Same drama, new cast.
Another tragedy within fundamentalist circles. There is this inability to accept reality because reality and the Bible don’t go together.
Pastor Paul Barnes ran the fundamentalist megachurch, Grace Chapel in Englewood, just south of Denver. He built it up from the ground himself. Sunday he resigned his office because he’s gay.
Barnes says he knew he was gay since he “a 5-year-old boy”. In a video farewell to his congregation hs said: “I can’t tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away.” But God wasn’t listening. Or maybe he was saying: “No.” Either way those prayers went unanswered.
Barnes told his congregation that he fought this thing his entire life and constantly failed. He spoke of his father giving him advice about the evils of homosexuals and Barnes thought to himself: “’Is that how you’d feel about me?’ It was like a knife in my heart, and it made me feel even more closed.”
Barnes says that the Bible says it is a sin and he cannot accept that he was ‘born that way” so he is desperately trying to find a cause so he can find a cure. Barnes is married and his wife says he only told her last week. The couple have two grown daughters.
Meanwhile the Rev. Ted Haggard, former leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, who resigned his office and his church because he was exposed as having a relationship with a male prostitute is now trying to be “cured” by a team of three pastors none of whom have the slightest idea what they are doing. But they know what the Bible says and damn reality full speed ahead. A friend of Haggards says that Haggard is saying that he is not gay. Maybe he should of thought of that before going to bed with men.
Haggard, like Barnes, like most fundamentalists are so deep into denial that they can deal with reality at all. They have constructed a world that fits what they believe the Bible tells them. But that world is a fantasy. It doesn’t exist. But if that world doesn’t exist they have to question the authority of the Bible and they never do that. They can’t do that no matter how much evidence accumulates.
As I’ve said before, fundamentalist is at war with reality and reality has a way of kicking you in the ass. Haggard was not the first. Barnes won't be the last. They deny, lie and fight it for decades. They marry, they pray, they preach, they weep. They go through a living hell trying to change and it doesn't work. And still they insist it has to be a choice.