In a new GQ profile, Rev. Ted Haggard addresses the continued assumptions that he’s gay, following revelations years ago that the prominent evangelical had a drug-fueled sexual relationship with a gay male former escort: “I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual.”
But, he told GQ’s Kevin Roose: “I’m 54, with children, with a belief system, and I can have enforced boundaries in my life. Just like you’re a heterosexual but you don’t have sex with every woman that you’re attracted to, so I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied.”
The profile provides a few other tidbits about Haggard, who resigned from the New Life Church and from his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after he admitted to the affair with his male meth dealer, who was also a prostitute.
When Haggard resigned, Roose reports, he signed a separation agreement, drafted by a board of overseers appointed by the church, which “required him to cut off all contact with members of the church, stay away from the media, perform no ministry-related work, and move his family out of Colorado.” Haggard says he now finds the agreement “excessively harsh,” and still has a score of bitterness toward the megachurch he founded, referring to it as the “old Soviet Union”: “I used to think the church was the light of the world. But I’ve completely lost my faith in it.”
I know he is a hypocrite and hurt a lot of people, but I still feel bad for this guy and don’t have the same schadenfreude I do with many other of these far-right evangelicals when they got caught in a scandal. The guy just seems so conflicted and troubled.
I would feel more sorry if he hadn’t hurt a lot of people along his twisted merry way. It’s assholes like him that give cultural support for gay bashing, both verbal and physical.
Of course he’s conflicted and feels bad. He made intentional choices against his own nature that put him in an unsustainable position. I’m sure he’s miserable. But he owns that and I’m fine with it.
The Other Chuck
People like Ted gave their full-throated support to policies in other countries that _executed_ people for being gay. The most charitable attitude I have toward him is that he’s now not worth the effort to care about either way.
Yeah, I don’t know how Sullivan does it. Or, for that matter, GOProud/Log Cabin Republicans. How does one self-identify with a group that explicitly hates you?
But just out of curiosity, did they ever bust his meth-dealing prostitute boyfriend for being a, well, meth dealer? Or is he “forgiven”, too?
I have little doubt as to which of the two did the most damage…
He says he has bitterness toward the megachurch he founded. Well, he set the agenda and the beliefs that the church espouses. Too bad his all of his close-minded flock he helped to create can’t get reborn like he did.
The most hilarious classic Haggard footage EVAH is in Dawkins Root of All Evil where he interviews Haggard in his church of the round–
“Kind of like a Weimar rally, isnt it?” says Sir Richard with a clipped british accent and Ted just sagely nods his head.
The fact that he was insulted slowly dawns on Haggard, and the last bit of film shows Sir Richards camera crew calmly packing up as Ted runs frantically across the parking lot, waving his arms and screaming, “get off my property!” and (my personal favorite) “my children are not monkeys!”
Odie Hugh Manatee
@The Other Chuck:
Really, everyone (so far) ‘gets it’. I wouldn’t care much for his having cheated on his wife, people do that every day so that’s their business. It’s the way he knowingly sided with religious haters to grift a living off of it, and in the process of doing so he focused hate on people who deserve none.
He got what he deserved, at the very least. You reap what you sow and it sounds like he has a bitter harvest to chew on.
Villago Delenda Est
Sorry, but this guy messed his own damn bed. He should have been more honest about his feelings before he created this monstrous situation. He should have rejected the false belief system he represented as reality for himself, his family, and his congregation. His followers are giving him exactly what he himself preached them to do. He has no one to blame but himself now.
At least he’s lost his faith in the church. It’s a start.
Dude. This is a SENTENCE. With (mostly) correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Hell just froze over.
Bi now, gay later?
I believe in redemption, even for lying wingnut preachers. The fact that Ted can admit what it did is fairly huge in that world, a tiny crack of honestly in a sea of bible fueled dogma that discounts reality in big ways that hurt a lot of people. Kudos to the beady eyed fucker.
Yeah sure, he’s “bisexual”. I’m sorry, but going and getting methed up, and then power-bottoming for a male prostitute does not say “bi” to me.
