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Evangelical Leader Ted Haggard Steps Down After Gay Escort Claims They Had a Sexual Relationship for Three Years

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Prominent anti-gay evangelical Pastor Ted Haggard, the head of a "megachurch" with ties to the White House, stepped down today as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after gay escort Mike Jones claimed he had a three-year "sexual business" relationship with Haggard. Jones also told a radio show host that he has recorded voicemails and a letter from the pastor, and claims that the Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence on several occasions.

HaggardHaggard is the founder of the 14,000-member New Life Church based in Colorado Springs. He is married with five children.

Think Progress notes: "Haggard is president of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing more than 30 million conservative Christians. Time Magazine ranked him as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals and Harper’s contributing editor Jeff Sharlet noted, 'No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted.'"

Haggard also has ties to the White House and claims he has "direct access" to George Bush, and can get the President to return his phone calls within 24 hours.

Here's a video of Haggard preaching against homosexuality from the recent documentary Jesus Camp:

I guess now we may know what pastor Ted did last night too.

Haggard responded to Jones' claims: "I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver. I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife. I don't know if this is election year politics or if this has to do with the marriage amendment or what it is, but I'm not even the guy who will investigate it or question it. I don't know what the dynamics are, but this independent group will come in and do that."

Jones said he felt he had to come forward and expose the hypocrisy: "People may look at me and think what I've done is immoral, but I think I had to do the moral thing in my mind and that is expose someone who is preaching one thing and doing the opposite behind everybody's back."

Man claims 3-year sexual relationship with pastor [9news]

Jones interview [wmv - 9news]
Haggard interview [wmv - 9news]

(thanks joemygod)

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Comments

  1. Boy, I'd sure love it if this turns out to be true. Another hypocrite unmasked.

    How do these people deal with so much self-loathing?

    Posted by: Larry | Nov 2, 2006 1:22:22 PM


  2. I love this stuff. Hope it truns out to be true.

    Posted by: chimpokeyman | Nov 2, 2006 1:25:44 PM


  3. wait - the gayfaced guy on the right is 'anti-gay?' i've seen everything.

    Posted by: rr3 | Nov 2, 2006 1:29:28 PM


  4. why would anyone pay to have sex with Mike Jones? seems like it would be the other way around. I'm with you RR3, Haggard = total gay face!

    Posted by: scooter | Nov 2, 2006 1:32:46 PM


  5. I am skeptical of the claim made, particularly this close to the election, but Haggard's denial phrasing "in Denver" is very Clintonesque. Unlikely to become a national headline. The escort should be able to back up his claim with facts only an intimate would know.

    Posted by: Anon | Nov 2, 2006 1:39:16 PM


  6. Scandalous! lol

    Posted by: David Goulart | Nov 2, 2006 1:40:17 PM


  7. Can Jones prove this? A sexual business relationship--does he have receipts? It should be proven beyond a shred of doubt.

    I love the sub-context of the rebuttal from the good pastor: "I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver (but don't ask me about Boulder!)".

    Posted by: LiamOg | Nov 2, 2006 1:46:38 PM


  8. Ok, I'm confused... Jones is the hustler and Haggard's the preacher..or Haggard's the hustler and Jones is the preacher? Oh, that's right...he's a evangelical preacher...so they're both hustlers.

    Looks and sounds more like a Sugar-Daddy boyfriend than a John to me. What?, he'll swallow but not kiss? Must be more to this story than's been revealed....

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Nov 2, 2006 1:50:25 PM


  9. I love to see a hypocrite exposed, especially a virulent anti-gay one...


    Just curious... can Mike Jones be prosecuted now that he has admitted to prostitution?

    Posted by: Greg | Nov 2, 2006 1:55:13 PM


  10. Ohhhh, Americablog says Mike has voice mails and letters to back it up... fun,fun,fun...

    Posted by: Greg | Nov 2, 2006 1:56:47 PM


  11. Haggard was in JESUS CAMP, if any of you saw that movie.

    Posted by: cd | Nov 2, 2006 1:58:09 PM


  12. Denver escort Mike Jones may not be very pretty but he has a big big talent. Pastor Ted was probably excellent at worshipping it and lifting his knees to Jesus while getting a sermon on the Serta.

