Ted Haggard Speaks Out After Two-Year Silence

Ted Haggard was one of the most powerful evangelicals in the country. He was close to the Bush White House and cozy with the reporters who covered his meteoric rise from pastor of the 12,000-member New Life Church to head of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals.

But in 2006, he fell from grace when male prostitute Mike Jones accused of him of paying for sex and crystal meth.

The scandal shocked the evangelical community, which had become accustomed to Haggard's sermons warning of the sins of homosexuality. Another of his frequent themes: "Don't have secrets in your life."


Now, after a two-year media blackout, Haggard, 52, is putting himself back in the spotlight.

During an interview with ABC News, Haggard said it's fair to describe him as a hypocrite and a liar.

"The reason I would teach that is that was reflective of my struggle," he said.

After the scandal, Haggard became suicidal, "absolutely convinced that the world would be a better place without me."

"I'd never lied about anything except my struggle with sexuality. But that is a huge flashpoint," he said. "That's not like a struggle with stealing CDs from K-Mart. And I'd just never experienced it before. I didn't know. I was naive. And so the pain I went through. I became convinced -- actually, I told my wife, Gayle, to divorce me."

Heterosexual 'With Issues'

Now, after two years of intensive psychotherapy, Haggard said he has finally figured out his own sexuality. He calls himself heterosexual, "with issues." He said he no longer struggles with his sexuality. On occasion he still imagines being with men, but he says these thoughts are "not compelling."

"I don't fit into a neat little box," he said.

He says if he were gay, it would be a sin.

"With my belief system, I believe that I need to be faithful to my wife. I need to be honorable to her. And I can be now. It's not a struggle at all now," he said. "I love my intimate relationship with my wife. I'm not gay."

Although he doesn't wish to categorize himself as gay, Haggard acknowledged that his religion forced him to suppress a fundamental part of who he is.

"People can judge me," he said. "I think it's fair that they judge me and that they think that I'm not being real with myself."

Haggard: Not OK to Be Gay

Haggard regrets having railed against homosexuality in his sermons, and now hopes to make amends with the gay community.

"I do apologize. All the pain, all the rejection, all the hurt I caused to those men and women, gay and lesbian," he said. "I am deeply sorry for the attitude I had. But I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war."

He's quick to say that being gay still isn't OK, but that the church needs to be more realistic and "serve people in need" rather than dictating to them, or punishing them.

"Just as the church made a horrible mistake several centuries ago, insisting that the Earth was flat when, in fact, the Earth was round, I think the church may make a major mistake in our generation saying that sexuality should be this and nothing else when, in fact, there's a lot more diversity," he said.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...