James Dobson Says Haggard Is ‘At War With Himself’

James DobsonJames Dobson said Wednesday that disgraced evangelical Ted Haggard was not a hypocrite for preaching against homosexuality while engaging in “sexual immorality” with a gay escort, but was a man “at war with himself.”
Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, told CNN’s Larry King Live that evangelicals are not perfect.
“Well, he obviously was, again, at war with himself,” said Dobson, a child psychologist and Christian media advocate.
“He was involved in activities that I think horrified him. He said that he fought against it, but he also knew what he believed. It was not hypocrisy. It was a struggle between behavior and a belief system.”
Haggard was fired earlier this month as senior pastor from his 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs after he admitted to purchasing illegal drugs and practicing “sexual immorality” with a male escort in Denver. He also was forced to resign as leader of the powerful National Association of Evangelicals.
He is supposed to be undergoing a “restoration” and will be counseled by a three-member panel. Dobson had been picked as a panelist, but withdrew because he and Focus board members felt he simply didn’t have time to aid Haggard.
Dobson strongly criticized liberals for playing judge and jury on the issue and reiterated that even evangelical Christians are not infallible. The key, Dobson said, is for those who have committed a great disservice to undergo the restoration similar to what Haggard is doing.
“Everybody gets exercised when something like this happens, and for good reason,” Dobson said. “It’s deceit. It’s betrayal. It seems that those who are on the left approach this with glee.
“But I would say what else is new? If you just look at humankind. We’re flawed. Go back to the greatest men in the Bible. Look at King David. He killed a man to get his wife for sexual purposes. He repented. He said, ‘I’ve sinned before God.’ “
Nonetheless, Dobson agreed that Haggard had managed to live a double life and keep it hidden from his family, friends and congregation.
“He sure has,” he said. “That’s a very sad circumstance. I feel terrible for him. I feel bad especially for his wife, Gayle – she’s a wonderful lady – and their five children. We had no idea that this is the case. I’ve known him for many years, and this was a very private kind of thing, you know, this double life that you call it.
“It has now resulted in the loss of just about everything. His dignity, his work, his influence. He was a powerful influence in the Christian community. So we’re all very very sad about that.”
Dobson said he has not had contact with Haggard since the founder of New Life Church admitted his sexual escapades. A successful restoration partly will involve helping Haggard stop being gay, he said.
“That’d be part of it,” he said. “It’s a spiritual restoration, too. It’s a personal and marital restoration. It involves every aspect of life.”

Dobson quotes

On forgiving Ted Haggard
“His sin was not against me. God has to do the forgiving. I continue to love him. He is a friend. He will always be my friend, and I’m sorry for what happened, but God has to forgive him. I mean his relationship with his wife has to be one of forgiveness. It’s not my job to do that.”
On whether one becomes gay because of genetics
“What homosexual activists especially would like everybody to believe is that it is genetic. That they don’t have any choice. And if it were genetic, identical twins would all have it. If you had homosexuality in one twin, it would be there in the other. So it can’t be simply genetic.”
On disgraced Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley
“That was most unfortunate. I thought the media did everything they could to discourage values voters from voting, and I don’t think Mark Foley had anything to do with that.”
On Republican electoral losses
“Republicans were given a marvelous opportunity. They had a 10-vote margin in the Senate – that’s about as good as it gets, and a 29-vote margin in the House. And they essentially sat on it and did very little that so-called values voters care about. And I think people remember.”
On his support for the Iraq War
“I don’t believe it was a mistake. You know if you go back to World War II, people have been very critical of (President) Roosevelt for not responding earlier to the holocaust that was going on. In fact, he was tone deaf to that misery. Well, that’s what was happening in Iraq. You know, Saddam Hussein killed, as far as we know, a million people. Murdered them in cold blood. And that required some kind of response. I think what the president did was right and correct to do that. But now we’re in a mess, and I admit that, and I’m very concerned.”
On liberals
“Those again on the liberal end of the spectrum are those who have no value system, or at least they say there is no moral and immoral. There’s no right or wrong. . . . But when a religious leader, or especially an evangelical, falls, guess who is the most judgmental of him and calling him a hypocrite? . . . Those that said there is no right and wrong in the first place. The truth of the matter is there is right and wrong. And we all within our midst have failures, and they do occur.”
from The Rock Mountian News

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