Pagan Family Values

It’s unchristian to enjoy someone’s discomfort when they’re caught practicing what they did not preach, but I’m a Pagan so — ha,ha,ha,ha,ha.

The Rev. Ted Haggard, recent president of the National Association of Evangelicals, is trying to explain his relationship with a male prostitute who has apparently saved some phone messages. His excuses — I mean, explanations, seem to define how a family-values Christian stays within the boundaries of right behavior. For example, when the Christian buys some drugs, he doesn’t take them, which would be sinful, he just looks at them I guess. It all seems strange, but I thought I could get some insight by comparing and contrasting Rev. Haggard’s type of Christian behavior with my own Pagan lifestyle.

Rev. Haggard

• Crusades against the right of gay people to legally marry
• While away on business, far from the wife and kids, gets some guy’s name and pays him to come to a motel for a massage.
• Doesn’t drink, smoke or swear
• Buys some crystal meth because he is curious or tempted, but doesn’t take the drug
• Has enough cash to indulge in this weird behavior
• Thinks Pagans are going to hell
• Knows The Truth, and tries to convert the rest of us

My Pagan Self

• Wishes they would hurry up and legalize gay marriage in Rhode Island so I could get invited to some swanky weddings
• Has gone to certified massage therapists occasionally, but it’s kind of expensive so not too often
• Likes wine, pretty tolerant of people who smoke, swears sometimes
• Wouldn’t know where to buy drugs even if tempted
• Goes to gallery openings to score some free wine and cheese
• Thinks Christians are making things pretty hellish for Pagans
• Just tries to behave decently, and do a little bit to clean up the mess we are leaving to our children.

What we can learn from the sad story of Rev. Haggard is that abstinence is the gateway to crystal meth abuse. Also, if you need a massage, it is wisest to find a licensed massage therapist. They will not sell you illegal drugs and some are covered by medical insurance.

If you are a Christian, and you think this is sarcastic and unfair, let me assure you that you are probably not the right kind of Christian. There are millions of Christians who are spending their money on paying bills and feeding their kids, and who sometimes go into a quiet place and speak in the words of the Publican, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.� Most of them are going to hell. Yes, I have it from people who are more sanctified than the rest of us that all you Catholics, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Quakers, and tons of other people who think they are Christian don’t have real relationship with God. Also, you need to send more money to the National Association of Evangelicals.

This may be shocking — finding out you are hell fodder, but it’s not all bad. Think of an eternity in Heaven. An eternity with Rev. Haggard (he’s forgiven, you’re not), Rev. Fallwell, President Bush, Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly, and a whole bunch of snake handlers.

Down below, although it is too hot, we have Gandhi and Oscar Wilde, Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin, most of the Founding Fathers, The Buddha, Marilyn Monroe, Einstein and Truman Capote. Plus, we’ll have a lot of Quakers to do conflict resolution when people get into arguments, like about the meaning of democracy or how to sing the blues. The sanctified, according to the Bible, will be looking down and gloating over our suffering. Or will they be envying our party?

It’s kind of sad about Rev. Haggard, because he and his family are really suffering now. According to the New York Times he had tried to be more moderate and socially responsible than the evangelical leadership allowed him to be. He might have done some good things toward facilitating the Christian values of justice and tolerance if he had gotten the support. Instead, he went along with the Christian Right hate agenda until the contradictions in his own life took him down.

I think the Pagan philosophy has a great deal to offer our society. Humility and skepticism, and a regard for human beings as an end, not a means. Even simple civility and fairness would be a good start. And for all of you who think you are perfected, remember to take the beam out of your own eye ( Luke 6. 41,42) before you try to take a speck out of someone else’s. A wise man once said that, and it’s good advice.

5 thoughts on “Pagan Family Values

  1. Great post, Nancy. I reacted similarly to hearing of Haggard’s fall from grace, an odd mixture of aha! & oy vey! (I’m Pagan AND Jewish.) It’s more than a little painful to watch this poor sap try to explain the meth to his madness, while his evangelical peers seek cover behind filmy curtains of sanctimony. There but for the grace of whomever go they.

    See you in the Underworld…

  2. Nancy Green,

    well a name such as Green suggests Pagan or Jewish ancestry or Wicca.

    Nancy, are you the same tall person with colorful abode who used to watch my son when he was small? OY, I I entrust my son in the home of a Pagan??? Well, I always suspected your spouse (a RISD grad and painter and gasp union member) had Atheistic leanings…

    Great post. I feel sorry for Haggard’s children and spouse. They must be resilient, however, to have tolerated him for this long.

    Nancy, my old friend or a new one, WELL WRITTEN! xoxoxo Nomi (Quaking Jewish Pantheist)

  3. How to turn heaven into hell.

    …you need to send more money to the National Association of Evangelicals.

    Down below, although it is too hot, we have Gandhi and Oscar Wilde, Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin, most of the Founding Fathers, The Buddha, Marilyn Monroe, Einstein and Truman Capote.

    Down below we have Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones too. And they are something no self-respecting heaven would ever be without. 😉

    I was driving home early sunday morning through bakersfield
    Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
    And the preacher said, you know you always have the
    Lord by your side

    And I was so pleased to be informed of this that I ran
    Twenty red lights in his honor
    Thank you jesus, thank you lord
    —Far Away Eyes

  4. I have always wondered that when a religious person errs we are told to not judge in case someone might look at our behavior and judge us. Yet Channel surfing I see Religious people judging left and right judging other people the difference is these people are not of their brand religion. So we don’t judge the clergy, the lay people, the person next to me in the pew if he is in the “in” crowd at church. But it always the judgement that the lack true belief and faith in the right God is what causes atheistist, agnostics, pagan and others to err. So we must raise money to convert them and buy Lear jets I always wondered what the church did before the invention of the corporate jet and the Armani suit.

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