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Ted Haggard Fall-out Continues; Jesus Camp Shut

Pentecostal Pastor Becky Fischer's summer camp, featured in the recent documentary Jesus Camp, which we featured on the site a few weeks ago, has not survived Ted Haggard's gay escort scandal and will be shut down, for at least a few years. Haggard appeared in the film, preaching against homosexuality.

Said Fischer: "Right now we're just not a safe ministry."

They were never a safe ministry. Is it safe to indoctrinate children with hateful ideas? I think not. More revolting clips here.

Radar Online posts a revealing interview with gay escort Mike Jones today, in which Jones says that he believes Haggard's good friend James Dobson, the virulent anti-gay pastor who heads Focus on the Family, is gay as well.

Said Jones: "Dobson doesn't want any connection with him. Since this happened, lots of people have asked me if I think Dobson is gay, too. My answer to that is yes."

Dobson recently announced he would be leaving the team overseeing counseling for Ted Haggard. Said Dobson: "Emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help - but the reality is I don’t have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility." No time to minister the healing power of Jesus to a fellow pastor? For shame! I guess Dobson understands the reality of the situation in more ways than one.

MikejonessantaJones also says he has received no contact from gay organizations like the Human Rights Campaign: "I don't know, but I can tell you that I am disappointed—and kind of hurt. You know, I put my life, my body on the line to expose this guy, and I expected some support from these organizations. At the very least some concern or contact."

But ironically, he's been thanked by people from Haggard's New Life Church: "When I was on a radio program down in Colorado Springs, they all thanked me. In fact, when I was checking into the hotel in Colorado Springs last night, the desk clerk, he goes, 'Are you the Mike Jones of....' I answered, 'Maybe.' And he said, 'I want you to know that I am from the New Life Church.' And he extended his hand and said, 'Thank you. You did us a service for Ted and our church so he can get the help he needs.'"

You may have missed...
Ted Haggard Letter: "I am Guilty...a Deceiver and a Liar" [tr]
Ted Haggard: Bought Meth, Didn't Use It; Received Massage, No Sex [tr]
Mike Jones Fails Lie Detector Test on Ted Haggard But Test Administrator Doubts Test's Accuracy [tr]
Ted Haggard Voicemails Analyzed; Pastor Admits to Indiscretions [tr]
Evangelical Leader Ted Haggard Steps Down After Gay Escort Claims They Had a Sexual Relationship for Three Years [tr]

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Comments

  1. It does seem odd that the very first question on the 'ask the pastor' (Mr. Dobson) is...'How as a gay man can I join the Church'.

    Odd is all I'm saying.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 10, 2006 12:07:10 PM


  2. Sorry, I meant to say on the 'Focus on the Family' website.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 10, 2006 12:09:51 PM


  3. 'Thank you. You did us a service for Ted and our church so he can get the help he needs.'

    WTF? Sorry, but that sounds like bullshit to me. "the help HE needs"??? What he NEEDS is to accept himself and move on. Maybe go back and repair some of the damage caused by his hate mongering. Maybe HELP some of the gay teens who want to kill themselves because of the self loathing they have as a result of what he was preaching.

    Seriously, I don't want to seem bitter, but New Lifers need to wake up. Yes Haggard needs help, but not the kind of "recovery" help that they insinuate.

    Posted by: JR | Nov 10, 2006 12:17:22 PM


  4. That Mike Jones is surprised by the lack of embrace by the gay 'community' is pretty sad (for a man his age.) Doesn't he know he's not the right kind of gay? We only want a certain class of gays. We can only be perfect gays, young gays, beautiful gays, generally smooth six-packed gays, predominately white (or at least one white-parented) gays, or best of all, straight gays. We must never be sexual gays (only discretely leering gays), never be emotionally challenged gays, never addicted gays, always victimized gays, always successful gays (but still deserving of so much more gays). Most of all, we only want gays who talk the game of putting 'it' on the line as gays without ever having put anything on the line gays. Mike needs to understand that anything less than this EXTREMELY simple criteria just isn't the role models that we need for our GAY YOUTH. We MUST think about the YOUTH gays after all...just don't think about them too much unless we can convince the mirror that we're not REALLY all that much older than the youth gays, if we do a few more crunches, and flex just-so gays while dancing at the A-House gays. Silly silly Mike. A meth addled, overage whore putting himself out there..who exactly does he think he IS??? CLEARLY he's not one of US!!!!! How will we ever get the approval we need? As rotten as most christians can be, they sometimes understand humility and forgiveness. Our kind of gays simply cannot have that.

