Here is a link to a lengthy article on Ted Haggard, written by the Washington Post. Instead of focusing on the cheesy manipulations of the press by the current New Life pastor, Brady Boyd, it gives a summary of the upcoming HBO special on Haggard, and tells where his life is now. More importantly, it gives voice to his wife, Gayle, who may have a more compelling story to tell, on how she sought to find the man she thought she knew as her husband, and to forgive him.
"Now Haggard, 52, is back in the public eye, his lanky frame leaning forward on an easy chair in a penthouse suite of the Universal City Hilton as he flogs "The Trials of Ted Haggard," a documentary by Alexandra Pelosi that debuts on HBO Thursday. The striking woman on the couch to his right is his wife, Gayle, still with the pastor despite everything -- the scandal, their exile to the desert, and the continuing mystery of her husband's sexuality -- because she found in the teachings of Jesus the grace to forgive, vs. the "downward spiral" of judgment and hate.
Haggard came to the same place by an alternate route.
"My spiritual life was wonderfully empowering for me in the midst of the struggle. But it wasn't the solution," he says.
"I needed a therapist."
Its obvious that Ted Haggard is still struggling to integrate feelings that he had compartmentalized, setting up a classic polarization where he bounced from one extreme to the other, but he's also been graced with the support of his family. That's certainly more than you can say for the church that he founded, that is still making all of the wrong choices and casting stones instead of learning to forgive. You know, practicing the Christian thing... After reading all of the articles on the whole homosexual tempest in the papers, I've come to the conclusion that its much ado about nothing. I'd rather sit down and have coffee with Ted and his family than listen to a sermon by Brady Boyd, who doesn't seem to be the sharpest crayon in the box...
To celebrate, here are some dated Ted Haggard jokes:
"Ted Haggard, the minister who was caught with a gay prostitute, has just finished a three-week sex addiction program. He says he is now 'completely heterosexual.' Haggard says he will prove he is completely heterosexual by having sex only with men who are completely heterosexual" --Conan O'Brien
"I have some sad news for the gays, as they're referred to. Unfortunately, they have lost one of their own this evening -- Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher, who as you know, was caught doing meth and f**king dudes. The Denver Post is reporting that he is now 'completely heterosexual.' ... People say how did they ... turn this clearly gay man into a heterosexual? It's very simple. You know when you were a kid and your father caught you smoking. Then he decided to make you smoke a carton. Ted's been a busy boy." --Jon Stewart
"Reverend Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals, resigned his post this weekend after admitting to a three-year relationship with a gay hooker. Oh, and he also used and purchased crystal meth. Because if you're the head of a gay-hating organization and you're having a gay affair, why not go nuts?" --Jon Stewart
"Haggard was exposed by a male escort named Mike Jones, who said he was troubled by the hypocrisy of Haggard's public support for a Colorado initiative to ban same-sex marriage. And you know you're in trouble when you've ceded the moral high ground to a drug-dealing prostitute." --Jon Stewart
"This is a good rule for life: Look for whoever is the most against anything and you can almost guarantee they are that something they are against. The guy who devotes his life to fighting gay rights is gay. The guy working to pass the laws against child pornography is sending sex messages to teenage interns." --Jimmy Kimmel
"The leader of a Christian group has resigned after allegations surfaced that he frequently paid a man for sex. People are shocked because this guy's always been a critic of gay marriage. In defense, the Christian leader said, 'Hey, it's not like I married the guy.'" --Conan O'Brien
"Ted Haggard, the leader of the largest evangelical organization in America, resigned because a gay male prostitute said that he and the reverend had been having lots of meth amphetamine-fueled sex. Now the reverend did the Christian thing earlier this week and denied it. Now he says, 'Okay, I did hire a gay male prostitute, but only for a massage.' To which Mark Foley said, 'I'm even calling this one b***sh*t." --Bill Maher
"Drugs? Nude massages? Is it getting to where you can't tell the Protestant clergy from a Catholic priest?" --Bill Maher
"Over the weekend, Haggard released a statement saying he's a deceiver and a liar. See to me, I think it's way too soon to announce you're going into politics." --Jay Leno
"Pastor Ted Haggard ... has compared his gay sex scandal to John Kerry's botching of a joke last week. You think they're the same? To be fair, they both involved a slip of the tongue." --Jay Leno
"Pastor Ted Haggard, who has close ties to the Bush administration, has resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after a gay male hooker said he had a three-year paid relationship with him. In fact, this is such a huge crisis for Republicans they are now offering John Kerry $1 million to tell another joke." --Jay Leno
"They say (Haggard) used church funds to pay for the male prostitute. That's like robbing Paul to pay for Peter." --Jay Leno