Pastor Ted, Family Man
Everything we need to know about the character of Ted Haggard is revealed by the mode of his denials ("No sex") and the medium of his admission ("Bought meth, didn't use it"). Haggard rolls down his car window and conducts a fricking news conference, discussing the details of what he did, didn't do, shouldn't have done, ought to have known. He does this with his wife and son sitting in the car, clearly mortified while the guy they call husband and dad — smilingly, chattily, smarmily — prattles on for reporters gathered in familiar locust-swarm formation. James Dobson says Pastor Ted's friends need to pray for him. No. His friends need to take Haggard to the edge of town and give him a very good beating — head, neck, you know the drill. Make that a good stoning. If we don't start using the Old Testament again, people will begin thinking of it as second-rate fiction rather than as a bountiful source of remarkably useful guidelines (I think of them as "tips") when nothing less than smiting will do. My proposed punishment is for the family news briefing from the car, not specifically what he did or didn't do involving sex and drugs. That stuff is conventional hypocrisy. He can go to a "treatment" center for that. Let him bunk up with Foley. I trust that they can put their heads together and remember the name of the childhood priest who's responsible. Is there a parent reading these words who doesn't believe that Haggard's use of his family in this way puts him beyond the pale of sympathy? But I'm a reasonable guy, open to compromise. Maybe Hillary was right — perhaps it really does take a village. Ted Haggard for village idiot. Let's start there and commence stoning only if he makes his family sit through another session of narcissistic self-justification. And the smile. Dude, wipe that sickening grin off your face or the gathering of rocks begins.