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a massage gone awry

November 26, 2012

When I blogged last week about Christian evangelical leaders becoming the black sheep

of their flocks, I thought that that would adequately inform you.  But when I reviewed the

Ted Haggard saga, I realized he deserved a post of his own.


Haggard is the son of an Indiana veterinarian who founded an international charismatic

ministry that was featured in a PBS documentary.  He was born in 1956, then born again

in 1972.  In college as a telecommunication major, he was contacted by God in his kitchen

and urged to spread the word.  Haggard switched to Oral Roberts University, graduating in



In 1984, Haggard founded the New Life Church in Colorado Springs.  By 2006 it had a

congregation of 14,000.  In November of that year, a masseur named Mike Jones alleged

that he had had sex with Haggard for three years, and that he had sold Haggard crystal

meth.  Jones said he had just found out who the minister was, and was angry that the man

of God was supporting an amendment to the Colorado constitution to ban gay marriage.


Haggard was quite specific in his denial: “I did not have a homosexual relationship with

a man in Denver . . . I am steady with my wife.  I’m faithful to my wife,” adding “I have

never done drugs — ever.  Not even in high school.  I didn’t smoke pot.  I didn’t do any-

thing like that.  I’m not a drug man.  We’re not a drinking family.  We don’t smoke

cigarettes.  We don’t socially drink.  We don’t socially drink.  We don’t have wine in

our house.  We don’t do that type of thing.”


When a voice mail revealed Haggard ordering meth from Jones, Ted recalibrated his

memory, explaining that he bought it and was tempted to use it, but threw it away —

many times.  Jones took a polygraph test that indicated he showed deception when

asked about sex with Haggard.


The test administrator discounted the results because of Jones’s stress level and lack

of sleep and food.  Haggard, however, jumped on it as absolution.  It didn’t hold, though.

He had to resign from all his leadership positions, and he was fired as Senior Pastor of

the church he’d founded.


Evangelist superstars like James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell distanced

themselves from Haggard.  The Bush Administration even felt compelled to point out

that Ted had visited the White House, but only “a couple” of times.


There have been subsequent allegations against him.  Grant Haas claimed that Haggard

had once masturbated in front of him.  New Life Church paid Haas $179,000 for coun-

seling and college tuition.


Haggard underwent “restorative” therapy with a team of other pastors to win him over

to heterosexuality.  In December, 2009, he began prayer meetings in his barn.  The

next year, he assured the world his sexual attraction to other men had miraculously

disappeared.  He dismissed the scandal in 2006 as a massage that went awry.






  1. Gordon permalink
    November 26, 2012 12:10 pm

    Ah, the man shoud be in politics. But then he probably makes more money with the prayer meetings in his barn. i love the “massage that went awry.” That phrase could have saved the careers of several congressmen, senators, and governors and made life so much easier for some — including chief execs — who stayed in office. “I did not have sex with that woman (man), _________, it was only a massage gone awry.” With only a little creativity, a noted represenative and an almost aging football star could have talked about a camera gone awry. Oh, the possibilities.

    • November 28, 2012 4:10 pm

      It’s almost up there with “I didn’t inhale” and “wardrobe malfunction”, eh?

  2. November 26, 2012 2:49 pm

    Your right, this man did indeed need a post all of his very own. I may be wrong but I was once told that there was only one man that lived his life as he preached it and that was Billy Graham. Like I said, I could be wrong there.

  3. November 27, 2012 7:33 pm

    Quite enjoyed these last several entries in particular!

    • November 28, 2012 4:25 pm

      Thanks. I’m wrapping it up Friday with a post about Oral Roberts. How could I not?

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