Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sex and Money and Crime

This one's got it all.

Ted Haggard, who may or may not be the most poorly closeted gay man since Liberace, wants you to send him money. Since no church would hire him, he's enrolled in a counseling program (not getting it, mind you, but learning to give) and "won't have adequate earning power for at least two years." No real surprise -- he was always one step away from televangelism. But let's unpack the story a little.

First off, the man is not exactly an impoverished grad student. He and his wife earned $338,000 since 2006. Pocket change to a hedge-fund manager, perhaps, but by the standards of the clergy, this is an almost incredible fortune.

Second, he will be "studying" at the the Univeristy of Phoenix, an on-line degree mill catering primarily to people with jobs, who can't make time for conventional classroom study. So there's no reason he couldn't hold work while he gets a degree. (I shelved library books in college, and proofread legal documents in seminary. If he asks, I'll tell him where to send a resume.)

Third, he wants you to send your momney directly to his family or, failing that, to a charity called Families With a Mission. This group shut down operqtions in Colorado a couple of years ago, but still functions in Hawaii. It is run by a sex offender named Paul Huberty, who during his time as an Air Force lieutenant colonel was convicted of "consensual sodomy, fondling his genitals in a public area, indecent acts and adultery," and has since been convicted in Hawaii of "attempted sexual assault," both per the Denver Post.

Yeah, I'm going to send this guy money. Wouldn't you?

Perhpas best of all is this: Huberty disclaims all knowledge of Haggard, or of any effort to raise cash for his studies. So how bad does Haggard have to be that even repeat sex offenders don't want to be associated with him?

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