Ted Haggard clarifies his behavior
February 3rd, 2010
Writing to blogsite Phoenix Preacher, disgraced evangelical preacher Ted Haggard claims:
I am guilty of sin, but probably not the sins you think. Gayle’s book talks about the four lie detector tests I took all demonstrating that I had not had an affair with Mike Jones, had not had sexual contact with anyone in the church other than my wife or had ever groomed anyone in the church for sexual contact. I have never had a homosexual “affair” or “relationship” in my life. Mike Jones’ only lie detector test in November 2006 indicated deception, and he has since refused to take any more. All four of my lie detector tests demonstrated truthfulness.
In comments, he clarified:
I am guilty of sexual immorality and guilty of taking the drugs. I lied in two interviews: the ones during the crisis. But there have been no lies prior to (except my silence while hoping to heal this issue on my own) or after the letters were read to the church the first Sunday of November, 2006. Everything else has been precise, accurate, with an attempt to be biblical and not unnecessairly cause additional embarrassment to my wife and kids.
I went to Mike for a massage that ended up being sensual. He told me about drugs and I returned on several occasions to buy them and used them, then, by myself. Never with anyone else. That is what happened with Mike. There were, however, other one time occurances which is why I am guilty of sexual immorality but not of a three year drug induced affair with Mike Jones. Nor was there ever a desire, a plan, or any attempt for sexual contact with anyone in the church except my wife. All of these facts were validated via multiple lie detector tests
He was asked about homosexuality:
I don’t know if this is something you want to share on here…so I apologize in advance if this is off limits…but I’m asking because I have a brother…who I love very much and pray for regularly…who is homosexual. It’s such a tough issue. He grew up a PK and I don’t believe there is a more polarizing sin within “the church”…
Were you born attracted to the same sex?
Is the homosexual allegation part of the story that is correct or incorrect?
If you were born attracted to the same sex…how are you overcoming that desire?
As for the questions about homosexuality — I just don’t know. My sin issues were in direct response to trauma in the 2nd grade, but I always had heterosexual orientation and have had a normal heterosexual relationship with my wife. The homosexual portions were my responsibility but were confusing because they were contrary to everything else in my life. Since going through EMDR (Trauma Resolution Therapy) in November of 2006, I have not had any unwanted intrusive thoughts or actions. It doesn’t mean I’m perfect, it’s just that I’ve been able to respond well to the byproduct of the trauma as a child.
And found time to note that while the church has not been universally supportive of him and his wife, others were kinder.
Today Rosie was kind to, helpful to, and supportive of my wife’s decision to love and forgive me. Think of that. While the religious crowd is here insisting on the details of my sin of years ago, Rosie is on nation wide radio encourageing Gayle in her decision to love and forgive me in obedience to Christ. We all have a lot to learn.
Ted Haggard is a complicated guy. And this experience has, I suspect, molded him into someone quite different than he was. I see a more nuanced view of the world and a less assertively confidant approach.
I very much doubt that Haggard’s attractions were caused by newly recollected childhood trauma or that EMDR will prove to have much long term effect. His discussion of “homosexual portions” being in conflict suggests that he continues to view homosexuality as a “lifestyle” or as having attributes sharply different from his desires to have a family and ministry. Nor does he seem to comprehend the idea of bisexuality as an orientation.
But I also do not doubt that he has attractions to his wife which can be adequately fulfilling for a newly humbled Ted Haggard. The experiences he has gone through in the past few years are probably strong incentive to value his relationship. However, I also suspect that any assumption that his same-sex attractions are healed will only open him up to further betrayal of his vows.
And while I am disappointed that he appears to have latched onto this childhood experience explanation, I do appreciate that he has not sought to extrapolate his story (as he believes it to be) onto all other same-sex attracted persons.
If the history of disgraced preachers is anything to go by, I suspect that Ted Haggard will at some point return to ministry in a diminished capacity, perhaps pastoring a smaller church and having a more localized television presence. And his experiences with the judgmentalism and self-righteousness of many in the Christian world will likely direct him more to focus on redemption and acceptance than on sin, punishment, condemnation, and rejection.