Haggard: I Am a Deceiver and a Liar

The Ted Haggard story was an interesting example of high-profile lying. The footage of him being interviewed in his car on Friday, with his wife and kids, was especially powerful stuff. Check out the video, if you haven’t seen it yet: Haggard interview (WMV file).

But that interview was actually the second act (or so) in this three-act public tragedy (or comedy, depending on your sympathies). First came the earlier interview, from last Wednesday, in which Pastor Ted claimed not to know his accuser. Check that out here: Deborah Sherman on her two Ted Haggard interviews (WMV file).

If you just watch the second interview, in the car, it’s hard not to believe the guy is telling the truth. There’s a directness, an affected artlessness, to his manner, that is really compelling. He just exudes trustworthiness. Which shouldn’t be shocking, I realize, for a highly successful televangelist.

What happened between the first and second interviews is that his accuser produced audio recordings of Haggard’s messages, left on the accuser’s phone, and audio experts indicated that the voice probably was Haggard’s. It was Monica’s blue dress all over again. Haggard’s second interview put as good a face on things as he could, but with that first interview already out there, there was no way to reconcile the two statements. And once you realized that in at least one of those two statements Haggard had to be lying, it was all over.

And so today we got the third act. Haggard had the following read aloud to his former congregation at Sunday service: Statement by Ted Haggard.

The last four days have been so difficult for me, my family and all of you, and I have further confused the situation with some of the things I’ve said during interviews with reporters who would catch me coming or going from my home. But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. 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.

So, there you go. Think about that, people, the next time someone seems oh-so-trustworthy, oh-so-sympathetic. Surely Pastor Ted, of all people, couldn’t be lying to me.

Actually, yeah, he could.

16 Responses to “Haggard: I Am a Deceiver and a Liar”

  1. Craig Says:

    All lot of blogs have been using this ugly event to further push their personal cause against organized faith, by claiming the hypocrisy of religion instead of the hypocrisy of man. It’s one more reason why people of faith need to focus their belief on God and not on people. A person, with all their known and unknown flaws, will often let you down if you pin too much expectation upon them. At least this guy had enough humbleness left to finally admit his guilt within a few days of the news breaking, and ahead of the formal investigation that was going on. Not many other public figures, especially in politics, would be so quick to admit full blame for their actions.

  2. enkidu Says:

    Excuse me for bringing some reality to the table here Craig, but the plain truth of the matter is PervyPastor Ted (Art) Haggard denied everything at first. Then the recordings came out. Then he admitted, well yeah, I did call a masseuse when I was in Denver. But nothing happened! Then the facts started coming out that the gay escort only advertised in gay mags (no hotel would ever recommend a gay prostitue for a ‘massage’). That Haggard bought meth from this guy (but he threw it away! honest!), that Haggard had a three year ‘relationship’ with this gay whore. And since he is paid from the mega church he used to run, those folks were paying for their pastor to rant and rave against homosexuals while engaging in a gay prostitution while snorting (or whatever, not sure how meth is used) meth. More denials, more lies (see that video of him in his car with his kids and lil wifey lying his gay ass off). Until finally he admitted the whole thing to the church elders.

    You can ‘believe’ what you want, but the facts are this guy and Foley aren’t bad because they are gay… they are bad, evil, stupid, corrupt hypocrits who say one thing then enjoy doing exactly what they preach against. That is why people think this is a big news (plus the fact that this guy bragged he could sway any election… we’ll see tomorrow). If GOOPers actually admitted that being gay is part of human nature (and is well documented inthe animal kingdom btw), maybe these creeps could have instead lead a normal happy (gay) life without all the lies, hypocrisy and hate filled spew.

    Humbleness? Nice try.

    I love Haggard’s quote that the only difference btwn himself and bush are the make of truck he drives. Our first (closeted) gay preznit? Where is Jeff Gannon for some rock hard, pulse pounding investigative reporting when you need him?

  3. TeacherVet Says:

    So, the guy is a “PervyPastor” because he’s a hypocrit, but not because he’s gay! Are all hypocrits and liars perverts? Obviously, yet another change is required in the Webster reference book.

    This post misses the record by too much to qualify. Oh, well.

  4. Steve Says:

    Haggard’s saga really points to some flaws in our modern society. Only after somewhere around 36 encounters with a prostitute was Haggard forced into accountability. We’re so disconnected from each other, these kinds of things can go on for so long.

    No one ever really knew him, and thus no one could ever really love him.

    What a lonely life.

  5. Craig Says:

    Good Grief, enkidu! Do you have to use a “scorched earth” method to all your replies???

