Thursday, November 02, 2006

NAE's Haggard Steps Aside Amid Accusations of Long Term Affair with Male Escort

The Rocky Mountain News reported VERY sad news Thursday. National Association of Evangelicals' President and senior pastor of mega church New Life Church, Rev. Ted Haggard, stepped down from his official positions pending an investigation of allegations that he engaged in a long-term affair with a former gay male escort. Here is the report in the Rocky Mountain News . . .

By Rocky Mountain News November 2, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Rev. Ted Haggard stepped aside as senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church and resigned today as president of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations by a former gay male escort that the two had a three-year sexual relationship.

The church issued a statement saying Haggard "could not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations made on Denver talk radio this morning." Haggard has said that the escort is lying.

The statement said he placed himself on administrative leave pending investigation, spiritual counsel, and a decision by the church’s board of overseers, which consists of four senior pastors of other congregations.

"I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity," Haggard said in a statement.

The former escort made the allegations in a radio talk show. The accuser claimed that he was paid money by Haggard, who he says made nearly monthly trips to Denver for sexual liaisons, that he has recorded voicemails and a letter from Haggard, and that he had also witnessed Haggard use methamphetamine.

Haggard denied ever engaging in a gay relationship in his life. "I’ve never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I’m steady with my wife. I’m faithful to my wife."

Christianity Today cited Dr. James Dobson as among those outraged at the reporting of what he sees as a baseless rumor. "It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man’s accusation," said James Dobson of Focus on the Family, headquartered in Colorado Springs. "Ted Haggard is a friend of mine and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday’s election—especially the vote on Colorado’s marriage-protection amendment—which Ted strongly supports."

Evangelicals are sadly not immune to sin, even gross sin. But acts of hypocrisy strike at the core of public confidence. We can only pray that the accusations against Rev. Haggard prove untrue. And, Rev. Haggard, his wife, and five children all stand in need of all of our prayers in these painful days of testing.


roy said...


I too hope that the allegations are false but my gut tells me probably not. Again and again we have seen those who are the most vociferous enemies of the gay community turn out to be folk who are struggling with their own sexuality.

I also find it ironic that Dobson is outraged at the reporting of baseless rumors. Didn't his organization claim that PSW was pro-gay and refused to recant even in the face of the facts?

But prayers for Rev. Haggard and his family are due regardless of the truth of the allegations. If they are true, the family will be torn apart. If they are not, it still may be difficult for them to make it through...

Dennis E. McFadden said...


I never heard the Dobson PSW comment before you mentioned it. I don't disbelieve you, just hadn't heard anything except his mention of the ABCUSA in his list of denoms that ordain homosexuals.

Unfortunately, I agree with you on the gut guess. Sadly, the Billy James Hargis brand of hypocrisy (to name someone from my youth with the same kind of problem) gives all of us on the right a VERY bad name.

Roy, as one who tends to make loud and sometimes argumentative statements myself, I'm constantly reminded that we should treat our opponents with respect as people with the same feelings and hurts as ourselves, rather than demonizing them as ciphers for our ideological views. You are quite correct, those who speak most loudly against someone else's "sin," often mask their own struggles in that area.

Today, a friend who stayed with the ABC rather than TransMin couldn't resist catty comments chortling over Haggard's fall and TransMin's affiliation with the NAE. Thanks for responding in a more pastoral way.

roy said...


if you had not heard of the incident that I mentioned, perhaps it did not take place as I heard. My knowledge of it was indirect and so may have been tainted a bit. The story I had heard went back to a property dispute in a congregation that was a part of PSW a few years ago and the portion of the congregation that ended up with the property is affirming of GLBT folk. Anyone who is interested could probably chase down the facts... which I did not do before my previous comment.

Dennis E. McFadden said...


I have only a very vague recollection of the situation, once prompt by your explanation. It rings a bell. You are probably accurate about Dobson's reaction. However, I'm not so sure that it impacted the decision making in the region.