MADELEINE BRAND, host:
This is DAY TO DAY I'm Madeleine Brand.
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
This is Alex Chadwick. Last month, DAY TO DAY called Richard Cizik for election advice. He's the political director of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents about 40,000 churches. We asked him about fallout from the scandal over the Republican Florida Congressman Mark Foley, who resigned after the revelation of sex messages to young men. We wanted to know if the story would discourage values voters. Then, this last week, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Pastor Ted Haggard resigned his position as leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He too is involved in a sex scandal, this time with a male prostitute. We called Richard Cizik again, Richard thank you for taking another call from us.
Mr. RICHARD CIZIK (Political director, National Association of Evangelicals): I'm delighted to be with you.
CHADWICK: Pastor Ted writes in a letter to his congregation: I am a sinner. In what way is Pastor Ted a sinner? Would it be that he had sex with a man, another man; or would it be that he concealed this relationship and was apparently buying sexual favors and perhaps buying drugs as well.
Mr. CIZIK: All of these could have occurred and may well have. I don't know for a fact, but the bottom line here is that when a leader is in that kind of a position - both at a church and in an association - he has a responsibility to live a life above reproach and you can't live a double life like this. The apostle Paul said all sexual immorality - lust, evil desires, and even greed -very interestingly enough he said greed, which is idolatry. So on what basis completely, I'm not sure myself, but I know it was the right decision to make. That is to resign.
CHADWICK: If Pastor Ted is a homosexual, would evangelicals deem that to be an unforgivable sin.
Mr. CIZIK: Oh, most assuredly not, even if he committed sexual immorality of gay sex, that's not an unforgivable sin at all. The scriptures are very clear. It's rejecting Christ as Holy Spirit and the call to live that kind of a life that is an unforgivable sin. So look, we know from this experience that there are those leaders who live a double life. And on this subject of gays, it becomes all the more dicey, because there's this culture war going on. And that's a whole 'nother topic, but you get my point.
CHADWICK: Well I think liberals would say that it's the secrecy, it's the demonizing of homosexuality, the driving people into secret lives that distorts and corrupts those lives - and that that is the problem rather than the act of homosexuality itself.
Mr. CIZIK: Well I would disagree with that. I believe that all immorality is wrong. That's why I cited the apostle Paul in his rules for holy living in the chapter from Colossians. I don't think we should demonize gays and lesbians. That's part of the culture war that's going on, and I would suggest that evangelicals and gay activists and others all ought to come to some kind of a dialogue with one another that doesn't include the vitriol that's existed.
CHADWICK: Mr. Cizik here's a quote from Harpers Magazine, which wrote a big profile of Pastor Ted a few years ago. This is a quote, actually from a book that he had written about Christianity in this century. And he was talking about the church that Christians should want. And here he goes: I want my finances in order, my kids trained, my wife to love life. I don't want surprises, scandals, or secrets.
Mr. CIZIK: Ted Haggard was obviously living a double life, tempted by sexual orientation. And he was speaking against that which he was practicing. And the old adage that you see the sin in others that you despise the most in yourself is not far off the mark in my opinion.
CHADWICK: Richard Cizik, political director of the National Association of Evangelicals. Mr. Cizik, thank you for speaking with us again on DAY TO DAY.
Mr. CIZIK: My pleasure Alex. Thank you for asking.
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