Most of us go to church expecting to learn how to better ourselves, and to learn it from the men and women who know best. No matter our religion or which church we attend, we expect that the leaders whom we sit and listen to know what they’re talking about and can take us on the right path to the life or afterlife that we aspire to. We also expect, however, that these men and women can teach us, because, in large part, they preach to us the lives that they lead. Unfortunately, events of the past few weeks have led us to believe otherwise.
According to CNN.com, on November 2, 2006, male prostitute Mike Jones accused nationally-known pastor Ted Haggard of paying for sexual acts for the past three years. Haggard was the lead pastor and founder of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and was also the president of the 30-million strong National Association of Evangelicals. He was widely known for his stance against homosexuality, condemning it as a sin, and was definitely a famous face in the world of Christianity.
So what does this mean for Christians around the world? First, it places a hypocritical image on the face of Christianity. It tarnishes the world’s view of the followers of Christ, and more importantly, it damages the face of Christ Himself.
Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything Haggard teaches, I do think preaching something so strongly and then committing those very actions, places Christians in a bad light. Regardless of one’s opinion of the morality of homosexuality, it’s sad that a person of Haggard’s stature, with the kind of influence he has on the Christian community, would do something that so grossly violates his own supposed beliefs and morals and the very thing that he preaches to his thousands of devoted followers.
But should this hypocrisy reflect on Christ, Christians or only Haggard? Just like the rest of the world, Christians are human. Those who preach perfection, in my opinion, are misinformed Christians. It states in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It’s built into Christianity that nobody is perfect, and yes, Haggard, according to his own beliefs, made a mistake, but should the rest of Christianity be judged for it?
No. Haggard has admitted to wrongdoing and even resigned from the very positions that gave him the power and authority that he so badly abused. Often, people are willing to judge an entire religion from a select few that don’t always represent what the religion actually encompasses. When thinking of a Christian, the first thought that comes to mind should not be the hypocrisy that Haggard demonstrated but the teachings of Jesus Christ Himself. These represent the ideals Christians aspire to, though, because they are still human, they sometimes fail.
Kaitlin Snook is a junior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.