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Today's topic: flaunting homosexuality. Exhibit A: Doogie. Meaning Neil Patrick Harris, who, in another life, was the title character in Doogie Howser, M.D., the tale of a boy genius who becomes a doctor. Recently, Harris was outed on a gossip Web site. His response in a statement to people.com said in part:

"I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest."

That was it. No muss, no fuss. The world kept on spinning and the seas did not boil.

Still, one suspects that the news was greeted less than warmly in those bastions of social conservatism where, as one gentleman indicates in the new movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," they hope to make it legal to string homosexuals up by the soft parts. Indeed, one suspects that the most - pardon my language - liberal response in those parts would be something along the lines of, "Fine, he's gay. Why couldn't he keep that to himself? Why do they have to flaunt it? I don't go around announcing that I'm straight!"

Put aside that Harris was forced into his announcement by an individual who called him out online. Put aside, too, the fact that one "flaunts" one's heterosexuality whenever one canoodles with someone of the opposite gender.

Until earlier this month, Ted Haggard was senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an influential preacher who had George Bush's ear. Neither the church nor the NAE has been known for its friendliness toward gay people. So there was quite an uproar when Mike Jones, a gay prostitute, dropped the bombshell allegation that he'd had a three-year sexual relationship with the preacher. Haggard initially denied even knowing Jones but then recanted, admitting that, on at least one occasion, he sought a massage and bought meth from the hooker.

On Nov. 2, Haggard stepped down from the NAE presidency. Two days later, his church fired him. He has confessed to "sexual immorality" and will spend the next three to five years in "restoration," a process that reportedly involves confrontation, counsel and - you can't make this stuff up - rebuke from "godly men."

This all raises two questions. One: Between this guy, the late gay-bashing former Spokane mayor, James West, Pat Robertson biographer Mel White, and Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, leaders in the "curing homosexuality" movement until they fell in love with one another, can't we now safely assume that any conservative who rants about the homosexual agenda is a lying hypocrite gayer than a Castro Street bar?

And, two: Wouldn't you much rather be Neil Patrick Harris than Ted Haggard just now? In other words, wouldn't you rather be a content gay man living life to the fullest, than a gay hypocrite living lies to the fullest?

That's the fallacy social conservatives miss. In a culture that allows gay people room to be gay people, there is no need of lies.

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And here, I'm thinking of Gayle Alcorn. She and Haggard have five children. They've been married 28 years. That's a long time to sleep next to a lie.

I bet she wishes he had "flaunted" his homosexuality a long time ago.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

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