(Yet Another) Ted Haggard Incident
Except this time, it doesn’t actually involve Ted Haggard himself, just someone like him. This past Sunday, Grace Chapel pastor Paul Barnes tearfully resigned as head of the evangelical church after admitting to having homosexual relations. Unlike Ted Haggard, there appears to be no outside pressure to evoke this revelation; it seems, rather, that the admittance came out of the need to clear a conscious.
Just one week after Ted Haggard’s media frenzy-inducing termination, Mr. Barnes preached a sermon entitled “Integrity, Sin, and Grace”, in which he spoke about the “masks… we all wear”.
How ironic that he should be talking about himself, as well. Barnes makes the second pastor of a large evangelical church to either be ousted or resign from their post due to homosexual relations, and both men hail from Colorado.
These revelations come on the heals of many years of speculation of molestation and homosexuality within the Catholic church. To date, I have not found anyone speaking on the correlation between these two occurrences (between the Catholics and the Evangelicals), but it seems to me that the thing which each sector speaks down about the most tends to cause the most problems:
Roman Catholicism requires all clerics to be celibate, even those priests who may be married and are converting from other denominations or religions. I highlight the word “clerics” here to make the point that being a cleric in the Roman Catholic church is to hold an office. A single, celibate priest may choose to marry (and become un-celibate), but he must give up being a “cleric”, that is to say he is forced to resign from office. Appointments to the priesthood are permanent unless they are revoked. However, the point remains that the majority of the Priests are required to be celibate. I should also note that any advancement within the hierarchy of the priesthood requires a priest to be celibate. As you can imagine, this places untold stresses, especially on younger priests who are just entering the priesthood. In today’s world of shorter skirts, higher heels, and more skin, being celibate becomes a challenge. Of course, this doesn’t explain the rash of harassment and molestation charges by young men (or former young men) against Catholic priests, but my guess is that the root of that issue lies somewhere within the celibacy requirements set in place by the catholic church.
Likewise, evangelicals are leading the charge against homosexuality in the United States today. They are the primary voice against same-sex marriages and any sort of legal acknowledgment of homosexual couples; yet, in the past month, we have seen two pastors, both leading large congregations (2000+) step down due to homosexual relationships.
I’m not sure what it is, but there is something to be said about these correlations. I believe that it is not by chance, nor is it coincidence, that the issues most adamantly fought by the two most prominent segments of Christianity are quickly, and publicly, becoming their undoing.