Friday, November 03, 2006

Ted Haggard and our Donnie Darko

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So Ted Haggard, ex-president of the National Association of Evangelicals and staunch moral authority revered by many, has admitted to purchasing illicit drugs (and subsequently "throwing them away"!). A man taken with the Bible's interpretation of homosexuality, he is also vehemently denying accusations of nailing a male escort every month for the last 3+ years.

There's something to be said for comparing Ted Haggard's morality and recent fall from grace to that of Jim Cunningham, the adored motivational speaker from indie-film Donnie Darko, whom is exposed as a pedophile. Cunningham is seen rattling on in educational videos and school events about coming to terms with fear, he and his methods generally well-received by the town. But when it is discovered that Cunningham is a victim himself of fear with his collection of pedophilic material, the town responds with mixed feelings of anger and denial. Just as his indie counterpart, Haggard is exposed as a hypocrite, in the sense that he has until now preached from a pedestal on morality and espoused views that homosexuality is a “sin” and “devastating for the children of our nation and for the future of Western civilization”, but in the end cannot escape his own character and drug abuse.

Haggard’s Church and followers are likely feeling angry and hurt after these confessions and allegations, as they should. But they—and we—should also continue to show understanding for each other, especially for Snort-It-Up Ted. Let us all understand that, despite moral views, we all are capable of doing these deeds: sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, all of them. No one is completely impervious to temptation, so why then do we dream up unrealistic visions of those we look up to? Why do we let our ethics be dictated by these figures?

We need to stand up to the Jim Cunninghams and the Ted Haggards of our time and remove them from their soap boxes, and to do that it is imperative we all continue to think for ourselves and own the understanding that we are all human and share many of the same desires.

The next time another Haggard straddles the high ground and bemoans a dearth of morality in our society, why don’t we all reply as Donnie did:

Jim Cunningham: Son... DO YOU SEE THIS? This is an Anger Prisoner. A textbook example. DO YOU SEE THE FEAR, PEOPLE? This boy is scared to death of the truth. Son, it breaks my heart to say this, but I believe you are a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all the wrong places...

Donnie: You're right, actually. I am pretty- I'm, I'm pretty troubled and I'm, I'm pretty confused. But I... and I'm afraid. Really, really afraid. Really afraid. But I... I... I think you're the fucking Antichrist.

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