I just can’t muster up a whole lot of sympathy for this guy. He made his bed, and when everything blew up it affected not only him but his wife and kids. Not to mention there’s no telling what sort of diseases he exposed his wife to. If it were me I’d have had his bits and pieces stuffed and mounted over my mantle. But I’m an evil, vindictive bitch, so…
Villago Delenda Est
Well, at least the guy is not saying “the drugs made me do it” or reeling off Flip Wilson catchphrases…
that is also the church where the rigorously christian-homeschooled and socially maladroit proto-missionary Matthew Murray shot and killed two of the nice christian girls from his biblestudy group that wouldnt date him.
that fine christian homeschoolin’ is sure great, isnt it?
and you guys, John knows exactly how terrible Ted and his church are/have been. That doesn’t preclude feeling a little sympathy on a personal level when you read the article.
Well, he’s on the right track but he’s got a lot of ground to cover before he’s content. Best wishes for a full recovery, but I’m not hopeful.
Tara the antisocial social worker
Well, I can. (Bi and happily monogamous for 15 years.) It’s pretty clear that Ted can’t.
@suzanne: hey! i fixed clamly.
This horrible agreement with the “church”he used to work for…I agree those are awful conditions to put on anybody, but he *must* have gotten something in return. If they just told him to fuck off he could live anywhere he wanted, could talk to who ever he wanted, whatever. I’m guessing he got two shed loads of money for those conditions. If not, he’s a bigger moron than I ever thought. [nb: I never thought him a moron so much as a charlatan (not uk)].
I guess I land somewhere between John and the general consensus here. Yes, he made life miserable for a good number of people — people who were more like him than he cared to acknowledge, and honest about it, to boot. They deserve our empathy first.
But there’s something deeply sad about someone who’s so desperate to bury an inconvenient aspect of himself that he turns ferociously on his own kind — as if the only way for him to bury his desires deep enough is to become an enforcer for the other side.
Does anyone else notice this as a somewhat common syndrome? (And I don’t mean in public life, where, after Larry Craig and company, it’s almost comical) Any number of the most right-wing people I know — relatives, acquaintances — are heterosexuals whose personae would lead you to almost instantly guess they were gay. It’s hard not to see it as the only line of defense they think will work for them.
Whatever personal issues and demons exist in the story, I just wish Haggard would go the fuck away. It’s not just an Esquire profile, it’s a new reality TV show. He’s sure milking the “anguish” for all it’s worth.
This information is all wrong. Ted Haggard is completely heterosexual.
Villago Delenda Est
So, there’s a silver lining in all this, as being famous still pays off for people like Haggard. It’s the entire Jerry Springer phenomenon all over again…people trying to turn their dysfunction into a meal ticket.
Needless to say, there are plenty of people who will gawk, and that’s good enough for the advertisers who pay for all this.
I agree with you, John. He’s done horrible things but for some reason I feel more sympathy for him than I do most of the lying hypocrites like him. I know he’s hurt people, and I have zero sympathy for that, but on a personal level I almost feel like I can see his struggle. It’s sad and fascinating at the same time. His struggle is like a window to those who are still in the closet and struggling to be true to their nature and true to the culture and religion they’re mired in. I feel for them and as a result I also feel for him.
Tara the antisocial social worker
I love that song. I believe there’s a George Rekers version as well.
Just STOP right there. He really has hurt a lot of people in a very big, public, scenery-chewing way. He’s been a hateful hypocrite of the worst kind, and he only became ‘conflicted’ when he got caught. When is he going to admit that he was wrong and is sorry for condemning so many young people to their own lives of conflict and trouble? All he’s doing in that interview is trying to cover his own sorry ass.
Bi now, gay later.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
Looking back on my life, I can say that I have to be sympathetic towards his plight. If he does believe in his God, then he has a lot he will need to make up for.
Please don’t shout at me.
