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Mike Jones on Ted Haggard and Hypocrisy
Posted on Jul 7, 2007
Harris: What’s been the best improvement for you?
Jones: I don’t know if I can say an improvement. What I can say is I’m 50 years old now. My life is, I have no more baggage. My life is so exposed; I literally have no more baggage. I have nothing to hide from anybody. And that’s kind of a unique situation to be in. I can kind of start fresh with whatever I decide to do. But it is overpowering because right before Ted Haggard came to life, I had just lost my mom to a horrible death, so I was very depressed about that, and then Ted Haggard came along. And it’s been a very emotional last few months for me.
Scheer: Now, I want to ask about sex scandals with the evangelicals, because James is talking about the Catholic Church. ... Now with evangelicals, though, there have been sex scandals, though, but they weren’t with homosexuals. Why did your scandal get so much traction? Why do you think it cost [the Republicans] the election?
Jones: The homosexual part?
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Jones: They can deal with straight sex, they can deal with drug abuse. They can deal with anything. If you throw in homosexuality in there, that changes everything. They cannot deal with that.
Harris: So Haggard lost credibility because he was gay? And he proclaimed to be somebody else?
Jones: Because of the homosexuality aspect.
Harris: You’re saying, had he came out and there was a 30-year-old hot blond women, he would have been fine. But since you weren’t the hot blonde, that that ended his career?
Jones: Look at Jimmy Swaggart. He’s a prime example. He got caught with a prostitute, you know, he’s back doing his thing. Absolutely, absolutely. Haggard, what he would have done, he would have admitted it, he would have asked for forgiveness. He would have cried, and he would have kept going. But you throw the gay aspect in there and that threw him for a loop.
Harris: We talked to a guy by the name of Cyd Ziegler, he’s the chief at Outsports.com, and we were talking about the Tim Hardaway incident. I don’t know if you remember that earlier this year ... when he [Hardaway] talked about John Amaechi in such horrible terms. But I asked him, quite frankly, “Don’t you think there is a collective fear and loathing of homosexuality in this country?” And [Ziegler] told me: “No, I don’t. I think it’s much better than it used to be, and people, by and large, accept homosexuality.” I’d love to know what you think the general feeling about homosexuality is in this country.
Jones: Yeah, I think it’s getting better. I’ve seen it since, you know; I’ve been around for a while. So I’ve seen it during the really rough periods. Is it there where it should be yet? No. But, I would guess that within 10 years every person out there is going to know someone, or have a family member, that is gay. And that’s where the real change comes into ... when it’s so close to you, definite changes. I think it’s going to get better, I think it’s better. But is it perfect? No. Will it ever be perfect? Probably not.
Scheer: Are you glad this came out ... the book has been written, and Ted Haggard has been exposed? Do you think it made a big dent in the evangelicals? Maybe they have to take a look at themselves?
Jones: Yeah. I can tell you about New Life Church [Haggard’s former church]. Their attendance is down 25 percent right now, and during the election last election, when this story broke, 8 percent of the evangelicals did not vote. That’s huge. And I think they are having to take a look at themselves because, you know what, this can’t continue. You know what, the way the church [Christianity] deals with homosexuality is they don’t deal with it. They want to brush it to the side as quickly as possible. And then you know what we get? We get more Ted Haggards down the road. I mean, how many times do we want to go through this? This is ridiculous. There are so many more important issues to deal with in this country than gay marriage. So, I think they are taking a look at it; it’s going to be slow coming, but sooner or later they’re going to have to come to terms.
Harris: Do you really think the church is going to come to terms with homosexuality?
Jones: You know, it’s starting to wear on people. People are getting tired. How many more times do we have to hear about pedophilia in the Catholic Church? How many more times do we have to hear about, you know, affairs, you know, with priests crumbling down, or pastors falling from the pedestal? People are getting weary, and that’s what is going to make a change. People are going to go, “God, is this worth all the aggravation?” You know ... I really think it’s going to get better, and I can tell you that I know from behind the scenes, people in the evangelical church are talking. They’re saying, “We have to modify our positions. This is ridiculous.” So, it will be slow coming, but I firmly believe it will be changing.
Scheer: And also, I think, to kind of counter James’ point, I think the hard-liners are going to start having to go away. I mean lots of people are lapsed religious people or they go to church once a week. I think the hard-liners, maybe that Ted Haggard is part of, they will say, “This is obviously an issue that we are going to lose on.”
Jones: Well, and you know what, look at the age of people like James Dobson and Pat Robertson.
Scheer: They’ll be dead soon.
Jones: And we just got Jerry Falwell who just went on. So that old era is going to be leaving us pretty soon. And are there a few people waiting in line to take over? Yes, but there will never be people quite like these guys. And that’s where I think the change is really going to happen once they’re gone.
Harris: Mike Jones is his name. Be sure to pick up a copy of “I Had to Say Something,” the new book by Mike Jones. Mike, thanks for spending time with us.
Jones: I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Harris: For Josh Scheer, this is James Harris. And this has been Truthdig.
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