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Posted on Nov 14, 2006 at 07:16 PM

"There is no devil, so stop blaming your screw-ups on him. Last week, one of the biggest evangelical leaders in America, the Reverend Ted Haggard, was outed for drugs and extramarital gay sex with a male prostitute. Or as Fox News reported it, "John Kerry hates our troops." Now, this was big news because Reverend Haggard was frequently at the White House and a big fan of President Bush, who he described as "tan, supple and firm where it counts." And as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Haggard presided over 45,000 churches and was a rock star for the Christian right. And like a rock star, he was getting his freak on a lot. Sometimes, the sodomy left him so exhausted he could barely use idiotic, old fairy tales to get people's money. Yes, Reverend Haggard was leading a shameful double life. But, hey, you can't keep being an evangelist secret forever. Now, I bring this up because I believe it connects deeply to the Republican rout this week. They lost because they came to represent the opposite of everything they were supposed to be. Competent? No. Spendthrift? Hardly. Ethical? Rarely. And the last straw was when the party that was at least supposed to be carrying the water for the gay bashers turned out to be a closet full of repressed screamers. Who knew when the Republicans got in bed with the Christian right, it would be in a stall inside of a truck stop restroom on the New Jersey Turnpike? Reverend Haggard's plight led many to ask, "Is it genetic? I mean, can a man actually be born a hypocrite?" Because Ted Haggard was the leader of a mega-church. And mega-churches are presided over by the same skeevy, door-to-door Bible salesmen that we've always had, just in an age of better technology. But they're selling the same thing: fear. Fear to keep you in line. And to get your money. And it's not a coincidence the Republican Party has, in recent years, operated in the same way. It's also no coincidence that people of too much faith just don't see reality. Bush not seeing Iraq for what it is, is not that different from the way Reverend Ted's followers still think he's not gay. I'm not kidding. In their world, there are no gay people. There are just straight people who are sinning. They don't want to do it, but the Devil makes them! He targets people like Reverend Ted. That's how it happened. The Devil got hold of Reverend Ted, and Ted said, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" "And put it in, gently." Come on, the man was anointing people with Astroglide! He was preaching "fire and rhinestone!" In conclusion, I'd just like to say, on this historic week, that the legacy of the religious right will be that, despite their holy pretenses, they made politics not cleaner, but dirtier. Because when you're so sure you're right, you wind up acting so wrong. ~Bill Maher

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