    Posted by: PSMike | Nov 10, 2006 12:25:20 PM


  5. I'm still confused. What type of help is the Church going to give their former leader?

    The man is a closeted homosexaul. Are they going to help him come to terms with that. Do they think they can otherwise fix him?

    Strange and spooky how that particular Church has embraced this. I'm trying to see the good. I really am.

    Posted by: Marc | Nov 10, 2006 12:26:40 PM


  6. It's good to hear that Kids on Fire was shut down. They can't brainwash these children any further.

    Posted by: Karim | Nov 10, 2006 12:28:25 PM


  7. When Pastor Becky Fischer stated "Right now were just not a safe ministry" was she refering to the camp or the fear that they would all be brought out of the closet?

    I saw Jesus Camp, the scariest horror movie of the year, and that woman had my gaydar ringing off the hook! Bells and whistles my friends, bells and whistles.

    Posted by: Roman | Nov 10, 2006 12:30:03 PM


  8. Radar Online's editted the interview.

    "Reverend James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, basically said he didn't have time to help save this man, who had been one of his closest friends—

    Dobson doesn't want any connection with him. Since this happened, lots of people have asked me if I think [Haggard] is gay. My answer to that is yes."

    Posted by: Iko | Nov 10, 2006 12:30:03 PM


  9. I'm with JR. WTF? "The help he needs"??? Reminding the straight conservative folks that we're "sick" is EXACTLY why the domestic partnership referendum in Colorado failed this week.

    While I totally support the outing of these hypocrites, the spin this one has taken has hurt us as a community. We don't need to give airtime to anyone who says that being gay is just a sickness that can be cured.

    Posted by: Ladd | Nov 10, 2006 12:30:07 PM


  10. Have they changed the transcript? It now reads:

    Q: Reverend James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, basically said he didn't have time to help save this man, who had been one of his closest friends—

    A: Dobson doesn't want any connection with him. Since this happened, lots of people have asked me if I think [Haggard] is gay. My answer to that is yes.

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 10, 2006 12:31:39 PM


  11. I do believe Mr. Jones choice of professions (male prostitute) does make him a less sympathetic character in all this.

    It's funny, the bible would tell you not to judge anyone less you be judged. How hard it is to follow the teachings of the bible.

    I for one applaud Mr. Jones for having the guts to do what he knew was right for himself and the gay community. While not a fan of his career choice (too superficial for me), I am a fan of his courage.

    Posted by: Ogden | Nov 10, 2006 12:33:16 PM


  12. I assume that Haggard will need help for his meth addiction at any rate. There will be no cure for his man addiction though, rest assured. The interview no longer states that Jones thinks Dobson is gay, and how would he know anyway?

    Posted by: Anon | Nov 10, 2006 12:46:38 PM


  13. Mr. Jones would only know if Mr. Dobson was a massage client. I hear another shoe about to hit the woodfloors next to the ol' beddo.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 10, 2006 12:52:57 PM


  14. Mr. Jones is to be commended for his actions, but of course, the HRC won't be there to support him. Hell, they fired the guy who was resposible for outing Foley; they won't touch Jones. Otherwise, the world might get the idea that HRC is supporting the gay community, and we can't have that. Regardless, Jones did our community, and in my opinion, the Rev. Haggard and his family, a great service and he deserves only our thanks. It will likely take a while, but the Rev. will eventually thank him. Sadly, that "while" will be extended so long as Haggard seeks "help" from those Christians he hangs out with. They are a bad influence, and they will cause him and his family only further heartache.

