Ted Arthur Haggard (born June 27, 1956) is an evangelical pastor. Known as Pastor Ted to the congregations he has served, he is the founder and former pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado; a founder of the Association of Life-Giving Churches; and was leader of the National Association of Evangelicals from 2003[1] until November 2006.

In November 2006, he resigned from all of his leadership positions after allegations of homosexual sex and drug abuse were made by Mike Jones, a former male prostitute. Initially Haggard denied even knowing Mike Jones, but as a media investigation proceeded he acknowledged that some allegations, such as his purchase of methamphetamine, were true. He later added "sexual immorality" to his list of confessions.[2]

After the scandal was publicized, Haggard entered three weeks of intensive counseling, overseen by four ministers. On February 6, 2007, one of those ministers, Tim Ralph stated that Haggard "is completely heterosexual."[3] Ralph later said he meant to say that therapy "gave Ted the tools to help to embrace his heterosexual side."[4]

Early life and work

Haggard was born in Yorktown, Indiana.[5] His father, J. M. Haggard, a practicing veterinarian in Yorktown, Indiana, founded an international charismatic ministry featured in the PBS Middletown documentary series.[6] In 1972, at age sixteen, Haggard became a born-again Christian after hearing a sermon from the late evangelist Bill Bright in Dallas, Texas. As co-editor of his high-school newspaper in 1974, he published remarkably frank articles describing services available to prevent and deal with increasingly prevalent pregnancies and STDs, scandalizing his small town and embroiling himself in a free-press lawsuit.[7]

Haggard was subsequently educated at Oral Roberts University, a charismatic Christian university in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1978, Haggard married Gayle Alcorn.[8] The couple has five children: Christy; Marcus (1984), who is also a pastor in Colorado Springs at the Boulder Street Church; Jonathan (1989); Alex (1992); and Elliot (1995).[9]

In November 1984, Haggard was associate pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to Haggard, his confidant and mentor Danny Ost, a missionary to Mexico City, had a vision of Haggard founding his church in Colorado Springs. He moved to Colorado shortly afterwards and founded New Life Church. Initially, the church space was Haggard's own basement, growing to rented spaces in strip malls.[10] At the time he was removed from his job, New Life Church operated from a campus in northern Colorado Springs, reporting a membership of fourteen thousand people.[11]



Haggard has stated he believes in what is known as the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit and subscribes to the concept referred to as the Five-fold ministry – beliefs often associated with the charismatic movement. He has stated that he believes that there is one, all-knowing God, and that humans were created to be with him. These statements reflect biblical inerrancy and biblical literalism.[12]


In 2005, Haggard was listed by Time magazine as one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals in America.[13] Haggard is a firm supporter of President George W. Bush, and is sometimes credited with rallying evangelicals behind Bush during the 2004 election.[14] Author Jeff Sharlet reported in 2005 that Haggard "talks to… Bush or his advisers every Monday" and stated at that time that "no pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism."[15]

In a June 2005 Wall Street Journal article, "Ted Haggard, the head of the 30-million strong National Association of Evangelicals, joked that the only disagreement between himself and the leader of the Western world is automotive: Mr. Bush drives a Ford pickup, whereas he prefers a Chevy."[16]

Teachings on homosexuality

Haggard has condemned "homosexual activity.” In the documentary Jesus Camp, one scene shows a sermon where he preaches, "we don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible."[17] Although Haggard opposes same-sex marriage, he has suggested that there should be civil unions for homosexual couples.[18]

Under Haggard's leadership, the NAE released "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" in the fall of 2004,[19] "a document urging engagement in traditional culture war on issues such as abortion and gay marriage but also poverty, education, taxes, welfare and immigration."[19] The NAE has stated that "homosexual activity, like adulterous relationships, is clearly con­demned in the Scriptures."[20]

Haggard developed ministry efforts towards homosexuals early in his Colorado Springs ministry. He frequented gay bars and invited men to his congregation. [21]

Television and movie appearances

Haggard has appeared on several broadcast network programs, including Dateline NBC and ABC's 20/20. He also appears in the movie Jesus Camp.[22][23]

In early 2006, University of Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins interviewed Haggard as part of a British television documentary entitled The Root of All Evil?. During this interview, Dawkins spoke with Haggard about contradictions between the cumulative knowledge produced by science, and a literal interpretation of the Bible (particularly its account of creation). In response, Haggard claimed to "fully embrace the scientific method.” However, Haggard then stated that the conclusions of that method regarding the age of the earth and evolution were only the result of "some of the views that are accepted in some portions of the scientific community."

