Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, September 01, 2007

As Craig Steps Down, Hope

Sen. Larry Craig has resigned, which every way you look at it is good: Good for his family, good for him, good for the GOP, good for America. (Perhaps airport restroom gays will not find it good, but that's just evidence that you can't get everyone into the tent.)

Craig, despite his apparent missteps, is a family man, so it is not hypocrisy we see in his actions, but conflict. Through my church work with addicts (alcohol, drugs, sex, porn), I am sure that the man he wants to be and the man he is are two different men. He must be struggling against the flesh, and like all addicts, he probably feels wonderful for a brief moment when he falls, then feels wracked with grief and shame.

Am I hasty or illiberal in calling him addicted, since I don't know him? I don't think so. Look at the man: Senator, husband, father, recognized, respected, dependent wholly on the public's estimation of him for his future. Yet despite all these solid reasons not to act out, he cravenly solicited homosexual sex in an airport men's room.

That's insane behavior, behavior he knows he should at all cost repress, yet he was unable to. In short, he was behaving in an addictive manner.

And I feel sorry for him, because his options are so limited. Even for normal folks without a huge public profile, it is very difficult to gather the courage to go to a meeting or a counselor and begin the recovery process. Craig's position made it impossible to do so with any guarantee of anonymity, and without such a guarantee, going into recovery was pretty much career suicide.

When I rolled this idea by Incredible Wife this morning, she suggested that he could have just gone to a counselor, where rules of non-disclosure would protect him, but I disagreed. A Senator is visible for his entire day, his schedule set by others, his steps shadowed by aides. It would be quite impossible for him to slip away for two hours without somebody noticing. And in his line of work, somebody noticing would lead to leaks, news coverage ... and ended careers.

I know some will say Craig doesn't have an addiction he has to give up; rather, he has a sexual orientation he needs to stop repressing and start celebrating. I can't say I disagree because I'm not Larry Craig, but I certainly don't immediately agree with them out of a PC acceptance that homosexuality is genetic.

I have three close friends who have had gay experiences and want to get away from them; two have rather extensive gay backgrounds, one had one "gay slip" as part of a larger sexual addition that drew him to female prostitutes. The two with extensive gay backgrounds have a history of gay molestation in their childhood, so to say homosexuality is a genetic condition is to utterly ignore the impact of their early childhood environment on them.

They have struggled heroically against a behavior they don't want and find to be personally abhorrent, and they have found victory, to varying degrees. They have done so with lots of support and a certainty that their names will never be made public.

Larry Craig as a U.S. Senator had no hope of either. Now that he will soon be Larry Craig, citizen, he has a chance. I hope he makes good use of it because he appears to be a man who would rather not have an attraction to the gay side, and he can achieve victory over that attraction -- with a lot of commitment, help, accountability and faith.

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