Ted Haggard's story metastasizes

HaggardDoc.jpgNewsweek recently published a one-page story about Ted Haggard that showed a remarkable sympathy for the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals. The story, reported by Tony Dokoupil and drawing heavily from the new HBO documentary The Trials of Ted Haggard, was especially uncritical about Haggard's claim of being mistreated by New Life Church, the Colorado Springs church he founded and built into an evangelical powerhouse:

... [W]hile he strives to turn the other cheek, full Christian forgiveness eludes him. He believes that New Life cast him away when he needed it the most. As he says in the movie: "The Church has said go to hell." Haggard now thinks that he lashed himself too hard. "I understand why when a criminal is caught they will sometimes admit to things they didn't do," he says. "I wanted to overrepent, and I think I did overrepent. In my [resignation] letter to the church I said I was a deceiver and a liar, but I hadn't lied about anything except to keep quiet about what was going on inside me."

New Life's decision to send Haggard into temporary exile makes more sense in light of these new details from Eric Gorski of The Associated Press:

Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard's former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard -- a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

... Boyd said a Colorado Springs TV station reached him Thursday to say the young man was planning to provide a detailed report of his relationship with Haggard to the station. Boyd said the church preferred to keep the matter private, but it was the man's decision to go public.

Please respect our Commenting Policy