He didn’t inhale!

Updated January 27, 2009 (see below)

Ted Haggard answers questions during the HBO panel for the documentary ...

Reuters photo

Ted Haggard, pictured above earlier this month, says that his sexuality is complex. (Uh, it seems pretty simple to me…) And the young man with whom Haggard claims to have had a hands-free sexual relationship was not paid hush money, but was given “compassionate assistance.”

Um, is this something like pole smoking but not inhaling? I mean, this is the same guy who claimed that he bought meth but that he never used it…

From The Associated Press today:

DENVER – Fallen evangelical pastor Ted Haggard apologized [today] for his “inappropriate relationship” with a young male church volunteer, but said it did not involve physical contact.

The newly disclosed relationship added a chapter to Haggard’s dramatic fall, which began in November 2006 when a Denver male prostitute alleged a cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Haggard confessed to undisclosed “sexual immorality” and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of New Life Church, which he founded in his Colorado Springs basement in the 1980s.

In [today’s] statement, Haggard said he met with the man two years ago and asked him “forgiveness for our inappropriate relationship.” Haggard’s wife and a representative of New Life Church attended the meeting, Haggard said.

“Although there was no physical contact, I have regretted my irresponsibile (sic) behavior,” he said.

Haggard reiterated that he wanted to ask for the forgiveness of the man and the people of the church.

The young man, now 25, declined comment to The Associated Press. He was scheduled to speak later to a local television station.

Haggard’s successor at New Life Church, Brady Boyd, disclosed details of the relationship on Friday. He said then that evidence pointed to a long-running “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” between Haggard and the man, who was in his early 20s.

[Today] Boyd clarified that “sexual” didn’t necessarily mean physical contact. The church didn’t describe what made the relationship sexual but has emphasized that any sexual relations outside of marriage — whether heterosexual or homosexual — are wrong.

“Our hearts go out to everyone hurt by the inappropriate actions that took place under former Pastor Ted Haggard,” Boyd said in a statement. “After news of Mr. Haggard’s actions broke in late 2006, church leaders publicly announced that other allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior had been made. We had not at that time and still have not to this day received any reports of physical sexual contact between Mr. Haggard and any one other than a male escort who made the initial allegations against Mr. Haggard in 2006.”

Haggard, 52, is married and has five children. In an AP interview this month, he described his sexuality as complex, and something that can’t be put into “stereotypical boxes.”

Both Haggard and the church knew the episode could be revealed. The church struck a legal settlement with the man in 2007 that paid him for college tuition and counseling — as long as he did not speak publicly about the relationship, Boyd has said. He called it “compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money.”

He said the church would not take legal action for the man for breaking the agreement.

Boyd said the church went public about the relationship only because it was contacted by KRDO, the station scheduled to air the interview [tonight]. The station has reported on its website that the man says the relationship with Haggard was not consensual.

Boyd also suggested that the man would not have come forward if the HBO documentary were not airing, and said he warned Haggard of the potential consequences during a meeting in December.

[Yesterday] Boyd told his congregation, “I’m sorry that this wound has been reopened for many of you.”

Alexandra Pelosi, director of the HBO documentary, said [today] she was sorry if that was the case.

“But this is what happens when you don’t handle things properly at the time,” said Pelosi, a daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “If the church had been 100 percent full disclosure at the time, maybe this wouldn’t be a problem now.”

She added that her film was not about Haggard’s indiscretions themselves. “My film is about what happened to a man and his family after he fell from grace.”

I have a great idea for a film about men who have fallen from grace: maybe Haggard and Illinois Gov. Rod “$enate $eat for $ale” Blahblahblahblah can make a gay — er, sexually complex — porn movie together. Without any physical contact, of course.

Update (January 29, 2009):

This today from The Associated Press:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A young man who formerly attended New Life Church says that then-pastor Ted Haggard performed a sex act in front of him in a hotel room in 2006 and sent him explicit text messages.

