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Homosexuals should not be denied natural rights

It’s a miracle.It only took three weeks of therapy for former U.S. evangelical leader Ted Haggard to go back to heterosexuality, according to a Feb. 9 Reuters article.

Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., resigned last November amidst a scandal caused when a male prostitute went public with their affair, according to the article.

I grant Haggard credit for trying to “straighten” out his life so that he is now practicing what he has preached, but I believe this situation’s issues ought to be more closely examined.

First off, the way Haggard openly spoke out against the same sexual acts he engaged in behind closed doors makes him appear to be a classic example of what Ronald C. Naso calls a moral hypocrite.

In his 2006 article, “Immoral actions in otherwise moral individuals: Interrogating the structure and meaning of moral hypocrisy,” Naso concludes that moral hypocrisy is more than just a lapse of judgment or a fleeting symptom but rather “a complex constellation of intentions irreducible to the pursuit of self-interest or recognition.”

A moral hypocrite is someone who does something that appears outside his or her normal moral standards for reasons far more complicated than can be understood in one explanation.

Moral hypocrisy is such a complex issue that it’s possible for Haggard to be in need of therapy to stop his engaging in homosexual activity that is contrary to his heterosexuality.

The problems arise, however, when conservative groups try to use people such as Haggard as an example of how the “homosexual lifestyle” can be overcome.

I’m not saying churches have to welcome homosexuals with open arms. The First Amendment makes it clear that government should not have authority over religious matters.

But the other side of having religious freedom is having a secular government with no ties to any single religion.

Churches have the right to deny marriage within the context of their religious beliefs. The government, however, does not.

Many groups argue over the term “marriage” and its implications, but, in U.S. law, marriage is a fidelity-based contract, in which two individuals enter with expectations that they will receive the same rights as other “married” couples, such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights, which are not granted by “civil unions,” “domestic partnerships” or other forms of nonmarriage partnerships.

In this country, where “all men are created equal,” it’s considered discriminatory for some to have access to rights while others do not.

Fifty years ago, interracial couples were treated like homosexual couples are today. Many churches refused to acknowledge unions between people of different races, claiming many of the same religious arguments used against same-sex couples today.

Today, many of the same people who so vehemently opposed gay marriage would never dream of denying the right of marriage to an interracial couple, let alone try to “cure” an interracial couple of their “unnatural tendencies.”

Maybe it will be another 50 years before same-sex marriages are considered acceptable. But, until conservative groups stop confusing psychologically disturbed individuals such as Haggard with homosexuals in committed relationships, the road ahead is a going to be a long one.

Talia Sampson is a junior news-editorial journalism and international relations major from Moorpark, Calif. Her column appears Thursdays.

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