As Dawkins and his film crew were packing up to leave, there was a brief altercation in the car parking lot. According to Dawkins, Haggard ordered Dawkins's crew off his land with the words, "You called my children animals," and threatened legal action and confiscation of their recording equipment. Later, Dawkins speculated that Haggard was upset because Dawkins was actually stating that all humans are animals.

Ted Haggard also appeared in the History Channel documentary The Antichrist, [24] as well as the HBO documentary Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi.[25]

Gay sex and methamphetamine scandal

In November 2006, former male prostitute and masseur Mike Jones alleged that Haggard had paid to engage in homosexual sex with him for three years and had also purchased and used crystal methamphetamine.[26] Jones said he had only recently learned of Haggard's true identity and explained his reasons for coming forward by saying, "It made me angry that here’s someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex."

Haggard acknowledged some, but not all, of the allegations, and was removed from all of his leadership positions in religious organizations, including the church he founded. [27] At first, however, he claimed he had never met his accuser and in a television interview said "I am steady with my wife. I’m faithful to my wife."[28] But on November 5, in a statement Haggard said, "I am a deceiver and a liar. The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality...There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life. ... Please forgive my accuser ... actually thank God for him. He didn't violate you; I did."[29]


On November 1, 2006, Mike Jones stated that Haggard (whom Jones knew as "Art"; Haggard's middle name is Arthur) had paid for sex with him on an almost monthly basis over the previous three years. Jones contends the relationship was strictly physical, not emotional, and that he was typically paid a "couple of hundred dollars" but sometimes Haggard would pay him extra. [30] Jones also stated "[Haggard] had told me he loved snorting meth before he has sex with his wife" and that Haggard had also revealed a fantasy he had of having an orgy with "about six young college guys ranging from 18 to 22 in age."[31]

Jones claims Haggard had often used drugs in front of him,[30] but he said he never actually sold drugs to Haggard but instead introduced him to someone he could purchase it from.

About two years ago he asked, "Hey, Mike, what do you know about meth? I don’t do it personally, but I know people who do." I told him that some people think it enhances their sexual experience. He asked if I could help him get some. I located someone he could connect with. After that, he got it on his own. The last time he saw me, he was trying to get some and couldn't, which resulted in him sending me money through the mail in August, postmarked Colorado Springs. He wrote "Art" on the corner of the envelope. I just read that his middle name is Arthur....


Jones said he made his outing allegations against Haggard in response to Haggard's political support for a Colorado Amendment 43 on the November 7, 2006 Colorado ballot that would ban same-sex marriage in that state. Jones told ABC News, "I had to expose the hypocrisy. He is in the position of influence of millions of followers, and he's preaching against gay marriage. But behind everybody's back he's doing what he's preached against."[31] Jones hoped that his statements would sway voters.[33]

Voice analysis expert Richard Sanders compared the voice of Haggard from a television interview to that of the voicemails released by Jones and announced preliminary results stating that the voice on the voicemail is most likely that of Haggard. According to an article from KUSA, "Sanders makes his decision by comparing the resonance of the voice, the play of one's tongue and the inflection of vowel sounds."[34]

Jones volunteered to take a polygraph test on a KHOW radio show hosted by Peter Boyles, where Jones first made the allegations. However, Jones's responses during the section of the polygraph test about whether he had engaged in sex with Haggard indicated deception. The test administrator, John Kresnik, discounted the test results because of Jones's stress and lack of eating or sleeping. Regardless, Haggard responded by saying "We're so grateful that he failed a polygraph test this morning, my accuser did." Jones was not asked questions about drug use. Jones expressed doubt that he would retake the test, saying "I've made my point. He's the one who has discredited himself. He should admit it and move on."[35]

