation of the Bible. They must agree to disagree.
Most Christians would agree that it is not Ted Haggard's possible homosexuality that is sinful, but his homosexual acts outside of his marriage. What is immoral and abhorrent by all reasonable standards of human conduct is Mr. Haggard's devious unfaithfulness to his wife and his self-centered lack of consideration for his children.
Embracing our sexuality does not mean acting on every one of our sexual impulses. Such an ideology would cause immeasurable harm to individuals, families and society. We need look no further than the damage done by the prevalence of adultery in our culture to affirm this truth; too many need look no further than their own marriages.
Let us worry less about Ted Haggard and more about our own shortcomings. Let us be reminded of how we are all vulnerable to failings that hurt others and ourselves. Let us act, sexually and otherwise, in ways that do not cause harm and for which we need not be ashamed.
I would like to respond to "Open letter to the right" ("Haggard's fall: Readers weigh in," Nov. 9):
In his letter, Howie Acosta, like all two-dimensional-thinking liberals, left out a few points. Instead of throwing stones, clean up your own backyard.
Let us look at some examples. Ted Kennedy: Chappaquiddick, and head of the morals committee. Maybe I am missing something there. Kennedy's son: busted for drunk driving.
John Kerry: war criminal and bad-joke-teller. Robert Byrd: former member of the Ku Klux Klan. Jesse Jackson: preacher who has a child with another woman while married. Al Sharpton: Tawana Brawley. Bill Clinton: Need I say more? Oh yeah, and a Democratic majority who voted for the war resolution.
Have you simply overlooked these things, my brother, in your holier-than-thou misguided attitude? About Pastor Haggard: It is not the man you look up to, it is the Lord Jesus Christ. All men will fall short because we are mortal.
God bless you and your family.
I was thoroughly disappointed recently to open up your newspaper and have an "American Spirit" ad flutter to the ground. "Natural American Spirit" cigarettes are made of 100 percent organic tobacco, 100 percent additive-free. Marketers want you to believe they are a healthy and sensible alternative to the average cigarette, when in actuality, these are just as harmful as regular cigarettes.
Additive-free does not mean addictive-free; and smoking "light" or filtered cigarettes does not eliminate or reduce risks of heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema and pregnancy complications. In fact, the actual level of tar and nicotine the smoker gulps down completely relies on how "hard" the smoker inhales.
I am saddened that your hands helped distribute this manipulative advertising. Considering that fewer than 20 percent of Coloradans smoke, I would think you would be interested in selling advertising to companies with products that affect the majority of your demographic.
How do you feel knowing you sold out to a company that sells the only product on the market that kills when used as directed? Eight Coloradans die every day from tobacco-related illnesses! Tobacco companies, like American Spirit, know this means they must replace their dying customers. They do this by spending tons of cash figuring out ways to hook new customers.
I am 17 years old and I am scared. I am scared of the effect Big Tobacco's advertising has on people my age and younger. I am scared because I know 90 percent of smokers started smoking before they were 18. I am scared the Independent has allowed "American Spirit" to place ads in between its pages.
For these reasons, I am asking you to refuse to include any tobacco advertising in your newspaper. Please do this out of consideration for your loyal readers' health.
Sign of the season
In "Trees and pleas" (Letters, Nov. 9), Mr. Harry Katz implied that trees decorated in December should continue to be called "Christmas trees" rather than "holiday trees," in part because such trees aren't Jewish. Thus, being forced to color such a tree in kindergarten is a pushing of Christianity on children.
Surprisingly enough, Mr. Katz's children's teachers were correct a "Christmas" tree is indeed a sign of the winter season, and not a symbol of Christianity. They should rightfully be called "Yule trees," as the custom dates back to pre-Christian Pagan traditions of the winter solstice.
But, if we can't call them that, let's at least call them "holiday trees," and acknowledge that Christians aren't the only ones celebrating "holy days" at that time of year. The Pagans beat them to that, and decorating trees, by millennia. The tradition remains alive and well in the Pagan community to this day. So, everyone, put up that holiday tree next month whatever it means to you.
Nuna N. Bosler
I just wanted to say thank you for supporting the recent Huun Huur Tu concert at Colorado College. My wife and went to the concert, and really enjoyed it. I was amazed to find the concert was free, supported by you and other organizations. Bringing the community together to enjoy this wonderful music shows you really care about Colorado Springs.
Matthew G. McHarg
In last week's issue, a news story headlined "Fawcett skunked" implied that Rep.-Elect Doug Lamborn's campaign manager, John Hotaling, may have been involved in a prank that sullied the office of Democratic candidate Jay Fawcett. Hotaling says his campaign was not involved.
Watch for your School District 11 Recall Ballot in the mail after Friday, Nov. 17. The ballot gives you the opportunity to oust or keep board members Eric Christen and Sandy Shakes and vote for their replacements. Ballots are due December 12. Contact the Elections Department at the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's office at 575-VOTE for more information.
Remember those you love and have lost at the 22nd Annual Trees of Life Celebration from 5 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Pioneers Museum (215 S. Tejon St.). Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care will read names that you provide in remembrance. Call 633-3400 for more information.
Help relieve hunger in Southern Colorado this holiday season by donating non-perishable food items, hosting a food drive or volunteering with Care and Share Food Bank. Call 528-1247 or visit careandshare.org for more.