A Mega-Scandal for a Mega-ChurchFrom the Rocky Mountain News:One of America's most powerful evangelicals is accused of paying for a male prostitute even as his state approaches a referendum on gay marriage
"I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver," Ted Haggard said with a calm specificity during an interview with a Denver TV reporter on Wednesday night as controversy broke around him. " I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife." Nevertheless, the pastor of one of the most prominent mega-churches in the country — and one of President George W. Bush's advisors on evangelical issues — has taken a leave of absence from his own 14,000-member New Life Church and temporarily resigned as president of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 evangelical churches across the U.S., after Mike Jones, a gay massage therapist — and self described professional male escort in Denver — told local radio and TV stations that he sold Haggard gay sex for three years. Jones also said that Haggard used drugs with him. Haggard was one of Time's 25 Most Important Evangelicals in 2005. Last night, New Life Church's acting senior pastor Ross Parsley told Denver's KTTV News that Haggard had confessed to some of the alleged indiscretions. In a statement released Thursday, Haggard said, "I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance."
So now he is claiming that he bought drugs but not use them (didn't inhale?) and that he was rubbed but did not have sex.This morning, Haggard said he had never had sex with Jones but said he did buy methamphetamine out of curiosity.
Haggard said he never consumed it but threw it away.
"I was tempted. I bought it but I never used it," Haggard said.
Haggard said he was referred to Jones for a massage by a hotel in Denver. The minister said he travels to Denver to write books.
Haggard drew a silent stare from his wife when he told the gathered reporters that he received a massage from Jones.
Are any Republican leaders straight?