Rumors prior to the Jones allegations

Greg Montoya, editor of Out Front Colorado, a Denver LGBT newspaper, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that "rumors about Haggard's love life have circulated through Denver's gay community for the past year. 'But we didn't know it involved Mike Jones.'"[36]

Montoya's disclosure was paralleled by Lou Sheldon, chairman of the anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition and a self-proclaimed friend of Haggard, who told New York's The Jewish Week that he and "a lot" of other people had been aware of Pastor Haggard's same-sex behavior "for a while... but we weren't sure just how to deal with it.... Ted and I had a discussion. He said homosexuality is genetic. I said, no it isn't. But I just knew he was covering up. They need to say that."[37]

Response to allegations

Haggard initially claimed he had never heard of his accuser and denied having ever done drugs and stated "I have not, I have never had a gay relationship with anybody."[38] Many evangelical leaders initially showed support for Haggard and were critical of media reports. James Dobson issued a news release stating, "It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man's accusation. Ted Haggard is a friend of mine and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday's election—especially the vote on Colorado's marriage-protection amendment—which Ted strongly supports."[39]

Later however, Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.[40]

He went on administrative leave from his position as senior pastor of New Life Church, saying "I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance."[41]

On November 2, 2006, senior church officials told Colorado Springs television station KKTV that Haggard has admitted to some of the claims made by Jones.[42] In an e-mail to New Life Church parishioners sent on the evening of November 2, Acting Senior Pastor Ross Parsley wrote, "It is important for you to know that he (Haggard) confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true."[43]

Haggard admitted on November 3 that he had purchased methamphetamine and received a massage from Jones, but he denied using the drugs or having sex with Jones. "I called him to buy some meth, but I threw it away. I bought it for myself but never used it," Haggard claimed in a television interview, and added, "I was tempted, but I never used it."[44]

As it became apparent that some of the claims were true, some evangelical leaders such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell sought to downplay Haggard's influence on religious conservatives and downplay the importance of the NAE."[45] On his television show, "The 700 Club" Robertson said, "We're sad to see any evangelical leader fall" and also said the claim that the NAE represents thirty million people "just isn't true.... We can't get their financial data. I think it's because they have very little money and very little influence." During a CNN interview, Jerry Falwell went on record saying, "[Haggard] doesn't really lead the movement. He's president of an association that's very loose-knit... and no one has looked to them for leadership."[46] White House spokesman Tony Fratto sought to downplay Haggard's influence on the White House by saying that Haggard was only occasionally part of the weekly calls between evangelical leaders and the White House and had visited there only "a couple" of times.[47]

James Dobson issued another public statement saying he was "heartsick" of learning about Haggard's admissions and that "the possibility that an illicit relationship has occurred is alarming to us and to millions of others." He also stated that "(Haggard) will continue to be my friend, even if the worst allegations prove accurate" and "nevertheless, sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, has serious consequences."[48]

Admission and removal from job

On November 3, 2006, Haggard resigned his leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals.[49] The National Association of Evangelicals posted a statement accepting his resignation. Leith Anderson was appointed as the new president on November 7, 2006.[50]

The "Overseer Board of New Life Church" released a prepared statement on the afternoon of November 4, 2006 that stated: "Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct." The board cited the bylaws of the megachurch and said his conduct compelled them to remove him from his job.

During a New Life Church service on Sunday, November 5, 2006 another pastor read a letter from Haggard that stated:

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment for all of you.... The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life.... The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry.

Haggard went on to say that his removal was permanent, and that until a new senior pastor could be found, Ross Parsley, the Associate Senior Pastor, would hold that position.

