Both ex-gay activists and critics have raised questions about the validity Ted Haggard’s masive change in such a short time. Ex-Gay Watch shares Randy Thomas Weighs in On Haggard’s Recovery.
When a local reporter asked me about the Haggard situation, I remarked how I learned at an early age that as a queer person in the church filled with shame and fear, the best tactic to take was the submissive dog position. (Not to be confused with yoga’s downward facing dog position).
You can see what happens when two dogs meet and one is bigger and stronger than the other. A dance ensues where the weaker of the two (or at least the one that perceives itself as weaker) hunches its shoulders, pulls back its ears, tucks its tail between its legs, turns to avoid direct eye contact, and lies on its back with its stomach exposed. Sometimes the submissive dog will even urinate to demonstrate its place. Look I humiliated myself for you.
Faced with the power of the church, of heterosexual men telling me (implicitly and explicitly) that men with same-sex attractions are sick, sinful and dangerous, I learned that I could survive in the church if I submitted to their authority and asserted my status as a struggler, someone who felt conflicted over my transgressive sexual desires. In such a position, I experienced compassion, assistance and acceptance (well, to the point that they didn’t kick me out) from these men.
We hear very little of what Ted Haggard really feels and believes. He communicates through an approved spokesman. He has submitted himself to his handlers and may do anything in his power to stay in the church system that has become his home and identity–even if it means lying down like a dog.