Ted Haggard.

As mentioned during last class.

There are many examples of men like this who've made it their life's work to fight against homosexuals' rights, only to turn out to have same-sex preferences themselves. I posted a link to a list of them last term (here). Their hypocritical behaviour can likely be explained by cognitive dissonance, as explained in class.

Ted Haggard is probably the best known case. He's had a tumultuous few years since it was discovered that he was having sex with a male sex worker. GQ recently published an article about where he's at now. Here are some excerpts:


Soon after Ted signed the separation agreement, the Haggards began their exile in Phoenix, where Ted took a job as a door-to-door insurance salesman. He attended therapy sessions in which a counselor used a technique called eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to trace Ted's same-sex urges to having been molested by one of his father's employees at age 7. After just three weeks of EMDR, a member of Ted's advisory committee told The Denver Post that Pastor Ted was "completely heterosexual."

It was the sort of easily mocked, over-the-top statement that Ted might make, but he himself never actually put it in those terms. Ted has been vague about his sexuality since moving back to Colorado Springs in 2008. He says that he still believes the Bible is clear that "homosexuality is not God's best plan for people," but his stance on the issue has softened to the point of near incomprehensibility. After the camping trip, when I asked him about the wording he once used to describe his same-sex urges—in 2006 he wrote in a letter to New Life's congregation that he was warring with a "repulsive and dark" part of himself—he backtracked, saying he never meant it that way. "There's nothing repulsive to me about that world, but it's not a temptation anymore."


What bothers Jones most is that Ted is again serving as a pastor and an influencer, putting the people who trust him—especially young men—in danger. Two years ago, a New Life volunteer named Grant Haas revealed that Ted had masturbated in front of him and offered him drugs on a church trip in 2006, when he was 22, and that New Life subsequently paid him $179,000 to keep quiet. New Life later confirmed having paid Haas but insisted that it wasn't meant as hush money. (Ted denies the drug offer but admits that he masturbated in the room they shared. "I thought he was asleep," he says.)

New Life won't comment on the Haggard era, but Haas tells me over the phone that what happened with him and Mike Jones wasn't the end of it, that Ted's tenure at New Life was marked by an atmosphere of sexual impropriety. Haas has forgiven Ted, but he shares another incident, of being invited with a friend to skinny-dip in Ted's pool while Gayle was away. He also recalls Ted showing him a photo of a group of naked men from New Life's youth program standing in his office, covering themselves with books. "Everything at that church was sexualized," Haas says.


Ted may be telling the truth, but his peculiar brand of self-victimization and protestation—in which every "I messed up" is followed by a "but... "—makes it hard for people in Colorado Springs to believe that he's actually sorry for what he did. One former New Life member expressed what seems to be the general sentiment surrounding his resurgence: "I think Ted genuinely loves God, and I think he has a sincere interest in helping people, but I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth."

The rest of the article can be found here.

Sadly, it looks like Ted Haggard is still in denial about his preferences, and claims to be cured of same-sex sexual desires. It's hard not to feel bad for the guy, despite all the hate he's spread and the damage he's done.

A recent clip: