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Ted Haggard is heeeeeealed

Timothy Kincaid

January 27th, 2010

Gayle Haggard told Today’s Meridith Viera that husband Ted no longer has compulsive gay thoughts or behavior. (msnbc)

Both Ted and Gayle say that their love life was always strong. Ted has said that he learned during therapy that he had been abused by an adult male when he was a child and he was acting out that experience as an adult.

In an appearance on “Oprah,” Ted said, “The biggest thing that\’s helped me is therapy. Since that time, I have not had one compulsive thought or behavior.”

To Vieira, Gayle added, “In Ted\’s case, he had had some experiences as a child that kept replaying themselves in his mind. Once he went to therapy he was able to identify that and was given the tools to deal with it. Because of that, he no longer has those compulsions. That\’s not true for everybody. That\’s his story.”

I marvel at people who discover memories during therapy. Especially those which fit so easily into the anti-gay mantra of “gays were all abused”.

And the magical healing of “compulsions”… well, I always worry for those folk. When you think that your natural attractions are simply compulsions from which you have recovered, you then have no skills for making appropriate decisions when you are tempted to sexually betray your wife.



January 27th, 2010 | LINK

Yes, when I was younger, I always had “compulsions” to play with G.I.Joe, HeMan, and Legos. Perhaps that is because these were the toys I received for Christmas. Now, I’ve channeled these into the proper outlets of U.S. Military men, fitness instructors, and architects. (Oh, what the heck, any military men will do, I am not xenophobic, as long as they wish me no harm.)

I haven’t had “one compulsive thought or behavior” about G.I.Joes, HeMan, or Lego building blocks since. Perhaps my therapy to ACCEPT MYSELF AS A GAY MAN actually HELPED in that process.

Lindoro Almaviva
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

This kind of story just disgusts me, and Oprah disgusts me for giving this closet self hating case a platform to further confuse people.

January 27th, 2010 | LINK


Ben in Oakland
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

It doesn’t disgust me, unless he’s saying what he’s saying and knows it’s a lie. He’s certainly done that before, and there is no reason to think he wouldn’t do it again. It does betray a certain, shall we say, lack of character.

However, it may be that he has managed to convince himself that he no longer has those compulsions, because he now also believes he’s gay because he was molested, instead of the far more likely scenario that he was molested because he was perceived as gay.

Assuming that the two of them, gay and molested, had anything to do with each other at all, whch is unlikely…

…and assuming, of course, that the molestation actually happened. So convenient, and yet, ultimately, so irrelevant.

You might think he’s pulling an AC, as seems most likely to me. Mr. C is straight becuase 1) he says he is 2) if he’s not straight, at least he’s holy, and 3) and has no sexual contact with men, being faithful to his wife.

Any yet, and yet, and yet…AC also admits that he struggles. Some days he’s eating the bear, some days the bear is eating him. I’d lay money that this is where TH is– on top of it at the moment. And his wife has a book out, and he still has some mileage and money to make out of the whole sinner-redemption-struggle-evagelistic road show known as Ted’s Struggle with the HomoDemon.

Personally, I don’t understand the need to engage in this stuggle. If sexuality is a choice, then choose to be heterosexual and man enough to accept the consequences of your choice– you won’t be getting any dick and you won’t be held lovingly (or strongly) in the arms of another man. That’s called being a responsible grown up. Don’t “slip up” and don’t take it out on your wife.

Personally– and this is just my opinion as an armchair shrink: judging by his continuing roadshow, I think TH is a drama queen of the worst sort. (I don’t know if he needs to be a gay man to be a drama queen, but I’m sure it helps immensely). If I were caught with my hand in the crystal jar, so to speak, I would never show my face among those who love me again, much less parade my sex life in public to an audience who frankly doesn’t want to be titillated by it.

TH may or may not have gotten his compulsions under control, whatever that may mean. Only he knows, and will know, for sure. But I would not be surprised if we are going to have even more drama from TH for some years to come.

Same show, new song, same lyrics.

January 27th, 2010 | LINK

I’m glad my boots are tall. I sure wouldn’t want to get any of that bull
s… on my cloth’s. I was never abused by an adult as a kid. But I still like men. Ted and his wife don’t know what the truth really is. But I guess they will learn that once gay always gay.

