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ISSUE #110
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Features

ArrowThe 10 Most Ridiculous Things about the Midterm Elections
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Worst Show on Television
An election night diary
Matt Taibbi

ArrowFEELINÊ HAGGARD
Forget the gay hooker; was Pastor Ted a tweaker?
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowCrush, Kill, Destroy
Screw bipartisanship; it’s time for revenge.
Allan Uthman

Local BEAST

ArrowCult Classic
Pseudoscience and Psychedelics in the Church of Scientology
Ian Murphy

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Terrorist Emboldener

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Borat, Saw III, Flags of Our Fathers, The Santa Clause 3

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Tool Box, Another Einstein Weighs In, Army Ad's Still Got It, A Real American Hero and more

FEELINÊ HAGGARD

continued - page 2

Haggard's boundless energy often dominated profiles of his New Life Church. A cover story in Christianity Today repeatedly describes Haggard as "ebullient" and "charismatic," and quotes a colleague who marveled: "Th[e] stuff just flows out of Ted." Words do "flow out" of some people. Especially when they're jacked up on speed.

The creation story of Haggard's New Life Church also has echoes of a speed-fueled start-up project. In the early days he sat around his garage building podiums out of buckets. He ran around Colorado Springs recruiting, talking to anyone who would listen. And when Haggard wasn't smiling—by conjecture, when he was coming down—he heard the voices, saw the demons. A May 2005 Harper's profile describes how "evil forces" would call Haggard late at night and threaten to kill him.

Then there is this litany of classic tweaker behavior, including an actual phone book activity:

[Haggard] assigned everyone in the [early] church names from the phone book they were to pray for. He sent teams to pray in front of the homes of supposed witches—in one month, ten out of fifteen of his targets put their houses on the market. His congregation “prayer-walked” nearly every street of the city.

If Haggard was indeed a speed freak, and I think he was, it was an understandable drug of choice. Every weekend, in front of thousands of swaying, chanting cultists, he had to entertain. It must have been draining—and dull as hell, despite all the heaven talk. Living within a short drive of a city known for its fine cut glass, why wouldn't Haggard, a hard-working father of five, chip away at the stuff to keep the energy level up? And if his wife wasn't up to it, why shouldn't he find someone to help take advantage of all those nerve clusters, placed there by Haggard's Lord Father, designed after His Own Perfect Image?

The reason, of course, is Jesus-drenched, hip-hop hooray hypocrisy, the currency that sustains the economy of the religious right in America. Haggard isn't allowed his pleasures because he spent so much of his life trying to deny them and much else besides to other people who were actually honest with themselves and others. And nobody likes a hypocrite, especially Mike Jones, the former hooker who deserves a decent book deal and who better not have accepted a pay-off to destroy all those hours of James Dobson choke-ball footage.

It's hard not to suspect the penthouse of the evangelical skyscraper is one big gay bathhouse, with Dobson in the center pool. It's probably only a matter of time before Tony Perkins, the Guy Smiley nitwit running the Dobson spin-off Family Research Council, gets caught in his own set of gay-hooker headlights. It's possible he even enjoyed the occasional double massage with his good friend Pastor Ted in Denver, while the two plotted how best to roll back the latest New England state court decision. In his election-week Family Research Council note to members, Perkins blew a note of mock-disgust at Haggard's "dark and repulsive" behavior. The italics are actually in the Perkins original.

Who put this cock in my mouth?!

It's true Haggard wasn't as bad as the D.C.-based Perkins, or his Colorado neighbor and spiritual mentor Dobson. Although a proud Republican and a self-professed leader of the religious right, Haggard was a relative moderate in that world. He understood that the environment was in serious trouble and that the Bible offered grounds for "Creation Care"; he claimed to admire the social gospel traditions in black churches; and he even lauded Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court finally decriminalized sodomy in the state of Texas. Apparently Haggard's hypocrisy had bounds, after all. 

I have my doubts, however, that the same could be said for his meth habit.

register your indignation here

 

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