Haggard was counseled by a team including Jack Hayford and Tommy Barnett who stated their intention to "perform a thorough analysis of Haggard’s mental, spiritual, emotional and physical life,” including the use of polygraph tests.[51] The team was to include James Dobson, who later stepped aside, citing time constraints.[52]

Claims of "complete heterosexuality"

In February 2007, Haggard sent an e-mail to friends, in which he stated his intention to move away from Colorado Springs, Colorado to suburban New Orleans, Louisiana and, along with his wife, earn a degree in psychology.[53] According to a report published by Associated Press, Tim Ralph of the counseling team stated that evidence suggested that Haggard is "completely heterosexual" and that his only extramarital sexual contacts have been with former prostitute Mike Jones. Ralph said, "It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."[54]

Mike Jones responded to Ted Haggard's announcement: [55]

"Well, that's the quickest therapy I've ever heard of. It's hard for me to imagine someone who is performing oral sex and saying that he is 'straight.' That just doesn't jive. If you were to ask me 'Do I think is Ted Haggard gay?' I would have to say 'yes',"

Jones explained that he could only speak to the time he spent with Haggard and that had an ongoing sexual relationship with the minister and that their time together "indicated a gay man to me."

Personal life

In 1978, Haggard married Gayle Alcorn.[56] The couple has five children: Christy (1981), Marcus (1983) (founder and former pastor of Boulder Street Church, Colorado Springs[57]), Jonathan (1987), Alex (1990), and Elliott (1993).[58]

In an interview published in the February 2011 issue of GQ (magazine), Haggard said, "I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual," adding that "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."[59][60]

Law and Order

All three of Dick Wolf's Law & Order shows during the 2006-07 season did episodes based upon the Haggard scandal:

  • The original Law & Order series episode was called "Church". Anson Mount guest starred.
  • On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the episode was "Sin", starring Tim Daly.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent's episode was "Brother's Keeper", starring Tom Arnold

. The basic facts of the story were the same in each episode, albeit heavily fictionalized:

  • In "Church", the lover confronted the minister after a service and is subsequently killed by the minister's wife, in order to safeguard the church.
  • In "Sin", the lover is killed by an unscrupulous church finance minister. It is the minister's son who was having the affair with the man, although the minister attempts to take the blame in order to protect his family.
  • In "Brother's Keeper", the minister's wife is killed and his male lover is a suspect, although the murder has nothing to do with the affair; a scientist, who often debated with the minister on TV and radio, killed the wife to keep word from getting out that the scientist had a mentally retarded son.