I know where you’re coming from but I’d disagree that he only became ‘conflicted’ when he got caught. I would guess he was very conflicted, but wasn’t publicly conflicted. He didn’t know how to deal with his homosexuality/bisexuality and so dealt with it the only way he felt he could: become more vocal against homosexuality while pushing his own nature under cover. It’s a chickensh1t way of dealing with things and one that will end up hurting more people. But he isn’t the only person to deal with a difficult issue in that way.
He should apologize. I doubt he will. He comes across to me as someone who is still struggling with who he is. I would guess he’s hiding from himself the fact that he hurt so many people by his actions. Until he faces that, he won’t apologize. He’s still got a long way to go.
@Violet: I can feel compassion and pity for the wet suit/dildo guy, but not Haggard. He is a grifter, in it for the money. I always tell people like him when the occasion allows that if homosexuality is a sin, it didn’t make Moses’ top ten, but adultery sure did. He has harmed countless people and I don’t see him doing any real atonement for that. And what’s with his wife? She must be a grifter too.
Did anyone ever see Jesus Camp? Ted makes an appearance at the end of the movie and obviously before he got caught. He comes across as the sleaziest Elmer Gantry character that makes Jimmy Swaggart seem like a genuine man of God by comparison. I can’t believe anyone was ever taken in by him.
@DougJ DougJson: Copycat.
I’m conflicted too. I am torn by a strong desire to kill the next motherfucker who makes me pay attention to the sexuality of some person I care nothing about.
Because, you know, it is none of my business, and I don’t want it made my business.
@MAJeff: Ditto this. He’s still making money off this scandal. He’s still a public figure.
@nancydarling: Ditto this. He’s bitter with his church? Who made that church what it is? He did. Is he on the streets begging for a dollar? No. I would agree he was conflicted before he got caught (duh), but is there any evidence that he is sorry for what he did? No.
My personal line (and it’s just personal) of sympathy is I can feel sorry for someone who afflicts so much pain and harm on himself. When it spreads to other people en masse as it did with Ted, then my sympathy stops. It’s the same with W. Someone was saying that he almost felt sorry for W. for being such a fuck-up. No. W. didn’t just fuck himself up–he fucked up the whole damn country.
ETA: If he showed any real atonement and then went to work helping, say, LGBT kids who were kicked out of their homes because of the message he preached week after week, then we can talk.
The Moar You Know
I’ll do it for you. I hope he dies in a fire, the fucking backstabbing, lying, deceitful megalomaniac piece of shit.
what a way to make a living
When turning hate into money fails, let’s go with victim.
It ain’t personal and it damn sure ain’t a feeling.
Not me, John. This guy has the blood of every gay teen who kills himself on his hands. He knows the right-wing evangelical positions on homosexuality are bullshit, and yet he did nothing to stop it while raking in the cash. I hope he’s suffering for what he did.
As a bisexual, I don’t want him in my group.
Can’t we just call him a hate-mongering douchebag, and leave it at that?
@matoko_chan: Yeah, whenever I read his name, that very same image comes to mind: him screaming at Dawkins.
Put me in the DIAF camp. He espoused hateful rhetoric that was used by people in the highest offices and churches in the land (I believe he met with Bush frequently) against those who deserve no scorn while all the while being what he hated.
The man deserves to live the rest of his life in a personal hell for his actions. Additionally, it is at times like these that I wish I believed in a heaven/hell afterlife so he could be sent to hell for eternity.
The man’s sins went well beyond the personal and were societally destructive. Fuck him.
Or, fuck him until he has spent a few years actively working to repair the damage he has wrought and right the wrongs of the hate-filled environment that he helped propagate and handsomely profited from. He needs to earn forgiveness and when the scope of his works of redemption equal his works of hate, then I might be swung to a little sympathy. Until then, fuck him.
That’s very, um, Christian of you.
John, you know this uncommon decency will lead to cavities, zits and the general downfall of society, don’t you?
@Mark S.: OT, but Jesus Camp was, hands-down, one of the creepiest movies ever.
