Dear Ted Haggard: I Understand

Playwright/novelist/screenwriter Paul Rudnick penned a piece for this week’s New Yorker and it’s totally hilarious. It’s essentially a letter to Mr. Haggard from fictional character Pastor Stan Belker, who has much in common with Mr. Haggard.

As a teen-ager, I found that I was attracted both to serving Our Lord and to Jimmy Wiggins, the assistant coach of my high-school soccer team. I was in torment, and I would pray for hours on end, asking God why He would command me to love Him so deeply and at the same time just go and create Jimmy’s snug little soccer shorts. I told my clergyman, Father Josiah, about my conflicting urges, and he tried to reconcile them by explaining that from certain angles Jesus looks just like Dennis Quaid. Still, I had agonizing doubts: was I just experiencing a completely normal phase of adolescent uncertainty, or were Jimmy Wiggins’s firm, high buttocks really a calling card from Satan?

(Oh sweet Jesus how familiar I am with that calling card!)

The letter recounts Stan’s life as it follows the expected trajectory: male lover in college, then wife and a male prostitute/drug dealer in adulthood, and finally a public downfall.

It kinda missed the whole Ted Haggard media explosion (all three (?) of them) but it’s good enough to be forgiven.

Highly recommended: Amen, Brother (New Yorker)


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