See also


  1. Jeff Sharlet (2005). "Soldiers of Christ: I. Inside America's most powerful megachurch". Harper's 310 (1860): 41-54.  p. 42.
  2. Slevin, Collen. "Ousted Evangelist Confesses to Followers", ABC News, 2006-11-05, pp. 1. 
  3. "Haggard Pronounced ‘Completely Heterosexual’", Associated Press, 2007-02-06, pp. 1. 
  4. "More Haggard details emerge", North Jersey Record and Herald News, 2007-02-21, pp. 1. 
  5. Sharlett, p.42.
  6. Castro, Anthony. "Sex, drugs and election fallout", The Journal Gazette, 2006-11-05. 
  7. Schroeder, Cindy. "Haggard has fresh chance to right wrongs", Cincinnati Enquirer, February 15, 2007. 
  8. Gorski, Eric. "Reality stems from pastor's Vision / Charismatic preachers have come", Colorado Springs Gazette, December 22, 2002. 
  9. Haggard, Ted (March 2003). "introduction", Letters from Home. Regal Books, 1. ISBN 0-8307-3058-3. 
  10. Sharlett, p.43-44.
  11. Zoll, Rachel. "Haggard scandal raises questions about 'superstar' pastors", Associated Press, 2006-11-10. 
  12. "Statement of Faith", 
  14. Egan, Tim. "State Of The Union: The Evangelical vote", BBC News, 9 November 2004. 
  15. Sharlet, p.42,43.
  16. "Cheer Up, Conservatives!", Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005. 
  17. Pastor will shut down controversial kids camp.
  18. Abhrams, Jim. "Groups: Gay marriage issue not Congress's", Associated Press, June 4, 2004. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Gorski, Eric. "Man of Cloth and Clout", Denver Post/, October 30, 2005. 
  20. "Same-Sex Marriage", National Association of Evangelicals, 2006. 
  21. "Soldiers of Christ: Inside America's most powerful megachurch with Pastor Ted Haggard", Harper's Magazine, 2006. 
  22. Gorski, Eric. "Fire, brimstone around "Jesus" film", Denver Post, 09/15/2006. 
  23. JESUS CAMP responds to Ted Haggard
  24. [1]
  25. MSNBC Jan 24, 2007
  26. Harris, Dan. "Evangelical Leader Denies Accusation of Paying Former Gay Prostitute for Sex", ABC News, November 3, 2005. 
  27. Haggard, Ted. "Sex, drug allegations could affect Haggard's writing career", Associated Press. 
  28. Banerjee, Neela. "Accused of Gay Liaison, Head of Evangelical Group Resigns", The New York Times, 2006-11-3, pp. 1. 
  29. Slevin, Collen. "Ousted evangelist confesses to followers", Associated Press, 2006-11-05, pp. 1. Retrieved on 2006-11-05. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 Murr, Andrew. "An Accuser's Story", MSNBC / Newsweek, November 3, 2006. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 Harris, Dan. "Haggard Admits Buying Meth", ABC News, November 3, 2006. 
  32. OnlineJournal, "Rev. Ted Haggard: Still playing the game", By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. November 8, 2006
  33. "Accuser recounts trysts with 'Art'", Rocky Mountain News, November 3, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-11-20. 
  34. Woodword, Paula. "Voice expert says voice probably Haggard in messages", KUSA, November 3, 2006. 
  35. McPhee, Mike. "Haggard's accuser fails lie detector", The Denver Post, November 3, 2006. 
  36. "Leader of evangelical group resigns amid sex allegations", The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, November 3, 2006. 
  37. Cohler-Esses, Larry. "Christian Right Agenda In Shambles After GOP Defeat", The Jewish Week, November 10, 2006. 
  38. A look at the contradictions in the different statements Pastor Ted Haggard has made to 9NEWS. 9NEWS at 5 p.m. November 1, 2006.
  39. Focus on the Family news release November 2nd, 2006.
  40. "Haggard resigns national role amid allegations", Colorado Springs Gazette, November 2, 2006. 
  41. "Haggard steps down amid sex allegations", Rocky Mountain News, November 2, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-11-07. 
  42. "Church Leader Says Haggard Admits To Some Indiscretions", KKTV, November 3, 2006. 
  43. McPhee, Mike; Eric Gorski. "Haggard admits buying meth", Denver Post, 2006-12-06. 
  44. "Haggard admits 'sexual immorality', apologizes", MSNBC, 2006-11-05. 
  45. Wineke, Bill (2006-11-06). Wineke: Haggard's 'friends' greater hypocrites. Wisconsin State Journal.
  46. Cooperman, Alan. "Minister Admits to Buying Drugs and Massage", Washington Post, November 4, 2006. 
  47. Crary, David. "Haggard Case Fuels Debate Over Hypocrisy", the Associated Press via Yahoo News, November 3, 2006. 
  48. Church forces out Haggard for 'sexually immoral conduct'
  49. Haggard, Ted. "Sex, drug allegations could affect Haggard's writing career", Associated Press. 
  51. McGraw, Carol. "Dobson, 2 ministers to offer counsel", Colorado Springs Gazette, 2006-11-06. 
  55. Mike Jones responds to Ted Haggard's announcement of his heterosexuality
  56. Gorski, Eric. "Reality stems from pastor's Vision / Charismatic preachers have come", Colorado Springs Gazette, December 22, 2002. 
  57. Moore, John. "Humana Festival discovers "This Beautiful City"", Denver Post, March 30, 2008. 
  58. Haggard, Ted (March 2003). "introduction", Letters from Home. Regal Books, 1. ISBN 0-8307-3058-3. 
  59. "Ted Haggard Says He's Bisexual", CBS News. 
  60. Roose, Kevin. "The Last Temptation of Ted", GQ. 

External links


News articles and interviews

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