You all remember Ted Haggard, right?
He’s the former chairman of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the former leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He was well known for having a hot-line to God and to various world leaders whoÂ worked to turn their respective countries into theocracies during their administrations; leaders like George W. Bush and Tony W. Blair. He was featured prominently in a documentary by noted biologist, Richard Dawkins, called The Root of All Evil?. For a long time,Â Haggard was one of the most prominent figures of religious conservatism in the U.S. (and you all know what a fun group those folks are).
And as you all no doubt know, he’s the former chairman of NAE and the former leader of the New Life Church because a male prostitute named Mike Jones came forwardÂ in 2006Â alleging that Haggard had paid him for sex and that they sometimes used methamphetamine when they were together (told you they were fun).
The assertions received widespread news coverage and sparked charges of hypocrisy, because Haggard had roundly condemned homosexual sex.
So Haggard and JonesÂ â€” and by the way, each time I hear these names together in this context, I hang my head in grief that the incident sullied the names of two of Country music’s legendary icons, as well asÂ degraded the wonderful services provided by prostitutes, male or otherwiseÂ â€”Â but Haggard and Jones would meet regularly for meth parties and some wholesome man love. But in the end,Â theÂ affairÂ was enough of a disgrace toÂ cost Ted his chair and his ministry.
And of course,Â shortly thereafter, HaggardÂ disappeared from the public eye. He left Colorado Springs straight away and went to Denver where heÂ endured three weeks of intensive counseling to rid himself of gay. (Oddly, there seemed to be less concern about ridding him of the meth abuse. Don’t know if I would prioritize things that way, but apparently to some Christians, gay sex is much worse than a drug problem.)
At any rate, after the intensive three-week deprogramming course,Â word came down from on high that Ted Haggard was not gay anymore!!! (cue Hallelujah chorus.)
One of the four ministers who oversaw the de–gayification camp Haggard attended, the Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur, told The Denver PostÂ at the time:
“[Ted] is completely heterosexual . . . That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn’t a constant thing.”
So Ted discovered that he was completely heterosexual. It was only the “acting-out situations” where gay sex took place, and since he only acted out a few dozen times, he wasn’t gay.
Umm . . . Okay.
From there, Haggard transitioned into relative obscurity where heÂ spent his days reading,Â rebuilding his life, and not being gay.
But either celebrityÂ is a bitch goddess that cannot be ignoredÂ orÂ God the Father told him to come forward and tell his story, because Ted Haggard has resurfaced in recent weeks. Unable to stay out of the spotlight, he’s been all over the T.V. and the dub dub dubs. Larry King, Oprah, all the big programs and news sites are following Ted’s story again. There isÂ even a documentary on HBO that chronicles his tribulations.
And it now seemsÂ there’s more to Haggard’s battle against being gay than we initially knew.
This pastÂ Thursday,Â he said itÂ was “fundamentally true” that he engaged in homosexualÂ activity with a 20-year-old male church volunteer in 2006.
The incident occured when the two men were in bed together. The volunteer, Grant Haas, said on CNN’s “Larry King Live”:
He pretty much asked me if it was OK if he masturbated in front of me or masturbated in the bed next to me. I told him no, it would make me really uncomfortable. But he grabbed a bottle of lotion and started masturbating.
In addition to that,Â Haggard alsoÂ admitted to Larry KingÂ that he still has thoughts of other men.
But remember, he’s not gay.
And apparently, therapy is helping him figure out how not gay he is. Haggard says thatÂ one therapist described himÂ as a “heterosexual with homosexual attachments”. That phrase clearly describes a straight man. The gayness is just an added feature. It’s an accessory that can he can put on or take off at any time, like a belt or a strap-on.
He also says his current therapist describes him as “a heterosexual with complications”. Yeah. Ted Haggard is a a heterosexual with complications like a kangaroo is a giant mouse with a pocket.
At any rate, Haggard says, even though he’s not gay,Â he has another year of therapy ahead of him. Hey, better safe than sorry, right?
I think I’m still deeply wounded and scarred and somewhat confused. I have thoughts [about men] from time to time, but not compelling thoughts.
You know, I have to admit, I had no idea it worked this way. I had no idea that a man could want, seek out, and procure sex with another man on multiple occasions, and still not be gay. IÂ never realizes that discovering what you do not prefer is such a long, harrowingÂ road. If Haggard’s case is any indication, a man must be thorough in confirming his dislike for something.
Well, you live and learn.
But it’s good to see that Haggard is not gay after all this. I can only hope he’ll writeÂ a book;Â the definitiveÂ tomeÂ that willÂ help othersÂ on that long, gay road that leads toÂ heterosexual peace of mind.
Maybe he’ll callÂ his bookÂ Discovering You’re Not Gay: A Marathon, Not a Sprint.