    I am merely saying that, unlike many people these days, like Foley, who try to use the victim card and blame their behavior on everyone and everything else in life, Haggard at least took full blame himself. Yes, he made a half-hearted lie before he came clean, a day later. But a number of people in similar situations would hold onto a denial for much longer, even when the truth was painfully obvious. I don’t have to agree with his use of an initial transparently false explanation, but I can understand that a person who is suddenly facing the end of the ministry that he had built for years, in a 48-hour period, is going to make some ill-advised comments before facing the truth. That’s just a very human reaction, and it still doesn’t excuse his actions in any way.

    By the way, if you actually read some of the information that has been printed about Haggard in connection with this issue, you may want to revise your stereotypical description of Haggard “ranting and raving against homosexuals”. Although he was against gay marriage, he actually took a relatively accepting view of gays within the church and was not a big proponent of mixing religious views with legislative ones (again, apart from the gay marriage aspect).

    And yes, I think he did finally find enough humbleness and brokenness within him to finally come clean, before any formal decisions were made by others.

  6. Craig Says:

    Some specific information from the NYT’s about what I was referring to:

    In the past, Mr. Haggard proved more accepting of gay men and lesbians than some of his evangelical colleagues. He did not publicly oppose an additional measure on the November ballot, Referendum 1, which would give same-sex couples some legal rights and benefits.

    The Rev. Nori Rost, executive director of Just Spirit, a watchdog group that monitors the religious right, recalled that Mr. Haggard’s church once invited the choirs from other churches in town to perform at an ecumenical Easter service. At the time, she was the pastor of a predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church. When some other evangelical churches learned that the gay church had also been invited, they refused to sing unless Mr. Haggard retracted the invitation to the gay church. Mr. Haggard refused, and the gay choir sang, she said.

    When Mr. Haggard was elected three years ago as the National Association of Evangelicals’ president, the magazine Christianity Today hailed him as a new kind of evangelical who could revive a flagging organization.
    He was younger, less formal and more moderate than many of the bigger names in conservative Christianity. He was soon pushing to add issues like global warming, poverty and genocide in Darfur to the movement’s traditional agenda of opposition to homosexuality and abortion.

  7. adam_blust Says:

    On National Review Online, David Frum said basically that a meth addict who preached hate against gay people while spending years cheating on his wife with a male prostitute is morally superior to an out gay man. Because hey, at least the preacher was trying to stop others from the evil sin he was committing.

    I’m not joking. That’s what he said.

    These people are sick, twisted crapweasels.

    And have you seen the clip of Haggard from “Jesus Camp”? After an anti-gay sermon, he looks into the camera and says, no lie, “I know what you did last night. And if you send me $1,000, I won’t tell your wife.”

    The definitiion of schadenfreude, baby.

  8. treehugger Says:

    Just one more reason why the church’s numbers will continue to fall.

  9. Craig Says:

    He preached hate against gays? Maybe you’re confusing Ted with Fred Phelps and his clan. Not THAT’S true hate. Then again, you may have a very broad definition of a very inflammatory term.

  10. Craig Says:

    Meant to say “now” instead of “not”.

  11. adam_blust Says:

    So Craig, since you are so quick to defend Haggard, do you agree with what Frum said – that Haggard is morally superior to an out gay man? I’d like to hear your thoughts on that one.

    As for “preaching hate,” I think if you spend your career convincing your flock that one man is inherently less than another, the (extremely non-CHRISTIAN) description applies.

  12. enkidu Says:

    mean ol enkidu made fun of PervyPastor ‘Art’ Haggard

    Craig, get thee to youtube and enter Haggard’s name – maybe add the term gay so you can actually see him rail against gays. Plus find the acerbic interview with Richard Dawkins (‘Art’ threw them out and started yelling about Dawkins calling his children animals… oooops Dawkins mentioned the dread ‘Evil*-ution’ word). As Borat might say “nice!”

    I am glad to hear a handful of examples where ‘Art’ actually showed some tolerance and understanding. We need more of that in this world. However, the balance is far more towards intolerance and hate speech towards gays from ‘Art’. A handful of tolerance doth not outweigh a wheelbarrow full of gay bashing.

    And yes Macaca-san, I do think it is pervy for America’s leading evangelical pastor to hire a gay hooker (for three years running) and buy meth from him as well (which he threw away – bwahahahaha!) all the while preaching against gays, ‘curing’ gays etc. I suppose your point is that it isn’t as pervy as hiring a teenage male prostitute and buying meth from him? Say, how is Mark Foley doing? Is his K street office all ready for his triumphant res-erection?

    Forgive me if I over-generalize a bit here gentlemen (and ladies), but all you tighty righties with your moral superiority sound just like the farkin Taliban, until one of your own is exposed as a grade AAA extra large hypocrit. Then its all ‘why can’t you damnlefties be more tolerant of the leading evangelical’ (hypocrit who is exposed as a gay man whore hiring meth snorting freak). Being gay isn’t a crime (in most states currently residing in the 21st century).

    Maybe this will cut down on the bible (bable, baahble, babble, babel) thumpers at the nearby Air Force Academy? Nah!