    Posted by: ggreen | Nov 2, 2006 1:59:48 PM


  13. Yawn, which of these right wingnuts isn't on the DL?

    Posted by: James | Nov 2, 2006 2:10:28 PM


  14. Love it if this is true. Same old dynamic we've seen countless times. And, IMHO, Jones does look "straigther" than Haggard.

    Posted by: dave | Nov 2, 2006 2:24:30 PM


  15. Time for Haggard to go hide out in rehab for a while, I'm guessing.

    Posted by: Glenn | Nov 2, 2006 2:27:19 PM


  16. Glenn,
    Only after he blames a priest for molesting him first...

    Posted by: Gryphon773 | Nov 2, 2006 2:29:11 PM


  17. Oh, I can't wait to hear the phone messages!!!! Jones will be doing a polygraph live on the radio tomorrow morning (weird, I know).

    Lord, I haven't gone to church in years since I really don't believe in you, but if this is true, I swear I'll think of you next time a pass one of your houses of worship in my neighborhood.

    Lord hear my prayer.

    Posted by: Marco | Nov 2, 2006 2:37:19 PM


  18. Is it me or does Haggard look like Ted Casablanca?

    Posted by: gay is the new straight | Nov 2, 2006 3:00:30 PM


  19. how likely is it that if this is true it can be proven? I'd love for it to be so, but very often in cases like this no hard evidence (excuse the pun) ever surfaces and the story just fades away.

    Posted by: JR | Nov 2, 2006 3:12:02 PM


  20. Yes, this guy is fudging -- heh -- like Foley and Bill Bennett and cokehead Duhhbya...clearly another self-hating rethug troll.

    Posted by: bababoom | Nov 2, 2006 3:20:39 PM


  21. Check out this video clip if you have any doubts that Haggard is a delusional kook and a closeted homo (notice how the boys at his church look like they are worshiping him rather than worshiping with him):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNjfpoRZpE

    Posted by: Zeke | Nov 2, 2006 3:47:24 PM


  22. For my fellow classic country music fans, it's hard to miss the obvious "Haggard and Jones together again" angle.

    Merle (RIP) and George would be so proud!

    Posted by: Zeke | Nov 2, 2006 3:50:35 PM


  23. LMAO these comments are some of the funniest you guys have ever made on one of Andy's posts! Hilarious!

    Posted by: Derrick | Nov 2, 2006 4:40:41 PM


  24. Should this turn out to be true, I hope he is exposed on a level that would make Foley blush!!! I am not a fan of "outing" anyone as it is the most personal thing anyone can do. However, if you are a public figure with influence like Haggard has, then out you go! NOTHING ANGERS ME MORE THAN SOMEONE PREACHING AGAINST THE VERY THING THEY ARE IN AN EFFORT TO HURT THE REST OF US! I am trying to maitain that he is innocent until proven guilty, but I know too many married men that play on the side so it is not a stretch to believe the allegations. If you want to live your life in the closet, and I have, that is perfectly fine with me. Try to drive me back into the closet with your "hate preaching" all the while you are playing on the side and it is on! Sorry Zeke for losing my religeon on this one but it sickens me that men get away with butchering us in public and playing with us in private! Grow some balls and come out!!!! If this is true then to hell with Haggard!

    Posted by: RB | Nov 2, 2006 5:02:26 PM


  25. Interesting that the five or six times Haggard mentions being investigated by the independent "Board of Overseers," he always mentions being fired/dismissed or disciplined by his church first, and then mentions the possibility of being exonerated of the charges. Haggard even entertains the idea that the Board might find the Jones story credible. The decision may be out of his hands now, but wouldn't you be stressing your inevitable exoneration if you knew that the charges were completely erroneous? Pretty suspect, creepy Ted.

    Posted by: GBM | Nov 2, 2006 5:04:42 PM


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