His hidden relationship with Haggard, the man said, was followed by a period of isolation, struggles with drinking, drugs and suicide attempts.

Those latest allegations against Haggard, once an influential national evangelical leader, were reported [last] night by KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs, which interviewed the man, now 25.

In a statement earlier [yesterday], Haggard apologized for his “inappropriate relationship” with the former church volunteer, but said it did not involve physical contact.

The newly disclosed relationship added a chapter to Haggard’s dramatic fall, which began in November 2006 when a Denver male prostitute alleged a cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Haggard confessed to undisclosed “sexual immorality” and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of New Life Church.

The latest revelations involve Grant Haas, who told the TV station that he met Haggard in 2005 when he was 22. He said he told Haggard that he had been kicked out of a Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for his “struggles with homosexuality.”

“It seemed like at that moment his eyes lit up and his whole attitude towards me changed,” he told KRDO. Reached by text message [yesterday], Haas agreed to be identified by The Associated Press. Haggard’s statement also identified him.

“I’m like, ‘This must be God,'” said Haas, who described wanting to be a pastor himself. “Why would this big guy, this big evangelical leader, be taking such an interest in me?”

Haas told KRDO that one night in Cripple Creek, a casino town west of Colorado Springs, Haggard “asked me if we were going to be godly or bad that night.” He said he told Haggard that he wanted him just to be his friend and pastor — but Haggard masturbated in front of him.

Haas also said Haggard at certain times sent him between 1,000 and 2,000 text message a month, some describing his sexual experiences and drug use from the road.

After the Haggard scandal in November 2006, Haas said he contacted the church immediately.

The church has said it struck a legal settlement with the man — it has not named Haas — in 2007 that paid him for college tuition and counseling as long as he did not speak publicly about the relationship. Brady Boyd, Haggard’s successor as pastor at New Life, called it “compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money.”

According to documents Haas provided KRDO, he is to be paid $179,000 through 2009. Haas claimed the church didn’t follow through on promises to pay for counseling and medical treatment.

“Their main focus was, you know, cover it up, don’t say anything,” he said. “You’ll regret it if you come forward.”

Haggard, in his statement [yesterday], said he met with Haas two years ago — after the first allegations came to light — and asked him “forgiveness for our inappropriate relationship.” Haggard’s wife and a representative of New Life Church attended the meeting, Haggard said….

Haas maintains a website on which he acknowledges that many people are visiting the site to learn about his experiences with Haggard. On the site, Haas identifies himself as a recent graduate from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

His resume says he was an intern at New Life Church in 2005 — the church described him as a volunteer — and currently works as an investment company as a retail account manager.

“As far as my personality, I’m a fun outgoing guy with a great sense of humor,” he says on the site. “I don’t take myself too seriously and have learned from my past experiences to laugh and enjoy life.”

Haggard, 52, is married with five children.

I don’t think I’ve read a news story with such money shots in a long time. Such quotes as “It seemed like at that moment his eyes lit up” and he “asked me if we were going to be godly or bad that night” — priceless. Even gay porn isn’t that cheesy.

The problem with Haggard’s actions isn’t homosexuality. There’s nothing wrong with the physical expression of love between two men or two women.

But Haggard is a heterosexually married closet case, and that’s a problem, because that means that he lies to everyone he comes into contact with, that his life is one big fucking lie.

And to be in a position of trust and responsibility but to use, for your own sexual gratification, your position over a younger person who trusts you (whether there is any physical contact with him or her or not) — that’s a sick kind of power trip, nothing like love.

Let’s focus on Haggard’s real crimes, which have been his lies and his abuse of power.

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1 Comment

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One response to “He didn’t inhale!

  1. RDC

    “{Haggard, 52, is married and has five children. In an AP interview this month, he described his sexuality as complex, and something that can’t be put into “stereotypical boxes.”}”

    MiGod. It’s tough to pass on shit like this. . . .
    at least he didn’t call them “average cuntholes.”

    Tho you know he wanted to.

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