God's Politics

Tony CampoloThe scripture says that when one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer. And so it is that each of us took a hit when Ted Haggard was “ousted,” disgraced, and then ridiculed by late-night comedians. But after we get over our initial anger at being betrayed by one of our top leaders, hopefully we will realize that we really need to prayerfully weep for our brother, his family and the members of his congregation.

In the midst of all the turmoil, confusion, and disillusionment, it is all too easy to ignore the suffering of Mike Jones, the male prostitute who blew the whistle on our brother Ted. Mike also will be hurt. His life will never be the same. He will always be scorned and a marked man.

We have to wonder: What drove him into prostitution? From whence did he get that low self-concept which, according to sociologists who study prostitutes, always characterizes these precious children of God?

Do we, the Church, bear any responsibility for how Mike Jones might feel about himself? Might he have heard some of those sermons which define homosexuals as “abominations” in the eyes of God?

Was it the war that so many leading Christians, including Mr. Haggard, have declared on the gay community that made Mike Jones feel that it was his “moral obligation” to expose the hypocrisy in evangelicalism?

Did he feel so oppressed by the way in which we have generated political movements that threaten to deny gays and lesbians their civil rights that he was motivated to strike back in the only way he could?

I have heard so many of my colleagues in ministry express deep concerns over what this scandal will do to the image of the evangelical movement, but I have heard little concern among us for how all of this will impact those Christian gays and lesbians that we know. They are in our churches. They teach in our Sunday schools and sing in our choirs. Most of them are closeted brothers and sisters who suffer in ways that are impossible for the rest of us to even imagine. They are good people who do not take drugs or visit prostitutes. Will the ugliness of this sorry mess feed a diabolical stereotype of them, which is too often circulated in our churches by unkind preachers who have little, if any, understanding of homosexuals?

In the midst of this tragic scandal, we need to be asking what good God wants to bring out of what has happened. Could this tragedy be used by God to draw us back from an arrogant triumphal attitude wherein we, in our self-righteousness, assume the right to take over America and politically recast it in our own image?

Is this a time when we might do some soul searching to see if we have been reduced into the corrupting influence of the power that we have gained in government and in the marketplace?

Finally, are we able to “restore our brother Ted,” who, in the words of scripture, has been “overtaken in a fault?” Are we able to consider ourselves lest we also be tempted? (Galatians 6:1)

Right now, both Ted and Mike are facing the dark side of their humanity. Are we willing to affirm them by declaring loud and clear that there is something of infinite worth in each of them?

We’ve got a lot of questions to ask ourselves in a time like this. Let us pray for the grace not to flee from these questions.

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