David Roberts
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

Ted has said that he learned during therapy that he had been abused by an adult male when he was a child and he was acting out that experience as an adult.

Unless he mentioned this at some point long before he got caught, I simply don’t believe it happened.  I’m not trying to be insensitive, but blaming one’s same-sex attractions on childhood sexual experiences is just too convenient.  Having such a story is almost a requirement to be ex-gay and false memories are either suggested or created out of thin air with surprising ease.  One must scrutinize these claims very carefully as a result.  I’ve had people tell me that they were told by ex-gay counsellors that they had probably been molested and just don’t remember it, so strong is the belief in that arena.

What’s more, studies on the matter (I believe BTB reported on this but Warren did if not) do not support the claim that those who are actually molested in childhood are more likely to be gay  — they aren’t.  Like so many other parts of the reparative theory, there is an assumption that the vast majority of gays share some variation on a common theme in life to which their attractions can be attributed.  For those whose lives do not in reality fit this pattern, the urge must be strong to either give in and lie about it or, as with other false memory incidents, they actually begin to remember something that never really happened.

When you take that one is probably already distraught and deeply in conflict in order to seek out reparative therapy or ex-gay counselling in the first place, then you literally add insult to injury with all this mumbo jumbo, it’s no wonder so many end up in greater distress later on.  It’s just wrong in so many ways.

Ben in Oakland
January 27th, 2010 | LINK

David– you were much nicer about it than I was, but I think we agree.

January 27th, 2010 | LINK

If I remember correctly, this dude would fly to another city just so that he could cheat on his wife… and pay for sex. He also masturbated in front of a minor, against the minor’s will, a minor who he was supposed to be “helping” overcome same sex attractions. He sent sexually explicit text messages to the same minor… daily. He bragged to that same minor about how he abused drugs while spending all day watching porn and masturbating. He tried not to admit that there were many other inappropriate “relationships” he had created for himself by abusing his influence and power as a church leader. Being a hypocrite, he also involved himself politically to act against the interests of LGBT people, provoking his exposure.

Why is he going public with his half-baked excuses for his fall from grace? Are we supposed to believe that all his problems and poor choices are because of his curable same sex attractions? The suggestion is that all same sex attracted people need “help” and special prayers in order for them to overcome their forgotten childhood abuse experiences, or else they will become a menace to society like this dude.

May not be 100% accurate, but I needed to get it outta my system.

January 27th, 2010 | LINK

Anteros: You took the words right out of my mouth!

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

“…that’s his story…”

Now why does the one-liner joke “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” pop into my mind?

Lynn David
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

I can be happy to accept that Haggard was never ever gay. That he was molested as a youngster (seems I remember hearing when this started that he had been molested) and that has caused his acting out week after week after week while he was yet married. Certainly there are men with just that life experience.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

I mean, really… are we supposed to believe that he would be a better person and that his scandalous actions wouldnt be scandalous if he had never experienced same sex attractions? Would it have been okay if he cheated on his wife by paying a female sex worker for sex? Would it have been okay if he masturbated in front of a girl instead of a boy? Would it have been okay if he bragged to a girl about abusing drugs while watching straight porn and masturbating all day? Even if he were to claim, before the entire world, that he doesnt experience any more same sex attractions… are we to believe he is a trustworthy person whose claims can be believed? If he were to become straight as an arrow overnight, would that undo the damage done to himself, his family, his followers, the minors involved and the LGBT community? This dude really needs to quit trying to leech sympathy and money from the public by bullsh*ting his way back into the limelight.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

I was molested as a child. It messed me up. It didn’t make me gay. But among other things, it made it that much harder to figure out I was gay, to come to terms with my sexuality and become comfortable with it and not feel ashamed of it.

Peterson Toscano had a really good post on his blog a few years back called “How sexual abuse made me ex-gay.” In it, he describes a similar situation he’s observed in a number of ex-gays, including himself. Gay people who were sexually abused would be a lot more likely than gay non-victims to have feelings of uncleanness, shame and brokenness to their sexuality, and thus a greater likelihood to reject their sexuality and try to “fix” it. It’s an intriguing read that I recommend as a possible insight into Haggard’s mindset:

While I understand other commenters’ skepticism, it’s important to also consider that sexual abuse might indeed be the roots of Haggard’s problems. Just not in the way he thinks.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Well, I’m going to be charitable here, and fall back on the position that I don’t know the man, and I’m not going to second guess his situation. Was he sexually abused by someone? Who knows. Did that have anything to do with his proclivity toward sex with other men? Can’t say. Has his therapy helped him to understand such supposed mental trauma, etc.? No idea.

