Bloggers on Rev. Haggard's miraculous conversion.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Feb. 7 2007 6:00 PM

Haggard the Hetero

Bloggers congratulate Rev. Ted Haggard on rediscovering women through Jesus, and they fault the Defense Department for hoarding video footage of the "friendly fire" death of a British soldier in Iraq. And it's a live-blogged Meet the Jury day for Tim Russert at the Scooter Libby trial.

Haggard the hetero: Evangelical leader Ted Haggard, who months ago admitted to "sexual immorality" and to buying methamphetamine from a gay escort, claims that after three weeks of therapy, he's "completely heterosexual." The saved reverend was so impressed with his conversional couch trip that he and his wife, Gayle, have decided to pursue master's degrees in psychology. Tom Cruise doesn't know what to think.

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John C. at Gay Spirituality & Culture writes: "The whole situation seems quite similar to that of the Apostle Paul's own journey to Christianity. Paul started his adult life as a Jewish Pharisee named Saul who persecuted the early Christian church mercilessly. Then, according to the Book of Acts, on the road to Damascus, he had a conversion experience in which Jesus appeared to and spoke to him. He changed his name to Paul and became one of the most important and influential missionaries and theologians in the history of Christianity. Unfortunately, Ted Haggard has chosen to let his similarity to Paul stop at the persecution."

At What's Left in the Church, "former Progressive Christian" Geoffrey Kruse-Safford uses the Kinsey scale to determine just how hetero-flexible Haggard is: " I am a firm believer in the 'continuum' theory of human sexual desire, and that all of us, from time to time, might feel an urge to explore avenues we might not normally consider. … Unfortunately for Haggard, that outlet was denied him in youth, so once he was an adult with a certain amount of freedom and power, he abused his position to the detriment of his family, his ministry, his honor, his integrity, and potentially his health. I do not doubt that, more than likely, Haggard is primarily or at least preferentially heterosexual."

Dissatisfied high-church Lutheran Dwight P. at Versus Populum snarks: "It would likely be a bad example for the 14,000 members of New Life congregation and the National Association of Evangelicals to have ever before their eyes a human being who must struggle with sin and malfeasance and the consequences thereof. And God forbid that they actually be called on to understand the struggle and perhaps to forgive."

And gay conservative Andrew Sullivan thinks that even by Christian fundamentalist standards, Haggard is full of it: "Let's put it this way: even the quacks behind reparative therapy for homosexuals do not believe a few weeks of therapy will do the trick. (A few years and you can function heterosexually without wanting to kill yourself.) And so the psychological and spiritual abuse that Haggard has imposed on others and is now imposing on himself continues for another cycle of denial and pathology."

Read more about Haggard's supposed heterosexual conversion.

Unfriendly delay: In 2003, two American A-10 warplanes accidentally bombed a British convoy in Iraq, killing a British soldier in the process. The U.S. Defense Department initially refused to make public the cockpit video and audio footage of the event but they've finally done so, much to the anguished (if unnecessarily prolonged) relief of the families involved.

Former Conservative candidate for Parliament Iain Dale believes the Pentagon should have released the tape sooner: "I am a strong supporter of our American Alliance but sometimes the US Govenrment can be its own worst enemy. … Had they … let the Coroner have the access to the video he wanted, there would have been none of this unfortunate press coverage."

Ditto, says fellow righty Iain Murray at the National Review's The Corner. Murray relays the speculation that the Blair government leaked footage of the accidental bombing, but if the Rumsfeld Pentagon originally disclosed it, "That would have obviated the leak, which has contributed to a rise in anti-American sentiment.  What we have at the moment is the worst of both worlds."

Are the pilots to blame? Not necessarily, concludes British blogger Moose on the Loose: "[T]hey may have been stupid & ignorant of some combat arena procedure, coupled with conflicting orders and poor communications with air controllers on the ground … They do seem to have shown genuine remorse. It's the governments which need bringing to justice, and why should American forces have immunity against prosecution in foreign courts … this i cannot fathom."

Read more about the friendly-fire footage.

Russert in the hot seat: Tim Russert testified at the Scooter Libby trial Wednesday, where, as expected, the NBC' Meet the Press host said he didn't discuss Valerie Plame's CIA employment with Libby in 2003. Plenty of bloggers have transcribed the full proceedings, even if these fail to shed new light on an old scandal.

Liberal Jeralyn at TalkLeft wonders if Russert will be the true capper for the prosecution's case: "There is another wrinkle with Russert the defense may try to exploit, that Russert and Fitz had a deal whereby Russert was only asked questions about Russert'ss side of the conversation. In other words, he was questioned about what he told Libby, not what Libby told him."

Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute observes that Russert can only lose the case for the prosecution since his previous testimony "*MAY* have been deliberately ambiguous." Maguire continues: "Obviously, Mr. Russert could have *HYPOTHETICALLY* said to Libby 'All the reporters know that Wilson's wife is at the CIA and sent him on this trip' without being aware of her name or that she was an 'operative'. If Russert rocks the court with the news that, although he did not discuss Valerie Plame with Libby he may have said something about Joe Wilson's wife, well, Special Counsel Fitzgerald may be laughed out of the courtroom and jurors will be left wondering about the credibility of other journalists, specifically Matt Cooper and Judy Miller."

Read more about Russert's day in court. ReadSlate's coverage of the Libby trial.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.

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