When stories like this occur, I scratch my head at the utter hypocrisy of those who preach morality while wearing the cloth of religious faith.
I have no truck with relations between consenting adults.
When one of those adults profits, both financially and in public esteem, by pointing fingers at the failings of others--failings he suffers from himself, then I draw the line.
It's fine to speak of forgiveness. It takes a big person to ask for it. It takes a truly contrite person to deserve it. It takes an even bigger person to give forgiveness. But only a fool forgives when contrition is only a means to an end.
Mr. Haggard's church bought into the whole forgiveness doctrine with him. They crossed the line of integrity when they paid hush money to a young man exploited through Haggard's authority.
This situation speaks volumes about how far off the path of righteousness some travel--in the name of maintaining a religious organization.
I don't go to church because of this sort of garbage. Many people avoid church for similar reasons--they can't get passed to elevation of the organization over the faith itself. Churches historically place institutional survival over individuals; they also subordinate the doctrine they peddle to the immediate needs of the institution.
New Hope is no different. It's the perennial failing of churches.
Now I ask you: Does it serve the faith when, through hypocrisy and condonation of it, a church maintains itself at the expense of driving so many others away from faith?