..I still feel bad for this guy and don’t have the same schadenfreude I do with many other of these far-right evangelicals…
Human beings have these sorts of feelings. Congrats, today you are fully functioning.
I could feel the same way about Ted but I just don’t, didn’t when the story came out and never will. It’s too bad more of his ilk could learn that they don’t need to get in other people’s business.
But, then, that’s what churches do.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention this tidbit of information regarding Mr. Haggard and his new church:
Hey, you know what Ted Haggard doesn’t seem too conflicted and troubled about? Treating LGBT individuals as though they are equal and legitimate human beings.
Haven’t read above yet…
This is good and (un)expeceted.
O/T – I’m listening to a program with Rich Lowery and he was almost sounding reasonable, but then I remembered **STARBURSTS**
As a general rule, I don’t wish for people’s worst fears to be realized. Haggard was terrified that if his friends and parishioners found out who he was then they’d abandon him. Thats probably the chief fear that keeps people from coming out of the closet. Then they found out who he was and abandoned him.
So its understandable that he’s not going to be a gay rights activist. Unacceptable, but understandable.
Yeah, he was so conflicted that he could only sleep well at night by raking in piles of cash that he brought in with his mad preaching skillz that included some quality gay bashing.
I say bust out the rusty pitchforks.
I’m sure there’s lots of people who are conflicted in their life. Thing is, most of them don’t get rich by bashing on the element of their life that is causing them the dissonance.
Excuse me, but who the fuck appointed you the arbitrator for “correct bisexual conduct?” We get to have sex any way we godsdamned well please so long as it’s consensual, even if you think the way he went about it is the sole bailiwick of monosexuals like yourself.
Also, take your biphobia and shove it.
And yours, too. That was NOT cool. He is bisexual as he himself frames it. You do NOT get to gainsay that.
Also, color me disgusted that I have to tell a bunch of liberals to leave Ted Haggard alone for something.
Ted Haggard in The God Delusion
Ted Haggard in Jesus Camp
(These clips will be included in my upcoming seminar, The Films of Ted Haggard. Enroll today!)
I wish I could have found a better clip from Jesus Camp, cause he comes off as super creepy in that one. I forgot what a dick he is to that kid who comes and talks to him at the end.
If a person cannot be honest about who they are, then I do not hold out much hope that that person could be honest about any other feelings or beliefs they may have. I believe many, many people who consider themselves “odd” hide behind the “Word of God” to cover up what they consider dysfunctional or “sinful” behavior in themselves, whereas the rest of us could give a shit about another person’s sexuality or habits. Thus people like Haggard live a life full of conflicts. I don’t think Haggard’s situation should garner sympathy from anyone. He knew he could only make money preaching God’s word if he were straight. So now the big bucks are gone, and Haggard is still sexually frustrated. So let’s try making some money on his life long sexuality conflict. It’s quite simple really.
Death Panel Truck
Goddamnit, that is just fucking wrong.
It’s “megalomaniacal piece of shit.” ;)
Ever want a prime example for lack of self awareness, Ted Haggard is it. His signature was always going to be on that separation agreement. It’s just that if it wouldn’t have been him who was being gotten rid off, his signature would have been slightly offset from where it ended up being.
The ‘old Soviet Union’ was what Haggard was dishing out until a rare event of poetic justice made him the target of his own medicine. Cry me a river.
The fucker was a big part in the ruin the lovely town of Colorado Springs and made the atmosphere with which the co-opting of USAFA to apocalyptic death cult purposes possible.
To hell with him.
@Sly: lawl. you’re a naif. New Life paid Ted off so he wouldnt write a book.
I guess that tit has run dry now, or it wasnt enough for Our Ted.
@Violet: I have to agree with you. I have puzzled over how people could be so vocal against something that was in their own nature. The closest I’ve come to any kind of understanding of this is that if you’ve been raised being told that what you are is hateful, shameful & hated by God you might do whatever it took to conceal that part of your nature. You might even feel that harsh penalties would help you keep that part of you repressed. Yes, he has contributed to the whole gay bashing culture of the so called christian churches but I suspect he was a victim of it first and has had to spend most of his life trying to not be what he is and , it seems has still not been able to come to terms with it. One doesn’t have to like the guy to feel pity.
