No, not Ted Haggard. Surely you didn't think there is only one mega-church evangelical pastor in Colorado who's been outed as gay in the last several weeks. Our latest hypocrite goes by the name of Paul Barnes:
In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, the senior pastor of a thriving evangelical megachurch in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit.
A month ago, the Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Doug las County preached to his 2,100-member congregation about integrity and grace in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard drugs-and-gay-sex scandal.
As I said before, there is something really, really rotten in the heart of Christian fundamentalism. I'm not sure entirely what the cause of it is, but if this case is any indication, good old fashioned repression might go a long way towards explaining things:
I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy," Barnes said in the 32- minute video, which church leaders permitted The Denver Post to view. "... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away." [...]
Sitting cross-legged in jeans and an open-collar shirt, Barnes spoke in his video about evolving feelings growing up in a firm moral family: from confused little boy to adolescent racked with self-loathing and guilt.
In their only talk about sex, Barnes said his father took him on a drive and talked about what he would do if a "fag" approached him.
Barnes thought, "'Is that how you'd feel about me?' It was like a knife in my heart, and it made me feel even more closed."
To the degree that fundigelical gay-hating causes people to repress their sexual desires like this, it's a problem of their own making. Had Barnes been able to open himself up and candidly speak about his condition, even if he still thought it was wrong, he wouldn't be today's front page news. I feel bad for the guy, but the blame lies primarily with the attitudes about homosexuality that he has helped to perpetuate.