Archive for Sunday, November 5, 2006

Church dismisses Evangelical leader

Board cites evidence of pastor’s ‘sexually immoral conduct’

November 5, 2006


— The Rev. Ted Haggard was dismissed Saturday as leader of the megachurch he founded after a board determined the influential evangelist had committed "sexually immoral conduct," the church said Saturday.

Haggard had resigned two days earlier as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, where he held sway in Washington and condemned homosexuality, after a Denver man named Mike Jones claimed to have had drug-fueled trysts with him. Haggard also had placed himself on administrative leave from the New Life Church, but its Overseer Board took the stronger action Saturday.

"Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct," the independent board said in a statement.

Haggard was "informed of this decision," the statement said, and he "agreed as well that he should be dismissed."

Haggard, 50, on Friday acknowledged paying Jones for a massage and for methamphetamine, but said he did not have sex with him and did not take the drug.

The statement from the 14,000-member church said the investigation would continue to determine the extent of the misconduct. The Rev. Mike Ware of Victory Church in Westminster, a member of the board, declined to characterize what investigators found but said the board did not talk to Jones.

Haggard did not answer his home or mobile phones Saturday, and neither was accepting messages.

Jones said he was saddened by the news of Haggard's dismissal.

"I feel really bad for his wife and family and his congregation. I know it's a sad day for them, too," Jones said. "I feel bad when someone has so many attachments to others. It affects everyone. I'm certainly not cheering or jumping up and down over what's happened.

"I just hope the family has peace and can come to terms with things. I hope they can continue with a happy life."

The Rev. Ross Parsley will lead the church until a permanent replacement for Haggard is chosen by the end of the year, the statement said. A letter explaining Haggard's removal and an apology from him will be read at today's services.

Richard Cizik, the evangelical association's vice president for governmental affairs, called Haggard's ouster "heartbreaking and unfortunate."

"He is a man who has done a lot of good and who hopefully after a period of repentance and counsel and spiritual restoration will have a future ministry at some point," Cizik said.

The board's decision cuts Haggard off from the massive church he founded in the mid-1980s.


BrianR 11 years, 3 months ago

"Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...

And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva...

So tweasure your wuv." --The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride

hottruckinmama 11 years, 3 months ago

right on rightthinker..those folks like that are evil. they'll take money from little old ladies to go "save the country from evil" and then turn around and do the very same thing they are preaching against. they don't have any place in politics..i don't care which party it is.

Redneckgal 11 years, 3 months ago

Except for feeling sorry for this preachers wife and kids I find this funny as h#ll. What a friggin bunch of hypocrites the republicans are.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 3 months ago

"Something new from the godless left? Reveling in the downfall of others?"

Yes, when those "others" are shameless hypocrites who spew hatred and vitriol and then engage in the very behavior they publicly condemn. Yes, reveling in the downfall of this type of "other" is fun and morally imperative.

staff04 11 years, 3 months ago

Breaks my heart...

Well, not really. Damn, when it rains it pours for these guys...

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 3 months ago

"I wonder just what GWB and the good Rev. were talking about during those phone calls?"

I imagine that the conversations were about how to lie and cheat and hide corruption and how to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. Also about how to ignore reality and lead a duplicitous life. These features seem to be what GWB and the good Rev. Haggard have in common.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if GWB is going to continue his weekly phone calls to the good Rev. Haggard?

This is just too much fun. I do feel for his wife and children, but this fundamentalist christian is getting what he deserves.

Laughing at and reveling in the downfall of hypocrites, especially fundamentalist christians who spew hatred, is fun and it is a moral imperative.

prairiepollyana 11 years, 3 months ago

Wouldn't this man be considered the CEO of the church he established? When he took the money from his followers... were they giving on what he preached? Could he be considered a white collar criminal due to his actions?

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 3 months ago

The voice of fundamentalist christianity, evangelical christianity, in America turns out to be a homosexual meth user.

The head of the National Association of Evangelicals turns out to be a gay adulterous drug user.

What good fun. Hypocrisy, tragedy, lies, duplicity, corrution. Almost like a greek tragedy (including catamites).

oldgranny 11 years, 3 months ago

I wonder just what GWB and the good Rev. were talking about during those phone calls? You know W WAS a cheerleader in college....

oldgranny 11 years, 3 months ago

Hum. Well who are the girly men now? Seems to me GOP must stand for Gay Old Party. What a bunch of hypocrites.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 3 months ago

Interesting rebuke from P-man. Very perceptive. What IS tell_it_like_(s/he thinks)it_is trying to say?

Bubarubu 11 years, 3 months ago

Whether their expressions are sincere I don't know, but right_thinker and 75x55 and Patriotman make legitimate points. The problem with Haggard is not that he is gay or engaged in homosexual activity, just as the problem with Mark Foley is not that he's gay. The problem with Haggard and Foley is that they've been such unrestrained hypocrites about their behavior. Do I care that Foley hit on another male? No. Do I care that it was an underage boy who was in a position of professional inferiority to Foley? Of course. Do I care that Haggard paid a male prostitute for some level of erotic services? No. Do I care that Haggard has spent three years as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals decrying homosexuality and using his religious standing to push political measures that punish and alienate homosexuals? Yes, I do.

Haggard should serve as the cautionary tale about demonizing homosexuality. Punishing and condemning it doesn't get rid of it and certainly doesn't change anyone's mind. There are people in our world who are gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, and many more who face questions about their sexuality. As long as we don't accept them for who they are and love them as fellow travelers, then their sexuality become something we make into a problem. Don't hate Ted Haggard. Hope instead that he comes to accept himself and stops preaching alienation.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 3 months ago

Say what you want about Clinton. But at least when he went to mess around he did it with a female!

BOE 11 years, 3 months ago

" This guy is only a closet gay.


Not really as innocuous as that. Law abiding closeted gays are many.

This guy not only supported the prostitution trade, but was also supporting the drug trade in meth, which is epidemic in Colorado.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 3 months ago

I couldn't care less that the good Rev. Haggard is gay or that he uses meth.

Hypocrisy is the key. This man, president of the National Evangelical Association, confidant of GWB, preached hatred against gays, and yet engaged in homosexual behavior.

The hypocrisy is stunning, so it is great fun and a moral imperative to ridicule this man and others who also preach hate againsty gays, mainly from the fundamentalist, evangelical christian camp.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 3 months ago

The actions of the good Rev. Haggard, President of the National Evangelical Association, confidant of President Bush, confirm the old adage of those who attack the hardest are likely to be compensating for their own behavior (e.g. the most stridently anti-gay are often "closeted" gays themselves).

The actions of Mark Foley also fit the pattern.

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