That quote caught my attention because it made me wonder what stuff people have been always saying about Pastor Ted. I find it fascinating that church members would blow "it" off, whatever the it is, while believing every negative thing said about people they know almost nothing about not counting stereotypes.
Evangelist Ted Haggard admitted Friday that he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a gay prostitute who claims he was paid for drug-fueled trysts by the outspoken gay marriage opponent.
Church member E.J. Cox, 25, called the claims "ridiculous."
"People are always saying stuff about Pastor Ted," she said. "You just sort of blow it off. He's just like anyone else in the public eye."
As I think about the attitudes I've encountered at too many of the churches I've attended, this isn't surprising since it was common to hear a pastor put forth the idea that all criticism of his actions comes from the devil who wants to destroy the work of the Lord. It's the religious version of saying that anyone who criticizes a conservative or exposes conservative corruption is a member of the liberal machine.
To me this preemptive defense (the devil will do anything to try and stop my good works including getting people to say stuff about me) is a red flag.
It's PR disguised as truth. It helps to counter reports of corruption or deceit. The church members are supposed to look into their hearts and know that those accused have equally pure hearts. Those who waver will have let the devil win because those who stand with God will stand by the accused with absolute and unwavering faith.
All evidence will be the work of the devil so those who let evidence sway them are letting the devil sway them.
Speaking of PR I also find the frequent use of the phrase: he faltered when secret activity comes to light especially revealing. Compare that description to what's said about those who aren't in the church when they commit the same actions.
Ms. Cox is wrong when she says Pastor Ted is like anyone else in the public eye. He is someone who is claiming to speak God's truth and who uses that relationship to justify his public actions. If his words and actions aren't authentic then his words should carry no more weight than a leader of a corporation or than a leader of any other civic, but non-religious organization.