    Posted by: Kyle Childress | Nov 10, 2006 12:55:22 PM


  15. The HRC has done a 'few' good things. However, it has turned into nothing but a reason for fags to dress up and appreciate each other. YAWN. We all do that every Friday night. I urge all monies donated to go to a better cause.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 10, 2006 12:58:12 PM


  16. i'm sorry ogden. being a prostitute is superficial? what if he worked at the gap? or was an orthodontist? or a lawyer? are those somehow less "superficial"?

    he provides a service for which he is paid. no different than anyone else.

    Posted by: Eric | Nov 10, 2006 1:14:01 PM


  17. As noted before, some of those better causes can be found at www.matthewshepard.org; www.glsen.org; www.pflag.org; www.victoryfund.org, and www.ngltf.org.

    Perhaps someone else already remembered it, but Roman's comment about the woman in "Jesus Camp" reminded me that the recently "lanced" Neil Patrick Harris played the "ex-gay" "conversion" group leader named Bill that Jack wanted on a great "Will & Grace" episode. Dobson's group, of course, publicly condemned it.

    SCENE: Jack & Rosario's bedroom; Jack & Karen reading a flyer.
    JACK: [READING] "We noticed your homosexuality. Make the choice to be straight. Gay is not the way"? Jennifer Jason Leigh, these people are freaks!
    KAREN: Yes. And it looks like your new sweetie has turned his back on homosexuals. And not in the good way. [TO THE CROSS ABOVE JACK AND ROSARIO'S BED.] Don't listen.

    SCENE: Bill and Jack have been watching a ballgame on TV.
    BILL: Man, that was a great game. [TURNS THE TV OFF.]
    JACK: Yeah. So, wanna hit the showers?
    BILL: What?
    JACK: You know, like they're doing.
    BILL: Jack, I don't think that's appropriate.
    JACK: What are you talk... It's just a couple of naked straight guys soaping each other down.

    VIDEO CLIP AT http://www.durfee.net/will/media/WelcomeBackHome.wmv
    And a short outtake: http://www.durfee.net/will/media/0220-Outtake-150.wmv

    Posted by: Leland | Nov 10, 2006 1:42:21 PM


  18. Since the start of this whole Haggard "thing", I've been sort of concerned for Mike Jones.

    Someone like Haggard has all those mindless Evangelicals who'll back him up and support him until they think they've "cure" him.

    What's Mike Jones got show for his trouble? Pretty lousy way to have to spend your 15 minutes of fame.

    I hope that Mr. Jones has a strong network of people around him that care and are supportive. Not matter what anyone does for a living and how we view it, we need to respect someone when they do the right thing.

    Posted by: Mike_in_Lancaster | Nov 10, 2006 2:04:26 PM


  19. To quote a famous song, "You nad me, we're both the same. we just call ourselves by a different name." Mike Jones deserves support, not judgement. Gay folks too often eat their own, another expression of internalized judgement/hatred.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Nov 10, 2006 2:09:54 PM


  20. A recent column by San Francisco columnist Mark Morford. Cute and cutting. MY kind of man!

    God Hates Gay Evangelicals
    Will Pastor Ted's love of hot man sex open the narrow mind of the religious right?
    - By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
    Wednesday, November 8, 2006

    Let's assume it's all true. Let's assume that Ted Haggard is just deliriously, stupidly, crazyjuicy gay. I know, not much of a stretch, but let's go with it.

    Yes, Pastor Ted, disgraced former leader of 30 million blithely homophobic evangelical Christians, yet another of those flamboyant semi-insane Liberace-with-a-Bible megachurch preachers, a man who had weekly conference calls with George W. Bush, a man who lobbied Congress on behalf of homophobic Supreme Court nominees, Ted has had so much gay sex with a male prostitute it makes Mark Foley look like child's play (so to speak). Fair enough?

    Furthermore, let's assume the reaction of Haggard's stunned flock is also true, that many of his devout Christian set are "devastated" and "shocked" and "pulverized" and "beaten with God's own giant rod of icky homo scariness" (note: quotes not verified) about Ted's utter obvious gayness.

    So, assuming all that, what's left? How about one overarching question: Will it make a difference? Will it be enough to effect any sort of ideological or spiritual change among the uptight and the sexually rigid? In short: Will God shake anyone awake?