But I can resist the urge to assume that just because I was NOT sexually abused, and turned out gay anyways… and hate that so many anti-gay activists claim that “all gays were abused”, that all people claiming to have been abused are making up stories to normalize their self-loathing and shame, or that there aren’t incidents where such etiology is possible.

Heck, for all we know, his issues, if the abuse is untrue, could be more closely related to sexual addiction and could be genetic, but vis a vis addictive personality rather than sexual orientation. Who can say.

What I can do, however, is wish the man peace and offer him an open mind (for now), and expect that he will have learned about stigma and vilification through his experiences here… and maybe that will have made him a better man.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

“…it’s important to also consider that sexual abuse might indeed be the roots of Haggard’s problems”


Plus, I think he did apologize to gay people.

I need to curb my anger… if we were talking about a random public figure in a gay scandal, I probably wouldnt be as mad. Gotta confess, my personal experiences of hypocrisy in the church begin to haunt me when I read about this kind of thing… I get mad all over again. Not good. I just wish there was less religious hate and hypocrisy towards LGBT people.

Paul in Canada
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Having been brought up evangelical (in the most extreme way) and having gone to reparative therapy, I believe, from my own experience, there are actually 2 issues TH is (and will continue to) struggle with: 1) same-sex attraction and 2) sexual addiction. I think we’re all clear on number 1 – I especially feel badly for his wife who will be absolutely devastated when his ex-gay world comes crumbling down; but sexual addiction (straight or gay) is a life-time struggle – you aren’t miraculously healed from addiction, of any sort. Perhaps some day, TH will confront both of his realities, and get true help and healing – only then will he find true peace in his heart and his soul.

pierre denerome
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Plus ca change,plus c’est la meme chose.

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Paul- taking what your saying as a truthful foundation, TH has a familiar avatar that posts here frequently, one whose real problem is not gis gayness, his alleged effeminacy, or any of the rest of those “problems”. TH’s problem is his self hatred, and being exgay is doing nothing to deal with that, just exacerbating it.

Richard Rush
January 28th, 2010 | LINK

It is probably true that abuse in his youth caused Ted to be the fanatically religious reality-denying self-loathing homosexual that he is today. Based on the following snippet from an article in Christianity Today about Ted’s early life, it appears that the abuse came from Campus Crusade for Christ and Oral Roberts University.

“Raised in farm-town, church-attending Indiana, one of six children, Haggard was born again in high school while attending Campus Crusade’s Explo ’72. He followed up college at Oral Roberts University with a brief stint working for a West German Bible-smuggling organization.”

As David Roberts said, “. . . blaming one’s same-sex attractions on childhood sexual experiences is just too convenient.” But it seems entirely reasonable to blame his response to those attractions primarily on abuse by obsessive/compulsive Christians.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Church hypocrisy aside, what pisses me off is how the focus of his story seems to be on stereotypical gay issues… promiscuity, the DL phenomenon, substance abuse, pedophilia and childhood sexual abuse… re-inforcing those stereotypes. Blame it all on homosexuality… if he can get rid of his compulsive same sex attractions, then he wont mess up again. Homosexuality isnt the issue, but that’s how his story is being sold. At least the homosexuality aspect is given far more prominence than the actual issues and their probable underlying causes… and I’m tired of hearing it being presented that way. Maybe I’m just over-sensitive towards what I see as neatly packaged homophobia. Even if he was a victim of child abuse, his actions were still inappropriate and how he’s chosen to address them, in public, makes life more difficult for others who experience same sex attractions. Okay, time for me to forget this dude.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

Bwahahaha! Haggard is cured?

And the molestation thing on Oprah…That might have happened but I guarantee that’s not what led to him having sex with men as an adult.

I could be sexually molested by a woman and trust me–I was seduced by a chick once so I’ve had sex with the opposite gender–but that has never, ever changed my attraction to men.

Oh well, to each his own. As long as Haggard keeps his trap shut about “gays can be cured” and comes out vocally against his right-wing co-horts when they use him as an example of being “cured,” then I’m fine with it.

