In current debates over gay relationships and their position in society, we’ve moved beyond a plea for acceptance and equality to an increasingly strident claim of homosexual superiority and a demand for special status and endorsement.
In a recent syndicated column about Pastor Ted Haggard, the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals who confessed to a three year affair with a gay, drug-dealing prostitute, Ellen Goodman wrote of “people who heard a man wounded by the culture of demonization. Their sympathy was for a man primed for repression and deception by the teaching of homosexuality as a sin… More gays, more friends, families, co-workers have come to believe that gayness is not a choice, let alone a sin.”
In other words, some tender-hearted Americans feel ready to forgive, even to embrace, a religious leader who routinely paid a sex-for-hire hustler to cheat in a Denver hotel room on his wife and five kids while getting high on illegal and dangerous methamphetamines. Try to imagine that Haggard had engaged in his extra-marital adventures with a female hooker, rather than a middle-aged call boy. Would anyone have come forward to express “sympathy” for the man or to view him as a sad victim of “repression”?
By the same token, former New Jersey governor James McGreevy recently wrote a best-selling book called “Confession,” describing his risky and degrading encounters in men’s rooms and back alleys. He even spoke of inviting his male lover (placed on the state payroll despite a total absence of qualifications) into his marital bed in the governor’s mansion while his wife struggled in the hospital with a troubled pregnancy. Oprah Winfrey (and others) now hail McGreevy for his “courage” in speaking so openly and proudly of his newly-discovered status as a “gay American.” Would any public figure receive similarly indulgent treatment after confessing serial infidelity with a member of the opposite sex?
Finally, the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, made headlines as the first openly gay clergyman to reach such a leadership position in his denomination. The media paid little attention, however, to the fact that Bishop Robinson (who is currently undergoing rehab treatment for alcoholism) had initially embraced his gay identity when he left his wife and three children for a relationship with another man. Would the Episcopal Church or any other significant religious body so readily grant a position of spiritual leadership to a priest who had abandoned his family for an extra-marital affair with a partner of the opposite sex?