    In other words, will Haggard, one of the most high-profile and influential Christians in America, and his evident love of men be enough to flip some sort of switch in the rigid Christian fundamentalist mind-set and slap them out of their ideological coma and maybe begin to tip the scales back toward, oh, I don't know ... let's say open-mindedness, generosity of spirit, happy grinning homosexual acceptance and an understanding that God doesn't give a flying evangelical crap about gender? Do you already know the answer?

    Because this is, in a way, what it comes down to. A massive, hurtful hypocrite of Haggard's stature and influence comes to light, and you can only hope for, well, something. A shift. A hint of awakening, of movement, of evolution. An increase of urgent calls to the gay-love hotline from the GOP. You know, something.

    Here's the bad new: Keep on waiting.

    And here is your simple proof: Go right now and read some of the white-hot comments in SF Gate's Culture Blog about this very story and be amazed, and saddened, as you enjoy a very revealing snapshot of Bush's America that will make you laugh and sigh and shake your head in wonder. Go ahead. Log on and read. I'll wait.

    First, of course, you must sift through all the gleeful comments from all those who cannot help but love to see the epic hypocrisy of one of the nation's foremost gay-bashing fundamentalists laid bare. I know, it's a pretty enthusiastic outpouring. How could it not be?

    And then ... ahh, there they are. The Christian apologists. Here is where you read about how "real" Christians are saddened. They are heartbroken. They are apologizing for Haggard's actions, defending him, saying we all make mistakes, we are all sinners who deserve forgiveness, saying gosh golly the good Lord tests us in mysterious and painful ways and we should have love in our hearts, etc., etc., on and on.

    (And by the way, man alive, do evangelical Christians love them some forgiveness. It is like some sort of drug. It's like spiritual crystal meth. They cannot get enough. The New Life crowd actually cheered Haggard, through their tears, as his pitiable apology was read aloud to the congregation and as he confessed his "repulsive" sins. They cheered.)

    But there's a catch. Because this is what you will not see: You will not see a single comment from a Christian or would-be Christian that says: Hey, you know what? Maybe this gay love thing we've all been railing about and making laws against and rending our flesh over for so long, well, maybe it isn't such a bad thing after all.

    It's as sad as it is obvious. You'll find no evangelical, no Christian leader anywhere coming out and saying: Let's do something different. Let's take this shocking Haggard scandal as a cosmic sign, as a big rainbow-colored warning flag that maybe, just maybe we need to look at this gay issue with a little more love and a little less nauseating pseudo-spiritual homophobic dogma. Maybe now is the time to rethink this hateful ideology that has kept us so deep in fear and mistrust and sexual agony for so long. Can I get a praise Jesus?

    Yes, I realize it is quite a lot to ask. I realize it would take a Herculean effort on the part of a segment of people entirely unused to nuanced, radical introspection, a huge pinch to the nipples of uptight righteousness. But oh, the possibility.

    Or imagine this: Imagine if Ted Haggard himself had the nerve, the brass spiritual cojones to stand his little gay butt up there on the New Life stage and say: OK people, here's the deal: Aside from the fact that I cheated on my wife and lied to the world and jammed homophobia down your throat for years and fought like the devil to make America more uptight and insular and afraid of its own genitalia, I have to say this: There really is nothing at all wrong with feeling deep, sexual love for another man.

    Actually (he could add), it can be quite a beautiful thing, rich and rewarding and full of God and life and love. It is not a sin. It is not a threat to marriage, or children, or humanity, or your macho pickup truck, or your tidy minivan 'n' shopping mall life. Let me be your new example. Let me preach a new sort of understanding. And let it begin right now.

    Can you imagine? Wouldn't that be shocking? Gratifying? Boundary shattering?

    Is it not, alas, just another warm and fuzzy liberal dream? Because here is what we got instead:

    "The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life."

    And there you have it. "Repulsive and dark," and he ain't talkin' about his lousy haircut or the fact that his kids will be in therapy for the next 17 years or about cheating on his wife for so long, even though oh my God what kind of woman wouldn't notice her husband staring at photos of Brad Pitt just a little too longingly -- oh right, the kind who's married to a very, very wealthy and powerful preacher who has made life so rich and comfortable for her she is willing to overlook, well, just about anything. Just a guess.