You can’t fault his desperate wife for saying these things. She’s trying desperately to convince the public and herself that everything is a-ok. But hey, if she feels that what she’s got is enough, then it’s her life…I just hope she’s using a condom each and every time if they’re still doing it.

January 28th, 2010 | LINK

If only he could break his addiction to donations…

January 31st, 2010 | LINK

I wonder if Ted is familiar with the word “DENIAL”. If this isn’t a case of extreme denial I don’t know what is. I find myself tied to Ted in indirect ways…
Gay, came out to wife about four years ago, going through a divorce. I must say that I feel like a more truthful human being in that I am no longer misleading my wife and ruining the life of another human by making her think that things are one way when in reality they are not. Ted Haggard apparently has no morals. His gay urges will surface again, and the odds are that his wife will finally realize years from now that her best years were wasted by a charlatan who didn’t have the balls to admit he is gay. Such behavior speaks for extreme narcissism on Ted’s part. It’s all about Ted. So what if your wife wakes up at age 70 and realizes that it was all a farce. I guess she has heaven to look forwards to!
I live about thirty miles away from him and the all powerful Focus on the Family. Ted Haggard’s “cure” fits nicely into Dobson’s playbook. See—I told you so—being gay is curable and represents psychopathology.
Haggard is nothing more than a gay man who was caught with his pants down. A man who is totally obessesed with protecting his image and who wants to resurrect another church so that he can once again live the good life. His narcissism trumps everything else. The even sadder realization is that there are suckers out there who will believe his bullshit, contribute to his new fledgling church, and help perpetuate the myth that being gay is a choice and some sort of correctable deviant behavior.
Thanks Ted for being such a great case study in self loathing and hate manifesting as denial with a nice touch of narcissism added in.

Ben in Oakland
January 31st, 2010 | LINK

Steve: Congratulations on your honesty, and being willing to give your life, and your wife’s life, the best shot.

I agree with everything you have said. But I also think that you are giving far too much– what, credit? is that the word? credible deniability? — to Gayle Haggard. She has a lot invested in him, their family, and in their life together, and all too much invested in his “cure”. When you invest in a lie, you are willing to distort reality in the service to that lie. The more you distort reality, the worse the damage.

The ex-gay myth, the haggard myth, is an exercise in distorting reality. There is always a price to pay. You lie to your partner, and maybe he doesn’t trust you the next time. You tell the people that the Jews are responsible ofr the murder of jesus and all the troubles of the world, and 6 million are murdered. you prefer to pretend that a man who molests boys is necessarily a gay man, and you provide cover to the actual perpetrators, perpetuating the problem.

There was a TV movie some years ago, I think it was called “Doing Hard Time on Maple drive.” The gay son says to his very controlling mother: “We know what we want to know.” I seem to remember reading about this recent Haggard cure– he still must check in with his wife, and he can only stay at the homes of ministers, not in hotels. so she doesn’t trust it either, and neither does he. Likewise, there is a current story of an ex-gay anglican priest He’s no longer gay, but he still has a lock on his ocmputer in case as wayward penis wants to show up.

We know what we want to know.

January 31st, 2010 | LINK

Ben, you have a good point about Gayle Haggard. Perhaps there is a more duplicitous side to the story, and she may not be the martyr that she would like people to believe she is. There is potential financial gain for both of them—she gets to write a book and to milk this travesty for all it’s worth. The story sells and results in TV appearances and so forth. He now appears to be no shrinking violet as far as the TV cameras are concerned. Maybe they both felt that they don’t really have a true marriage but do both share in the potential to generate income by capitalizing on all of this. I wouldn’t put it past him. Their version of Christianity doesn’t include vows of servitude or poverty. Like many of the pastors of mega churches, they live very comfortable lives and don’t know the meaning of sacrificing one’s wants for those of someone else. Oh well, God help the poor suckers that fall into Haggard’s trap. Ted Haggard may just be the modern day gay Uncle Tom.

Ben in Oakland
February 1st, 2010 | LINK

I didn’t– and wouldn’t– say it is all about finances, though I wouldn’t say it isn’t possible, either. I’m only saying that the drama may well be far more complex than those of us with simple lives would tolerate.

She may well love him very much, and lovretheir family very much. she may even love all of the drama a great deal.

Drama queens aren’t necessarily gay men only.

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