There’s been a rash of people getting caught up in gay and/or sex scandals lately. Specifically:
August 27: Larry Craig, Republican Senator from Idaho and one of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s top Senate supporters, was caught trying to have sex in an airport bathroom.
August 8: Young Republican National Federation President under investigation for sexual assault on sleeping man
August 7: Bob Allen (Republican in the Florida House of Representatives and co-chairman of McCain’s Florida campaign) gets caught offering a man $20 to perform oral sex
Sept 29, 2006: Mark Foley gets caught trying to sleep with young boys who worked as interns.
Here’s a video of Ted Haggard (recorded about six months before his gay sex scandal exploded): “We’ve decided the Bible is the Word of God. We don’t have to have a general assembly about what we believe. It’s written in the Bible. Alright? So, we don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity – it’s written in the Bible.”
I have a theory about a lot of the popular moralists (preachers, politicians, etc). It’s something that occurred to me after seeing a lot of moralists getting into trouble (and by “trouble”, I’m not just homosexual scandals). For example, William Bennett (drug czar under George H W Bush, author of The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories (1993)) got caught up in revelations of a gambling problem in 2003 – losing millions of dollars to his addiction. And, of course, there’s the Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker scandals.
My own thoughts on this is that many of the outspoken moralists are struggling with their own personal demons. This struggle, for example, against their own homosexual or “immoral” desires results in an ongoing dialog in their own heads. They want to be good, they want to suppress their desires, and they try to talk themselves out of their feelings. They look for to the Bible for support in beating down their feelings. They become eloquent in creating speeches to talk themselves out of their “bad” desires. They become die-hard moralists in an attempt to suppress their own immoral desires. Then, partly because of their passion in suppressing (their own) immorality, and partly because of their eloquence in creating speeches advocating moralist attitudes (which they have, no doubt, repeated over and over to themselves), they become public crusaders against immorality.
People sometimes think that moralists bring passion to the morality crusade because morality is so important for society. I think the passion comes less from a desire to bring morality to society, and more from a desire to beat-down their own personal demons.
Here’s a video of Larry Craig (the one recently caught up in the gay sex scandal), talking about President Clinton (January 1999):