Homophobic leader George Alan Rekers’ life has become a living hell over the past few days, thanks to the revelation that he’s been hiring gay rent boys. Now that he’s been disgraced, and resigned from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality’s executive board, Rekers probably feels pretty down in the dumps. Perhaps he can find some sickening inspiration in another fallen leader, Ted Haggard.
Once one of the Evangelical movement’s most vocal leaders, Haggard’s been lying low since 2006, when male escort Mike Jones came out to reveal the evangelical leader’s gay sex life. Haggard’s church, New Life Ministries, rapidly ejected him and sent him into exile in Arizona, making him vow never to return to Colorado Springs. Well, Haggard’s since returned and seems poised to reignite his clerical career.
Haggard and his wife have been slowly dipping back into the Evangelical scene. In 2008, after moving back to Colorado, having prayer groups at their home, which proved too small for the enthusiastic flocks. Now the Haggards have incorporated a new church, the St. James Church. Though Haggard claims the church was incorporated simply for accounting purposes, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of expanding, and told the Colorado Springs Gazette, “Sometime, somewhere we will do some type of ministry.” That’s a frightening prospect.
In announcing his NARTH resignation, Rekers insisted once again that he’s not gay, and never has been. Rather, he’s resigning to fight all the “defamatory” rumors. If he were less maniacal, and wiser, Rekers would pull a Haggard: disappear for a bit, reemerge and start at your evil deeds once again. While that’s good for Haggard and his ilk, it doesn’t bode well for progressives.
I like to think that the United States is reaching a place where anti-gay sermon and politics will become a thing of the past. And no doubt that time will come. Haggard’s reemergence indicates, however, that evangelic social circles can’t see hypocrisy when it stares them in the face. They’re not learning their lesson, which means they’re not learning how dangerous and incendiary self-deluded men like Haggard and Rekers can be. And their delusion is shared by the masses, who are too blind to recognize charlatans, a fact that makes this movement all the more dangerous. Until these groups come to their senses and stop giving hypocrites a free ride, gay rights will never be safe. And people will continue to make a buck on lies. God bless ignorant America, right?