Respectful Insolence

Blaming Haggard’s wife for his going gay

OK, I wasn’t planning on writing on the whole Haggard imbroglio again. (Famous last words, eh?) Then, via Andrew Sullivan, I came across this little post by a blogging evangelical pastor from Seattle named Mark Driscoll:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

This is his second (of many) bullet point in a list of thoughts and advice for pastors. Clearly Driscoll views it as an important point

How low can you go? Whatever I think of Haggard and his sanctimonious hypocrisy, there is no doubt that his methamphetamine-fueled dalliance with a gay prostitute has devastated his wife and family. Betrayal will do that. And now here we have this “man of God” in essence blaming Haggard’s wife for either letting herself go, not putting out enough, or both. And, of course, what makes the point above even more clueless is that Haggard didn’t go to an old-fashioned female prostitute.

Want more of Driscoll’s “wisdom”? Here you go:

Churches should consider returning to heterosexual male assistants who are like Timothy and Titus to serve alongside pastors. Too often the pastor’s assistant is a woman who, if not sexually involved, becomes too emotionally involved with the pastor as a sort of emotional and practical second wife. I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us.

Yeah, that would have worked real well for Haggard, wouldn’t it?

ADDENDUM: Driscoll has backtracked some:

Contrary to some who misrepresented my prior blog, Gayle [Haggard’s wife] is in no way responsible for the sin of her husband and by all accounts seems to have been a lovely and devoted wife.

Uh, yeah. Sure. Anything Mark says. That must be why he made the quote about pastors’ wives “letting themselves go” in the context of giving advice to young male Christian pastors in the wake of the Ted Haggard scandal and even prefaced it with, “At the risk of being even more widely despised than I already am, I will lean over the plate ant take one for the team on this.”

Sure, Mark. I believe you. Did the backlash against your nastiness get a little too hot for you?

By the way, here are some examples of the sorts of things Driscoll has been saying for a while now.

Comments

  1. #1 Thursday
    November 7, 2006

    “Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives.”

    Weeeeell then; I suppose most pastors aren’t pud-pounding tweak freaks either, are they now? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course…

    All I can say about Haggard is that at least the pro was over the age of 16!

  2. #2 The Ridger
    November 7, 2006

    Maybe if most, particular most evangelical, pastors didn’t turn sex into the greatest of sins, pastors’ wives (and pastors) wouldn’t have a zillion hangups about it.

    And in this case – sheesh. This post is so willfully ignoring that Haggard was seeing a gay prostitute, not sleeping with his available female assistant, or some woman who slipped her nude photograph into his pocket… Haggard’s poor wife could have put out like fill-in-your-own-simile-here and not have satisfied Haggard’s particular desire. And if she’d tried a little unorthodox sex to fake it, well – EEEEVIILLLLLL not-for-procreation sex isn’t allowed, is it?

    These people are prisoners of their religion’s successful labelling of sex as bad/dirty/evil – turning a powerful drive into an object of obsessive fear. They don’t have time to do any actual thinking. It’s sad.

    And when they start obsessing over those of us who have managed to avoid that trap, it’s scary.

  3. #3 Dunc
    November 7, 2006

    I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us.

    Sure – ‘cos married men with children never commit infidelity. Ever.

  4. #4 Bright Chapper
    November 7, 2006

    This thread is no good without pics.

    “I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us.”

    Sounds like someone’s been enjoying a rollicking good wife swap!

  5. #5 Sister Cynica
    November 7, 2006

    And these are the people who want tax dollars to provide social services up to and including marriage and domestic violence counseling. I’m supposed to believe that this combination of religious fervor, sexual retardation, and ludicrous projection (ya think these doughy little toupee stands are more attractive than their wives? On what planet would that be?) somehow won’t “rub off” in their “faith based initiatives.” Righty-ho.

  6. #6 Alison
    November 7, 2006

    http://www.marshillchurch.org/

    Pic of him here. Sorry there’s no direct link, site’s not set up that way. He’s the pastor, though, so he’s easy to find.

  7. #7 Ruth
    November 7, 2006

    His wife has had 5 kids? And isn’t as lively in bed anymore? Why would THAT be?

  8. #8 Adrienne
    November 7, 2006

    Yeah, kinda easy to “let yourself go” when all of your waking moments are spent 1) pregnant or 2) tending to several preschoolers at once or 3) both. I know a pastor who had the “letting herself go” complaint about his plump wife, when they had three kids under the age of five running around, which she primarily took care of (of course). They left their family planning “up to god”, so the poor woman hardly had a break between pregnancies.

  9. #9 Renee
    November 7, 2006

    The fact of the matter is that Gayle Haggard, the minister’s wife, is quite attractive:

    http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/pastors/1315204.html

    So, in this instance, there’s no room for blaming her for ‘letting herself go’, so to speak. The sad/ironic part,from the interview in the above link, is that it sounds like she had a more intimate relationship with God, than with her husband.

  10. #10 tim gueguen
    November 7, 2006

    Besides, I would suspect you’ll find a large percentage of cheaters have spouses who haven’t “let themselves go” and are more than willing to have an active sex life with their married partners.

  11. #11 Kiwiwriter
    November 8, 2006

    So would it have been more Christian for Haggard, if he had not married a pious wife, but instead married a hooker off the streets, a mail-order bride, an obedient under-age girl, or a self-serving model/actress/singer?

    Would Christianity and the Light of Faith be saved if Haggard had a harem of call girls?

  12. #12 anomalous4
    November 10, 2006

    So would it have been more Christian for Haggard, if he had not married a pious wife, but instead married a hooker off the streets…?

    At least there’s a biblical precedent for that. The “minor prophet” Hosea did it, on a direct order from God.

    I leave you, Gentle Reader, to draw your own conclusions.

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