In my 25 years as an evangelical, these are the mighty who've fallen that have either had a direct impact on my life or have had the tangential impact of disillusioning me. Some are personal friends and relatives, some are movers and shakers within evangelicalism. Every single one shocked me to the core....
- A leader in our college Christian movement was having sex with one of my good friends (yep - not married)
- The pastor of a church in Indio that supported us stepped down due to an extra-marital affair.
- Don Moomaw (pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church where I was a member and which supported Jon and me as missionaries) preached a sermon on abstinence until marriage and then, was asked to leave his post when his extra-marital affair was discovered.
- The first co-host for Focus on the Family - yep! Extra-marital affair.
- An elder at Chuck Swindoll's church in Orange County, CA was found to have been molesting children in a Sunday School class.
- Lonnie Frisbee, the catalyst to the signs and wonders movement of the Vineyard, died of AIDS and we were told that in fact, Lonnie was gay. (The link I provided goes to the Lonnie Frisbee Project, a documentary film made by a friend of Jon's. It's making the rounds in California.)
- Mel White, well-known ghost-writer for clients such as Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Ollie North, and Pat Robertson, comes out as a gay man and starts Soulforce.
- A single female member of our missionary team had sex with a Moroccan Christian.
- Another single female member of our team had sex with a Moroccan Christian and went on to have two children by this man, married him, moved to the states and then, he left her for another woman. He then outed the missionaries he left behind in Morocco to the government officials. Nice.
- A husband and father to three, on our team, had an extra-marital affair with a Moroccan maid while his wife was on furlough.
- A traveling prophet who visited our missionary team molested several of the missionary children.
- Paul Cain, prophet and speaker at conferences for both Mike Bickle's Kansas City Fellowship (now called Metro Christian Fellowship) and the Anaheim Vineyard was discovered to have been actively homosexual and addicted to alcohol.
- Mike Trout, Dobson's co-host and my favorite guy from Focus on the Family (Fof) back when I listened daily for ten years, resigned from his post when he revealed he'd had an extra-marital affair.
- That same month, the head of Fof's recovery from homosexuality ministry was found drinking and dancing in a gay bar.
- One of my friends from college, a pastor of a Presbyterian church, left his wife to live with a girlfriend.
- Carl Tuttle, our senior pastor from the Anaheim Vineyard, successor to John Wimber, was removed from the pastorate when he was found to have a gambling addiction as well as an addiction to prescription drugs.
- My brother-in-law, an Assemblies of God pastor for twenty-five years, left his wife and kids to live with a girlfriend.
- Cheryl Lindsey, well-known homeschooling model, admitted that her husband beat her and then she had an affair. (I admit to complete sympathy with her on this one. Her new husband rocks and the abuse was criminal... still, it was a shock to hear about the whole sequence of events by someone who was supposedly following all the Christian principles that should have resulted in a happy home for her and her husband and their 11 kids...)
- One of our dearest friends in CA revealed that her husband was going to prison for molesting one of their daughters. They were members of our home Bible study group and Johannah was close friends with the molested daughter.
- Rush Limbaugh divorced for the third time and was addicted to prescription drugs. And he thinks drug addicted people should go to jail! I was a regular listener until then.
- An uncountable number of priests are discovered to have molested boys.
- Ted Haggard combined the worst of all possible "beastly choices" (according to the evangelical morality police) and had gay sex with a male prostitute while high on crystal meth. My God, does the siren sound any louder? If the Holy Spirit can't help Ted resist those starkly evil temptations, then what the heck is evangelical Christianity good for? It's about all they preach - personal integrity, sexual purity, accountability and moral unimpeachability.
Yeah, as Alanis Morrisette might sing: "Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?"
Update (2:20 p.m. est): Haggard confesses to congregation that he was in fact guilty of sexual immorality.
"The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life," he said.