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Ted Haggard

Ted HaggardAKA Ted Arthur Haggard

Born: 27-Jun-1956
Birthplace: Yorktown, IN

Gender: Male
Religion: Born-Again Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Bisexual [1]
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Outed evangelist

After attending Oral Roberts University, Ted Haggard spent five years at Bethany Baptist Church in Baker, Louisiana. While on a camping trip near Colorado Springs, Haggard felt a divine presence urging him to remain in the area, and founded his New Life Church in the basement of a Colorado Springs home in 1985. Haggard bought oil in bulk for anointings and literally turned cartwheels as part of his charismatic style, and attendance outgrew his basement within weeks, forcing moves into progressively larger rented spaces. New Life Church now owns a huge building that seats 8,000, and is just down the street from the headquarters of James Dobson's Focus on the Family.

Haggard and Dobson have long professed their friendship, and like Dobson Haggard tilts conservative politically. He has urged followers to read books by Pat Robertson and Phyllis Schlafly, Newt Gingrich and Dinesh D'Souza, and Haggard's own books include Dog Training, Fly Fishing, and Sharing Christ in the 21st Century and Primary Purpose: Making It Hard for People to Go to Hell from Your City.

Christianity Today called Haggard "the National Association of Evangelicals' optimistic champion of ecumenical evangelism and free-market faith." Haggard says "Free markets have done more to help poor people than any benevolent organization ever has." Jesus, of course, said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth ... for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" and told a rich man to "go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." Haggard, though, responds to such criticism by saying that we understand economics much better now than in Christ's time, basically endorsing the "trickle down" theory that great wealth for a few helps even the poorest in society. "Jesus was in the 1st century," Haggard has explained, "and we're in the 21st century".

Prior to his resignation, Haggard had been called the second-most powerful evangelical leader in America, just slightly behind Dobson. Haggard was elected President of the NAE in 2003. The group was founded just after World War II, in an effort to foster cross-denominational support instead of public disputes over the different doctrines of different churches. It now includes 43,000 churches with about 30,000,000 members in 51 denominations, and The Wall Street Journal reports that Haggard has "an advisory role" in the Bush-Cheney White House.

In November 2006, Pastor Ted Haggard resigned from his leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals, America's largest evangelical group, and stepped down from the pulpit of his 14,000-member New Life Church amid allegations that he had paid for regular trysts with a gay prostitute. Haggard had long been an outspoken critic of "the homosexual lifestyle".

Denver resident Mike Jones, a professed male escort, alleged that Haggard had been a regular customer, calling him about once each month and paying for sex, and that Haggard had asked Jones to supply him with methamphetamine. Jones said he knew his customer only as "Art", which is Haggard's middle name. Even as he resigned, Haggard denied the allegations, announcing to reporters, "I've never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I'm steady with my wife, I'm faithful to my wife." The following day, though, his church's acting pastor sent an email to members, stating that Haggard had "confessed" to church elders that "some of the accusations against him are true".

Subsequently Haggard agreed to a spiritual rehabilitation program personally overseen by Rev. Jack Hayford, Tommy Barnett, and James Dobson. (Two days later Dobson quit the team, claiming that his schedule wouldn't allow his participation.) For his part, Haggard followed his program for two years before quitting abruptly. His former church issued a statement claiming "the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and [New Life] maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry."

Asked to define his sexuality in a 2009 interview, Haggard declared: "The stereotypical boxes don't work for me. My story's got some gray areas in it. And, of course, I'm sad about that but it's the reality." In her 2010 autobiography, Haggard's wife Gayle acknowledged his gay affairs and explained that he had suffered from unwanted homosexual urges for most of his life. But, she wrote, he had been cured of gayness through prayer and conditioning. Contrariwise, Haggard told GQ: "I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual."

Haggard started a new church in 2010, called St. James Church and operating out of Colorado Springs. His first few sermons were preached in a barn on his property, but after insurance issues were raised about holding services in the barn, his congregation of several hundred followers was relocated to the city's Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts.

[1] "I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual... [But] I'm 54, with children, with a belief system, and I can have enforced boundaries in my life. Just like you're a heterosexual but you don't have sex with every woman that you're attracted to, so I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied." Interviewed by Kevin Roose, The Last Temptation of Ted, GQ magazine, February 2011.

Wife: Gayle Alcorn (one daughter, four sons)
Daughter: Christy
Son: Marcus
Son: Jonathan
Son: Alex
Son: Elliot
Slept with: Michael Forest Jones (according to published reports)

    University: Oral Roberts University (1978)
    University: University of Phoenix

    Arlington Group
    National Association of Evangelicals President (2003-06)
    Promise Keepers
    Born-Again Christian 1972
    Time Magazine 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America
    Raped (age 7)
    Evolution Skeptics
    Risk Factors: Methamphetamine, Glossolalia

    Constantine's Sword (24-Jun-2007) · Himself
    Jesus Camp (15-Sep-2006) · Himself
    Root of All Evil? (9-Jan-2006) · Himself

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