This is an open letter to Rev. Ted Haggard, the leader of the 30 million strong National Association of Evangelicals, who has admitted to homosexuality and drug abuse.
Dear Rev. Haggard,
First of all let me assure you that this letter is written with all humility and concern. Pundits are calling you a hypocrite for your anti-homosexual preaching and politics, and you have called yourself a liar and deceiver. Such labeling gets us nowhere, and I won’t indulge in it.
Lots of us who preach do not practice, and if we are sincere and honest with ourselves the mismatch between what we say and what we do causes us great pain. I suspect your use of meth was your way of masking that pain.
Secondly, let me assure you that being gay is no sin, and God will not punish you for it. The sin is hiding your true self, and the punishment is having to live a lie every day of your life. But God has given you an opportunity to redeem yourself, not through self-recrimination, but through self-revelation.
Reverend, you can make a huge difference in people’s lives. You can tell your fellow evangelicals the truth: you didn’t choose to be gay; you were born that way. God made you that way, just as God has done for 10% of humanity.
You can tell your church that you are gay and that God loves you. You can tell your church that you are the way God made you and wants you to be, and that you are entitled to God’s love, and the love of your fellow Christians, and the love of a good man if that is what you choose.
Yes, you owe your wife and children a terrible apology, and they may never forgive you, but the greater tragedy is that you did not have the courage to tell the truth and live out the life God offered you as a loving gay man of God.
This is the gift God is offering you now. Speak to your church and your fellow evangelicals. Tell them that God loves you, and that the only mistake you made was living a lie, a lie demanded by your church’s homophobia, and not by God. It is the lie not the homosexuality that God condemns. Tell them it is time to end the lying. Invite homosexuals to let God love them as God made them. Challenge your church to love them as well.
If you take refuge in self-condemnation you are failing God, your church, and yourself. Ask forgiveness from your family, your church, and your God not only for the mistakes you made, the mistakes so many would make in the same situation, but for not having the courage to be who you are. Be who you are, Reverend. Be who God made you to be.