Salon.Com contributor Lauren Sandler
calls Haggard the "most important evangelical" in the U.S.
I've never heard of Haggard, who has led the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals and advised President Bush, but his quick resignation and the cancellation of a press conference organized in his defense make him look guilty as sin.
Update: Haggard privately admitted to some indiscretions, according to the acting senior pastor of his church. Comments
Haggard looks a bit vacant-eyed in that interview with Dawkins, and the way he curls his lips makes him look almost as if he were sneering, even though his words themselves are mostly equable. This guy advises George W. Bush? No good can possibly come from that. It puts me in mind of Nancy Reagan's consultations with an astrologer--another minister of Babylon, though I'd bet that Bush got better advice. I'm surprised, however, that Dawkins seems to forget his professional demeanor, and appears to be personally involved--even emotional (as when he sallies to defend evolution).
Surely reasonable people might agree that Dawkins could have done better than to compare Haggard and his 'sermon' to Goebbels and the Nuremberg Rallies. Frankly, I would have expected Haggard to have taken more umbrage at such an egregious, provocative comparison.
The whole sordid tale has all the makings of either a really bad, or a really good, country song.
Surely reasonable people might agree that Dawkins could have done better than to compare Haggard and his 'sermon' to Goebbels and the Nuremberg Rallies.
I thought that was over-the-top too. Dawkins also plays the delicate flower bit at the end, as if he wasn't loving the fact that Haggard lost his composure and chased him off the property. The first rule of the Michael Moore school of filmmaking is to get kicked out of the place.
I did not see anything unbecoming of Haggard in that interview until he lost his cool towards the end when he told Dawkins to vamoose from his property. He came across to me as a no holds barred preacher he could stand and defend his believes against a well researched, well prepared and highly knowledgeable journalist. Most preachers would prefer not to confront Dawkins. It is unfortunate what I am hearing lately. I've never heard about him before until this latest incident.
If the evangelical followers truly understood where the bible came from and how it was assembled hundreds of years after the death of the man Jesus by a group of religious leaders seeking to protect their power base and how this group was and is the Catholic Church, a religious body they now mock as a cult, then they might see that they also are one of the practicing "Cults of Jesus." But to question matters this deeply involves challenging the pastor or religious body, which is never tolerated in a cult. Doing so thus brands any such individual as a trouble maker possessed by demons or Satan himself.
Yes I agree that Haggard's followers and multitudes of others are being spoon fed a bronze age fear based cult diet and being subjugated or coerced to not being allowed to think for themselves, with the consequence of challenging their faith being a loss of support (financial, business, emotional, spiritual) from family and community, and of course the fear of spending eternity in the fictional place called Hell with the fallen angel they call the Devil.
This messianic/cult perspective/illusion born out of our dualistic western heritage is one that is ripe for picking and discarding into the rotten fruit basket of history.
Love and Peace, Namaste
Vince aka Doc Kunda
The Urban Shaman
Dare To Be Different, Dare To Dream!
What's Wrong With a Little Ecstatic Spontaneity
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