    Nope, Ted's talkin' about homosexuality. Ted's talkin' about feeling deep sexual urges toward another man. He's talking about how evil and repulsive and disgusting it is to, well, to be his true self.

    In other words, he's talking about the kind of sexual repression, self-denial and self-loathing you normally find in psychology textbooks and in movies like "American Beauty" and back at fun, happy places like, oh, say Brigham Young University, where until recently they liked to attach electrodes to students who admitted to homosexual feelings in a loving attempt to try and torture the gayness out of them.

    Sadly, Haggard's pathetic apology uses the exact same kind of language. It is, in its way, hate speech. Self-hate, hatred of gays, hatred of the sexual urge, hatred of his own body -- but also hatred of a world, a culture that will not let Haggard live his life as he really is, even though -- and here's the real karmic kicker -- even though he's one of the very people who helped make it that way.

    Oh Ted, you poor, lost little gay man. Can you really not see the light? Won't anyone?

    Posted by: Leland | Nov 10, 2006 2:41:44 PM


  21. I'd like to say I'm surprised about HRC, but I'm not. What can we say about an organization that supported Joe Lieberman and once supported anti-gay Republican Alfonse D'Amato of NY? They want $$$...that's it. Mike Jones can't be trotted out at fund raisers because the high and mighty queens with the big bank accounts (the type that would HIRE Mike, but snub him at a restaurant) might be offended.

    Our community needs to rethink it's prejudices and attitudes and embrace EVERYONE, especially people as brave as Mike Jones. Please send HRC a note and tell them how disappointed you are in their behavior--I certainly will.

    Posted by: Nathan | Nov 10, 2006 2:46:31 PM


  22. Ya know, there might just be a movie in this story somewhere, about a closeted gay man or two cheating on their naive wives for several years, set somewhere in the West, maybe Colorado, or maybe elsewhere. Hmmm... do you think it will sell? It would need a happy ending, wouldn't it?

    Posted by: Anon | Nov 10, 2006 3:14:46 PM


  23. The reason that the Haggard story isn't going to change any Christian minds is that the gay sex is linked to prostitution and drug use. Many more positive gay role models are needed in order to bring the Bible crowd around.

    Posted by: Chesnut | Nov 10, 2006 3:20:08 PM


  24. Y'see, when I heard Jesus 'Camp,' I just assumed they meant...

    This is just my latest Excuse of the Day...
    http://pastorted.cf.huffingtonpost.com

    Posted by: Pastor Ted | Nov 10, 2006 3:24:45 PM


  25. In spite of the fact that Mike Jones was ( he claims to have quit) an escort (his choice of words) and drug dealer/facilator/probable user as well (seems unlikely that only the reverend was doing meth when they were having sex for 3 years), let's not forget that this man has done us all a great service by exposing the hypocrisy of this one time leader of a 30 million strong Evangelical movement which works daily to denegrate who we are, discriminate against us and limit our rights and privileges as citizens. We need to do everything we can to encourage others to shed light on the state of our existence and our struggle as gay men. That is: The people who deign to do us the most harm are often closeted, self loathing gay men. Historically, Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover come to mind. Presently, Marc Foley, David Dreir and possibly Ken Mehlman (if Bill Maher is to be believed) are but a few of the closeted leaders who work against us.

    In a recent interview with Radaronline.com, Mike Jones was asked: So no one from the Human Rights Campaign or The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has even called you? At the very least they could invite you to a chic cocktail party with David Geffen.

    His response: I'd be happier if they bought me a loaf of bread and some peanut butter.

    (You can read the whole interview here: http://radaronline.com/features/2006/11/confessions_of_an_angry_hustler_rev_ted_haggard.php)

    This guy, who I consider a hero, is broke, and has jeapordized his ability to support himself by doing something very courgeous which benefits us all. It would be great if there were a place or forum where we all could donate a little money to him...a reward for his great service. (Much the same way that MoveOn was able to raise $27million through small donations.) Maybe we could even start a fund to reward others for outing these enemies in our struggle for equality.

    Just a thought.

    Posted by: Rico | Nov 10, 2006 4:22:19 PM


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