A male prostitute alleges that he had a three-year relationship with prominent right-wing evangelical leader Ted Haggard, who has said that homosexuality is a “sin” and “devastating for the children of our nation and for the future of Western civilization.” Haggard denies the allegation.
Haggard is president of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing more than 30 million conservative Christians. Time Magazine ranked him as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals and Harper’s contributing editor Jeff Sharlet noted, “No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted.”
Every Monday, Haggard participates in a conference call with members of the Bush administration. He has stated, “I’m a right-wing religious conservative. … I joke that the only disagreement I have with George Bush is on what type of truck to drive.”
Haggard’s accuser, Mike Jones, says “he has recorded voicemails and a letter from Haggard, and that he had also witnessed Haggard use methamphetamine.”
AMERICABlog has more.
Full transcript below:
ANCHOR: A gay man makes a stunning accusation against the leader of one of Colorado’s most popular mega-churches, Ted Haggard, one of the best known evangelical pastors in the country. A gay man in Denver claims he’s had a three year sexual business relationship with Haggard. The pastor has told us just a few moments ago that he has prepared for his own church to investigate the claims.
Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the 14,000 member New Life church in Colorado Springs. He is also the president of the multi-million member National Association of Evangelicals. Haggard is married and has five children. Male escort Mike Jones of Denver started talking to 9News two months ago claiming that Haggard does not practice what he preaches. He tells 9News that pastor Ted Haggard has been paying him for sex for the last three years. Jones went public about their alleged relation this morning on talk radio.
JONES: Some may look at me and what I’ve done as immoral but I think I had to do the moral thing in my mind and that is expose someone who is preaching one thing but doing the opposite behind everybody’s back.
ANCHOR: This evening we spoke with pastor Haggard outside of his home in Colorado Springs.
HAGGARD: I’ve never had a gay relationship with anybody and, uh, I’m steady with my wife, I’m faithful to my wife. So, I don’t know if this is election year politics or if this has to do with the marriage amendment or what it is. But I’m not even the guy who will investigate it or question it, I don’t know what the dynamics are. This independent group will come in and do that.