@The Other Chuck: And the violence in Uganda continues:
The pull quote from the newspaper’s editor is something to the effect “We abhor the illegal killing of gays. We want the government to hang gays, we don’t want them beat to death with hammers!”
See? Compassionate conservatives. BTW, these are the people and policies that some of our compassionate conservative elected officials pal around with on junkets.
Just so you don’t forget.
I don’t know why you feel bad/sorry/empathy for Ted Haggard; sure he’s a sexually confused individual and he’s boxed in by his social/family/business mores but he’s also an unrepentant huckster whose selling his tale to the highest bidder. Yuck.
I got from the article that Haggard realizes (mostly) what he has done wrong, and it trying to do some good in its wake.
I don’t feel sorry for him, but if his awakening can help him bring healing, comfort and spiritual support for people who need it, then good for him.
He owns his own homophobia AND the homophobia he nurtured in others for profit. There is a point where one’s own inner demons stop being reasonable explanation for one’s actions towards others. Haggard passed that point long ago. In fact, he still profits off of all this while the violence against gays (such as the arson of a disabled gay guy’s house) is on the rise.
Only a straight person could feel bad for this monster. I don’t wish him ill. But I do not for one bit feel sorry for him. Not when I think about all the bullshit I’ve been through and am still going through. Hey, guess who had to stop their current med regimen because of a potentially fatal side effect? Not Ted Haggard! Well, unless you count the meth.
He boxed himself in because he chose power, wealth, and prestige over being true to himself every single time. Including, it must be said, the coming out crap. This is what he needs to do to keep living the lifestyle of a celebrity. Oh, guess who has a reality show now?
Fuck him. Whatever suffering he has gone through has not been nearly as bad as what other gays go through, simply because we don’t reap all the benefits of kicking the rest of us while we are down. He was a really good “house gay”. Probably still is like Log Cabin and GOProud.
Unfortunately, I can’t feel sorry for Mr Haggard.
I’ve seen his schtick in the movie “Jesus Camp, and a few other things, and he strikes me as a hypocritical sludgebucket who was in it for the ego-stroke, the power, and the money.
He’s one of the dangerous ones–a Christian Al-Queda–thinks America should be a theocracy–with people like him in charge (yecchh).
@General Stuck: He only admitted this when his attempts to reassert his heterosexuality were rejected by his peers, his flock, and everyone else with some goddamn sense. And it turned out, he couldn’t make a living as a straight preacher anymore. But he keeps getting attention and money the more he draws attention to himself. Hey and now he got a reality show. I convinced that he would not be at this point if he’d had any other options.
@Lysana: Um, how’s about fuck off? I am bi, you moron. And guess what? I can have my opinions about this person. So kiss my ass.
@gex: I mean, conflicted over being gay? Tormented by internalized homophobia? That doesn’t make him special. That just makes him a gay person who grew up in America.
I don’t know what his orientation is, except for male preacher. They seem to be oriented towards anyone they can stick it in.
For fuck’s sake. The guy wakes up one day, says something the press will find “newsworthy” and gets a payday that exceeds what most families can make in a year. Poor thing.
Frankly, if I were to recognize any sympathy for him, I’d go see my therp for my Stockholm Syndrome.
@Lysana: And also, “monosexuals”? Jesus christ, give it a rest you humorless fuck.
Haggard’s a known, long-term, and accomplished liar. When he talks about his struggle or feelings of guilt, why shouldn’t we assume he’s just lying again to win our sympathy? What leads us to believe that Haggard would ever tell the truth about his inner life without having it forced into the open by a third party?
Not to mention living with a dog that drives him crazy.
@taylormattd: Actually a bi bottom makes perfect sense: he’s going out for what he can’t get at home. If he were top then I might be more confused.
@kdaug: Daddy issues.