This post is not about religion, the clergy, or politics. In fairness, it’s not even about animal welfare. This post is about abject absurdity.
Remember Ted Haggard, the esteemed reverend and president of the National Association of Evangelicals who fell from grace when he was caught in a compromising situation with a male prostitute? The scandal cost him his position, his reputation, and what seemed like at the time, his career.
Now, four years later, Haggard is preaching again – and building a growing congregation of disciples in a community about an hour south of Denver, Colorado. Fair enough: this man has as much right as the next guy to seek forgiveness and followers. But to anyone considering joining his flock, check out Haggard’s latest comments:
“Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football. Ted Haggard needs to be leading a church.”
I’m no religious scholar, so maybe a Woods-Vick-Haggard trinity is not as unholy as it sounds. But from a PR standpoint, how is aligning yourself with an adulterer and an animal torturer – the latter of whom has shown little sign of repentance – a good idea? And while I’m there, why draw parallels between throwing a football and devoting yourself to a higher power?
My moral issue, however, is not with any of that. I attend church as often as I do football games — never. But I begrudge no one who lives a life dedicated to either. My issue – and you knew it was coming – is with what “Michael Vick needs.”
Michael Vick needs to understand the horrific and terrible suffering he caused. Michael Vick needs to acknowledge his role in such cruelty. Michael Vick needs to show his remorse, if he truly is remorseful, in a more meaningful manner than appearing for ten minutes at token speaking engagements where he is welcomed and commended.
But Michael Vick no more needs to be playing football than the Unabomber needs to be building log cabins in the forest.
The absurdity does not stop there, folks. Haggard goes on to say he actually “over-repented.” What does that even mean? He threw his back out trying to atone? He banked moral points with the Lord should he ever be caught in another scandal?
Please don’t get me wrong. This is not a knock on those practicing religion as a means to doing good in the world or spreading a message of selflessness. This is a warning against those who sell snake oil, exploit decency, and align themselves with violent, sadistic, and unrepentant killers who torture animals for sport.