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In light of Barack Obama’s decision to include Bishop Robinson in the Inauguration, as well as Dan Savage’s quest to come up with a sex definition for “Saddlebacking”, I thought I’d post a little update on Ted Haggard, the gay-bashing pastor who resigned from his church in 2006 after he was caught trading meth for man-love. The news comes courtesy of Andy Dehnart, a television critic and the founder and editor of Realityblurred.com, who spent last weekend in Los Angeles at a press conference for television journalists:
“You can call me Ted. I sell life insurance, if you need some.” That’s Ted Haggard, the former evangelical preacher who was fired and/or resigned from his posts after having an affair with a male prostitute and buying meth, talking to TV critics Friday here in Los Angeles.
Haggard and his family were promoting Alexandra Pelosi’s 45-minute HBO documentary “The Trials of Ted Haggard,” which debuts Jan. 29. “Now that we’ve got the freedom to answer questions, we want to answer questions,” he said. Pelosi, daughter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, revealed that “Ted had an agreement with the church that he would not tell his story, and he was recently released from that.”
As to his “trials,” the life insurance salesman and former National Association of Evangelicals president said, “I now know more about hatred than I’ve ever dreamed. And I know it doesn’t help. And I know about judgment, and I know it doesn’t help.”
Haggard said “I made the wrong decision” and that “my hope was always that I could deal with my issue on my own,” he’s “grateful now for [gay escort] Mike [Jones]’s decision to expose that, and I’m grateful for my family’s decision to be faithful to me when I wasn’t faithful to them.” His wife, Gayle, told critics that “our marriage was strong and is stronger now because of the honesty and the transparency and our ability to communicate about these things.”
As to the drugs, Haggard said, “I’m not sure what I bought. And it conflicted me. It was, I love it; I hate it. I don’t really know what to do with this.” But he said he’s convinced that “without this scandal, I had the potential of becoming dependent and increasingly compulsive, and probably really ruining my life. I certainly lost my career and my reputation.”
While Ted called his behavior “hypocrisy,” he sidestepped repeated questions about sexual orientation, including his own. “I think sexuality is confusing and complex,” he said, vaguely referencing the “very positive, constructive process” he’s going through, adding later, “I am thoroughly and completely satisfied with my relationship with my wife.” He also insisted that “all people are in equally desperate need of redemption, love, inspiration, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, those things. We are in a world that’s short on love and high on hatred and judgment, and I’ve gotten it from every side. I get it from the religious side as well as the unreligious side, and I just think we can all improve.”
Haggard‘s daughter Christy — who appeared in front of critics along with her brother, Marcus —was more direct. While she said “there was a lot of misrepresentation which resulted in a lot of confusion, a lot of unnecessary hatred towards our family,” she said later, “We were more judgmental than we are now, and people were hurt by us. And I know that a lot of people deserve a very sincere apology from our family because we are all the way we are for a reason.”