A while back I was having a business lunch at a sports bar in the Denver area with a close atheist friend. He’s a great guy and a very deep thinker. During lunch, he pointed at the large TV screen on the wall. It was set to a channel recapping Ted’s fall. He pointed his finger at the HD and said, “That is the reason I will not become a Christian. Many of the things you say make sense, Mike, but that’s what keeps me away.”
It was well after the story had died down, so I had to study the screen to see what my friend was talking about. I assumed he was referring to Ted’s hypocrisy. “Hey man, not all of us do things like that,” I responded. He laughed and said, “Michael, you just proved my point. See, that guy said sorry a long time ago. Even his wife and kids stayed and forgave him, but all you Christians still seem to hate him. You guys can’t forgive him and let him back into your good graces. Every time you talk to me about God, you explain that he will take me as I am. You say he forgives all my failures and will restore my hope, and as long as I stay outside the church, you say God wants to forgive me. But that guy failed while he was one of you, and most of you are still vicious to him.” Then he uttered words that left me reeling: “You Christians eat your own. Always have. Always will.”
The Wayne Wilson comment was also quite interesting:
Painful, shallow article. If Michael has lost repect from parishioners, or friends, for defending Haggard, it’s probably because he has demonstated such an appalling lack of discenment. I don’t know anyone in ministry who hated Ted, or dismissed him as a brother because of his sins with drugs, prostitution and lying. It was the aftermath. The foolish comments about his “cure.” Breaking his agreement with his accountability group. The utter disregard for ministerial standards. His weird TV appearances playing the victim. “Wife Swap.” Starting his new church for the “wounded” where no one would ever feel the weight of God’s holiness. The church at large is suddenly “loveless” because it finds all this strange. His recent conversion to accepting same-sex marriage in society. It’s an endless self-indictment of a man who has lost any sense of propriety. Leadership? No. Humble service somewhere in the service of Christ. Yes…of course…if he can just stay out of the limelight.