  13. TeacherVet Says:

    Craig, thanks for making the very apt “scorched earth” comment.

    If it’ll ease your mind, enkidu, I didn’t vote for Haggard this morning.

  14. Craig Says:

    I have no interest in a back-and-forth of cyber venom that just burrows participants further inside their dearly-held beliefs about the people and the world around them. Let me just say this, for whatever little it will likely be worth. I am not quick to “defend” Haggard. I hardly knew anything about him before all this, and his hypocritical actions are indefensible. My only point was that the characterization of him “hating gays” and “ranting against homosexuals” seemed out-of-place based upon some of the things I mentioned about his apparent stances toward gays and Faith, as well as toward their legal rights in society. Although I suppose, there are those who wish to label people others haters if they have anything at all negative to attribute to a person or a group. There isn’t much to be said here, if that is the broad definition that is being preferred.

    Here is the basic issue, it seems, when it comes to being gay and being Christian. Some denominations believe in a bible that is meant to be interpreted through our ever-changing societial views. Some believe that it is much more of a literal and unchanging Word of God.

    Hence, some churches are more inclusive of people whose broader band of lifestyle choices are all covered by God’s grace. Some churches are in a squishy middle-zone that can be rather conflicting within its own doctrine of belief. And some churches are more unchanging about what God, through the scriptures, has established as sinful actions or lifestyles. I suppose there should be another group of churches identified as well, who throw out the sin and the sinner as one and the same.

    I know how I stand on homosexuality as a lifestyle and how I stand regarding the persons themselves. (I’m more of a “love the person but not the sin” person.)Do I KNOW my views and those of my particular faith are right? No. My belief is simply that….my belief. I trust in my personal belief in God. And when the time comes, each of our own views toward God and eternity will be ultimately revealed as right or wrong.

    Anyways, what this all means is that depending on each of our views on the Faith issue, we are going to fundementally disagree on the basic elements of this story, with no common resolution. The “right and wrong” of God and sin has yet to be conclusively determined.

    I do believe this though, as our pastor said in wrapping up his series on heaven. There are going to be some shocked religious leaders during judgement when Jesus gathers them and says, “Listen, you people really screwed up my initial ministry and church.”

  15. enkidu Says:

    Dearest Craig – Forsooth thou speakest from thine own heart, with thine own voice, in clear and dulcet tones most pleasant to behold. One cannot but note thy chastised elocution is raised not in the mocking condemnation of yesteryear, but in fresh minted terms of bonhomie, egalitarianism and contrition. ‘Od’s bodkin what a difference a couplet of years doth make!

    Thou speakest with regard and insight to the plight of man and his place in this vasty Universe… and who among us can claim certainty? Not I most assuredly. If one should mock the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals of America (the largest Evangelical group anon this dusty orb we call Earth) for being a grand and towering pyle of hypocritic GOOP, then know too that one couldst speak far worse. Betimes one might butt (haha!) enjoy the mocking of Janus-faced fobs and nob-polishers who do claim and cleave to one holier-than-thou-One-True-Way, yet turnabout and besmirch themselves with exactly the excrement that they do rail against.

    If one may venture to create with broadest brushstrokes a picture of the electorate, one can see that there is a vast violet colored middle ground upon which I and most of my fellow citizens do stand. There are indeed a few unhappy souls stained the brighter colors of the extremes (I doth cast a view askance upon my dear nemesis and nadir Macaca-san). It is unto these vituperative tormented beings that I find myself opposed and in no mood to stomach their bile and vitriol most foul. For years I have visited this Inter-Ethernetical Portal of personal opinions and read the diatribes and slurs of the rightmost extremists (yea Macaca-san tis thee I once ‘gain refer to). If I may use the parlance of today: “I have had enough”

    After dispatching dear Macaca-san’s misanthropy and misinformation regarding teh WMDz and LIE-berals, I have endeavored to enjoy a bit of fun at his expense now and again. Tis most comic to read the desperate evasions and petulent derisions spouted with unerring devotion to a failed and fouled worldview. Do rant and rave on dear fellows (and ladies) if it should release the black ichor from thy spirit, but it would seem in some the font of foulness runneth deep indeed (hail Macaca-san everlasting well of bitterness!)

    I beg thy forgiveness if your delicate sensibilities were offended by my hyperbolic excess with regard to man-whore-fornicating-meth-smoking/snorting Pastor Art. Surely you can see that his denials preceded the evidence in each case and his humbleness (while now admirable) were gain’d by a series of baldfaced lies and obfusciations? No?

    As always I await your reply with bated breath, for surely the humor derived from thy gyrations is worth a thousand thousand bottles of ale upon the proverbial wall.

  16. adam_blust Says:


    Since you didn’t answer my first question, I’ll try another.

    Do you consider your (assumed) heterosexuality to be a “lifestyle”? Or is it an intrinsic part of you?

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