Rev. Ted Haggard has been leading his own new church for the past few months, and in a Wall Street Journal profile says he thinks he “over-repented” for an affair with a male prostitute, which he refers to as “my crisis.” He also insists he’s not gay — and that his affair was just a massage gone wrong.
The profile describes Haggard’s new backyard barn church, which features bags of cement and a pulpit made of buckets.
Haggard, who announced his new St. James Church in June, told the Journal: “Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football. Ted Haggard needs to be leading a church.”
Haggard was founder and leader of the powerful evangelical New Life Church, before he was forced to resign in 2006 after he admitted to buying meth from a male prostitute, with whom he also had an affair.
As recently as November 2008, Haggard’s former friends in the New Life church expressed skepticism regarding Haggard’s ability to lead, releasing a statement saying that “we cannot endorse his return to vocational ministry.”
From the Journal:
Mr. Haggard said that is ridiculous. He portrays his encounter with the prostitute as a massage that went awry and said he doesn’t have same-sex attractions. He dismisses as a “witch hunt” the findings of his former church that he engaged in a pattern of misconduct, including sordid talk and inappropriate relationships. (He said his only fault was cracking a few crude jokes.) But his assurances have raised some eyebrows.
Haggard now says his scandal is helping him reach out to people: “It’s amazing. People tell me everything. That never happened when we were respectable.”
“I cuss now,” he also boasts.