Friday, August 26, 2005

More on Ted Haggard

All of my commenters, which are still only one person, have continued to discuss my posts on the response of the NAE's Ted Haggard to Pat Robertson's call for Hugo Chavez to be assassinated. Here's Andrew's latest response to my last post:
That's the problem with looking at an interview second-hand. You miss so much. Jesse Jackson brought up Janet and Justin. Not Ted. Ted was saying exactly what you're saying: "Why are you bringing this up in the Robertson context?" It really didn't make any sense.

When Lou Dobbs asked him point-blank if he condemned the assassination call, Haggard said, "Absolutely." It was only when Lou was asking questions trying to understand why Robertson would say such a thing that Ted offered the explanations you posted. Any time he got the chance, he emphatically stated that Pat's position is not representative of evangelicals.

Here's a nifty one-liner from Knight Ridder (It's listed on the page you link to citing your incomplete transcript from CNN...You seem to have missed it...):

"Pat doesn't speak for evangelicals any more than Dr. Phil speaks for mental health professionals." - Ted Haggard

The reason Ted is minimizing the statement is that he is not out for Pat's head on a platter. Shooting a guy when he's down is no more Christian than the foolish remark Pat made. Ted's trying to strongly condemn the sin while loving the sinner--isn't that what we all try to do as Christians?

By the way, Pastor Ted is meeting with Hugo Chavez' people tomorrow in Mexico to help smooth things over and clarify Evangelicals' position. I really think he's doing as much as he can to do the right thing here...

And, for the record, I do work at New Life Church. I happen to like Pastor Ted (shock!) and when I notice a site like yours which writes only part of the story, I like to help the whole picture be seen. Sorry if I have bothered you by it...

A couple of things:
  • I really appreciate the tone of Andrew's response. Even though I'm trying to say something serious, I have said it in a somewhat flippant manner, and Andrew has remained courteous and irenic. His response is a good example of how to conduct an online discussion, and I thank him for it.
  • I'm glad for the context and clarification of the references to Janice Jackson. Context matters, which is why, btw, I didn't include Haggard's one-liner about Robertson - I didn't know the context.
  • I'm glad that Mr. Haggard will be or has been by now personally meeting with representatives of President Chavez.

But, a couple of other things remain, and these points are not necessisarily aimed at Andrew, but he's welcome (as are others) to continue if he likes:
  • Just what is "Evangelicals' position" on Venezuela? As far as I am aware, Mr. Haggard has been supportive of the Bush administration's approach to international issues, and the Administration, as I noted in another post, seems to have been actively involved in trying to overthrow Chavez, and certainly continues to see him as an enemy.
  • So is the "Evangelical position" that we support our government's attempts to undermine Mr. Chavez' regime? Or is our position the more easily biblically defensible position that we pray for God's blessing on him and his country and that we humbly urge him to work for greater freedom and justice for his people?
  • I'll accept that "The reason Ted is minimizing the statement is that he is not out for Pat's head on a platter. Shooting a guy when he's down is no more Christian than the foolish remark Pat made." I don't question Mr. Haggard's intent, but there is a point where minimizing or contextualizing turns into excusing, and the Lou Dobbs interview comes at best very close to that point. When someone really blows it, you can't say, "Yes, xyz was really bad, but..." You have to stop before the "but", and it seems to me that Mr. Haggard didn't do that.

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