Everyone's talking about the Rev. Haggard scandal, so it got me thinking . . .
I've never been able to come to terms with how many fundamentalists still do what they want, regardless of what they say, in secret. Maybe I'm spoiled or lucky or just managed to find a way to balance who I am with who I want to be perceived as. I'm not sure.
I haven't read Haggard's letter, but perhaps it's because I don't want to feel sorry for him. I want him to suffer for persecuting the people he's been associating with in dark alleys for years. I also think it's a bit easier -for lack of a better word- for women to “choose” a gay lifestyle. It doesn't even have to be sexual with women sometimes; sometimes we just want female companionship and someone who understands us without the pressure to conform to male expectations. I've found that a good 90% of men from my generation and younger absolutely expect shaved legs/armpits, no more than a “landing strip” “down there,” g-strings and thongs, and hair, makeup, and clothes all a certain way. I've been shocked to learn that certain guys have never seen a woman naked who wasn't seriously groomed.
But in a way men face as many pressures. It's not as easy for a man to be gay because it's not “hot” when it's two dudes, only two chicks. In other words, it's only acceptable when it turns the average straight man on. I also firmly believe most homophobes are closeted gay men. I know it's not fair to say it and that sexuality is almost never black or white, but always grey. I don't know where Haggard falls on the Kinsey scale, but my guess is that he is and always has been gay and hates himself for it so much he's fought against openly gay lifestyles and relationships.
I know it's all much deeper and more complicated than that. His family, his upbringing, his religion. I'm sure none of these things have done much to create a healthy, happy environment.
There are two things about fundamentalist Christians that I don't think I will ever understand: why so many of them continue to preach against what they know to be true about themselves, and why the “moderate” ones think it's okay to do whatever they want. I say, either follow the rules laid out for you, or don't say you subscribe to them only when you want it to apply to you.
Much easier said than done, of course.