November 03, 2006
Speaking of closets....
Is Ted Haggard the latest to be "outed"? I don't think so.
I don't think the word "outed" really applies, because despite the rather gay looking picture (obvious enough for Glenn Reynolds to notice) I seriously doubt Haggard will ever say he's "out." From the perspective of his supporters, it is understandable that they would want to pray for him. From that perspective, it is also understandable that as long as he does not declare himself to be gay, he is not. And if he is not, then can he be said to be out?
This touches on the huge difference between Ted Haggard and the outed gay Republicans. While the latter are gay; they're generally outed because they were discreet about it, and the hypocrisy charge is leveled at them for very different reasons. Haggard literally preaches against something he practices, while the crime of the outed gay Republicans is not that they preached against homosexuality, but that their employers are against gay marriage.
I don't think this is a distinction without a difference. For whatever reason, Haggard is truly ashamed of his homosexuality. For the most part, the gay Republicans just don't want to make an issue of it.
The reason I'm writing this is because I expect people to lump Haggard in with the gay Republicans, and it simply isn't logical.
Beyond that, I think there's something else going on, and it goes to the heart of what I have never been able to understand.
There's no live and let live with people like him. Homosexuality is something to be fought personally -- and not just within oneself. It is something that must be fought in other people, even total strangers. Why anyone would care what another person does with his genitalia is something I will never understand. But that's one of my blind spots. I don't understand it because I don't think or behave that way. As I've tried to explain countless times, I see sexual intercourse as a matter between the people having or wanting to have it. The only person who has any reasonable or logical right to worry about my choice of sex partners would be someone who has or wants to have sex with me (or, of course, someone with whom I might want to have sex). But this runs afoul of the communitarian view that everyone's business is everyone else's collective business, and while I have tried to understand this view, I just don't feel it internally, and I doubt I ever will.
Beyond this, there is personal disgust towards homosexuality. While I see homosexuality as an undeniable part of nature (even though it is no more reproductive than masturbation), I recognize that it's normal to be disgusted by that which is personally repellent. (I hate the idea of eating liver, for example, and I would gag and possibly vomit if made to eat it.)
However, there are many people who are not turned on by homosexuality who nonetheless do not find it as viscerally repellent as others. While it might not be fear in the usual sense, I've likened it to the phenomenon of people who recoil over spiders or snakes. You either have that kind of reaction or you don't. Sure, there are people who love snakes and keep them as pets (just as there are people who run away screaming from them) but most people don't have strong feelings.
What makes a strong feeling?
Should society be guided by strong feelings of this nature?
Should there be a culture war between people who have strong feelings?
Where does this leave the people who don't?
Is there a right to be left alone?
MORE: I realize that I have not addressed religious feelings. But right there, I'm running into a logical quagmire.
Can a religious belief fairly be called a feeling? If a religious text prohibits eating certain things (or engaging in certain sex acts), is that really the same thing as feelings that might arise from doing or refraining from doing the prohibited activities?
I hope this doesn't sound condescending or judgmental, but I see other people's religious views the way I see other aspects of their personal lives. It's none of my business unless they make it my business.
posted by Eric on 11.03.06 at 09:53 AM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood