An Open Letter to Art

Dear Rev. Ted Haggard:

During these trying times, you probably think that nobody wants you. Even your church in Colorado Springs says you ought to get out of town. Word is you’re considering Iowa or Missouri. Well, the Show Me State is clearly the better choice for a disgraced minister. That’s especially true for someone like you, who, despite your sordid history with a male prostitute, has recently discovered that you’re “completely heterosexual.”

Why, you ask, should you bring your likely mortified family to Missouri? Here are some very straight reasons:

* Iowa is flaming gay and everybody knows it. The state doesn’t have a ban on gay marriages, and a judge even granted a divorce to a lesbian couple who had married in Vermont — essentially endorsing the idea that they got married in the first place. There’s also a lawsuit in the courts brought by two men who want to marry, something that could force Iowa to recognize the rights for gays to, you know, do what the rest of us do. Meanwhile, Missourians clearly don’t like gays. In 2004, a whopping 71 percent of voters enacted a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage statewide. That shows that, essentially, nearly three-quarters of Missourians won’t want to have gay sex with you. In other words, if you had a spell of gayness again, you’d clearly be safer in Missouri, where you wouldn’t wake up one morning betrothed to a dude.

* Missouri has a fine history of accepting disgraced ministers. In 2003, the Rev. Jim Bakker and his new wife, Lori Graham Bakker, set up shop in Branson and began a brand-new TV show. You might think a sex scandal, accounting irregularities and a little thing like jail time would make him a pariah in Bible Belt Branson. Not so, says Char Graham, the executive administrator with The Jim Bakker Show. “Missouri has been very good for us,” Graham says. “Branson is family orientated. Jim and Lori are raising five kids — and people have been very receptive and friendly.” In fact, the show sometimes pulls in as many as 150 who come to watch them film. And soon, Graham says the ministry will begin weekly services for the area. So it’s clear that Missouri can accept a pastor who spent time doing things that male prisoners do in jail. You know, just like you did with that male prostitute.

* Moving to Missouri is the best way to show that you’ve embraced all those lies about wanting to have sex with men. Back when you were delusional, you told your male prostitute buddy — between binges on meth — that your name was Art and that you lived in Kansas City, Missouri. How appropriate, then, to move to the very place that you used as part of your alias while slipping your male prostitute an envelope with two $100 bills in it. Wouldn’t it be fun, too, to prove how not gay you are by assuming the name Art while living here?

Haggard, in the documentary Jesus Camp:

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