PHOTOS: Response to ‘The Response’ begins

Riki Miller, Zombie McZee and Britney Miranda.

The responses to “The Response” are under way in Houston. First out of the gate was Friday night’s LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally.  Despite temperatures that had barely come down from the triple digits, Houstonians thronged to Tranquility Park in downtown. Beyond commenting on the temperature, the common theme of most of the speakers was that the American Family Association and Gov. Perry’s rally is not representative of Houston and is not welcomed.

Robert Shipman, president of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, said: “I kinda think Rick Perry chose the wrong city!”

He continued “They are the bigots, we are not … we are Houston.”

“I guess we should take comfort in the fact that, except for some of his staffers, [Gov. Perry] couldn’t find enough homegrown bigotry in the state of Texas to put on the event himself,” said Mike Craig, co-chair of Out & Equal Houston. “He had to bus them in from Tupulo, Miss., and Colorado Springs, Colo.” Craig was referring to American Family Association (based in Tupulo) and Focus on the Family (based in Colorado Springs), both co-sponsors of “The Response.”

State Rep.  Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, provided the closing address. He criticized Gov. Perry for using divisive religious rhetoric for political gain. “Being here today I’m proud that we are fighting back against a narrow, theocratic view of the world that we live in and of our country that says that people are not welcomed — that says that people are bad because of who they are. That is not America,” said Coleman. “That is what is dividing our city, our state and our country.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more coverage of the LGBT community’s response to “The Response.” More photos from the LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally below (click to enlarge):

—  admin

Haggard claims he over-repented, but evangelist has never apologized for the harm he caused

Ted Haggard

The Wall Street Journal reports that disgraced minister Ted Haggard says he over-repented.

And apparently 200 people have over-forgiven him.

Haggard was the head of the National Association of Evangelicals who got caught over-using meth with a Denver rentboy four years ago. He’s returned to Colorado Springs (after being run out of town by his former organization) and started a new church. The WSJ reports that the church’s band of losers have outgrown Haggard’s barn and are looking for a new, bigger church where they can pray together, but hopefully not over-pray.

How Haggard “over-repented” is not explained by the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper. The preacher has not over-apologized — or ever apologized — for his years of gay-bashing or for the harm he caused children growing up in evangelical homes who may have listened to his hate speech or had parents who took his message seriously.

He’s renamed his years of hiring prostitutes and doing drugs his “crisis.” He refers to his encounter with former prostitute Mike Jones as a “massage gone awry.”

Why would anyone go to a church and give money to a meth addict who cheats on his wife?

Members of his new congregation told the newspaper they can relax and be themselves with the imperfect pastor. Maybe the members of his church just like knowing that he’s an even bigger loser than they are.

—  David Taffet

Haggard's big announcement amounts to little

Ted Haggard
Ted Haggard

Disgraced evangelist Ted Haggard hired a Hollywood publicist to announce that today, he would make an announcement.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the announcement Haggard made today was that he would start a new church. That’s similar to an announcement that we reported in November.

Before he was caught using crystal meth with a prostitute in Oklahoma City in 2006, Haggard was the head of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of a Colorado megachurch.

He resigned from those positions the next day.

After three whole weeks of intense therapy, he was declared cured. James Dobson of Focus on the Family was on his “restoration team.”

One of those declaring him cured, discredited reparative therapist Tim Ralph, later said that Haggard now had the tools “to help to embrace his heterosexual side.”

Haggard’s former church was so forgiving of his indiscretions that as part of his severance package, they insisted he leave town. He was living in Phoenix until he returned to Colorado last fall and began the new church in his house.

UPDATE: In his announcement, Haggard said that St. James Church in Colorado Springs will welcome everyone. That includes gays, lesbians, Democrats and addicts. He said the church, however, won’t perform same-sex marriages. He didn’t say whether he’ll be doing meth.

—  David Taffet