Sacred Disorder | Cliff Bostock's blog – 'Finally, I came to regard as sacred the disorder of my mind' (Rimbaud)

It’s not their fault

Ted Haggard and Mark Foley are both back in the news this week, both blaming childhood experiences for their sexual behavior.

Foley told the AP that a sexual encounter with a priest at 12 is at the root of his sexual flirtation with Congressional pages:

“I loved my early life, and then along comes a priest … who forces me into a sexual relationship at the age of 12. And right shortly thereafter, I fail eighth grade, I start drugs, I start drinking, I start smoking,” he said. “My entire life … implodes.”

Foley, as everyone knows, was the Congress’ most passionate crusader against online pedophiles. He makes no real apology for his behavior, because, he says, no actual sex occurred and the boys he flirted with were not below the age of consent, anyway. He goes on to paint a sad picture of his life as a pariah.

Meanwhile, Haggard preached a sermon on the second anniversary of his own downfall and blamed his taste for sodomy and crystal meth on childhood sexual abuse too. At the same time, the former leader of a conservative mega-church railed against the clergy for not coming to his aid during his dark night of the soul. (As if he were a paragon of tolerance before his own fall.)

In other words, neither man takes full responsibility for his actions, preferring the usual psychological reduction to a childhood cause. In this narrative, the two themselves become victims — just as others became victims of their hypocrisy and inappropriate behavior. They get to exchange their own monumental moralism and hypocrisy for self-righteous indignation. Sweet.

Here is ABC’s report on Haggard’s sermon:

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