Tells Oprah He is Still Fighting Gay ‘Temptations’
An evangelical pastor who skyrocketed to Jesus Christ Superstardom as leader of one of America’s first mega-churches, then crashed and burned amid allegations of sex-for-money male hustlers and methamphetamines, told TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey he continues to struggle with sexuality “issues.”
In a prerecorded interview that included his wife and two of their three children, Ted Haggard told Winfrey he still has “sexual thoughts about men, but they’re not compulsive anymore,” and “I do have have temptations but”—you guessed it—“they’re not compulsive.”
The former mega-church pastor told the mega-host that a psychologist said that he’s a “heterosexual with homosexual attachments.”
Haggard also admitted that he’s felt gay urges his entire life.
Haggard’s rise began in a Colorado basement in 1984, where he founded New Life Church, overseeing its expansion into a congregation of 15,000 members. He also rose to preside over the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), a conservative Christian organization part-ecumenical council, part-political action committee which claims millions of members nationwide in 45,000 evangelical churches.
In 2006, Haggard was fired as senior pastor of New Life after allegations arose from a male escort named Mike Jones who claimed that Haggard had paid him for gay sex, and had also made purchases of methamphetamine. He also resigned as president of the NAE.
Haggard told Winfrey that the scandal forced him to deal with his gay “issues.”
“I do believe I don’t fit into the normal boxes,” he told the host. “I do think there are complexities associated with some people’s sexuality, but it just wasn’t as simple as I wanted it to be.”
Haggard admits that he “had this other thing going on inside of me, too.”
The segment aired just as allegations of a second sex scandal involving a young man emerged. These involve a 20 year old New Life Church member, identified only as “Grant,” who accuses Haggard of initiating an inappropriate relationship with him.
New Life’s current senior pastor, Brady Boyd, confirmed that “Grant” has been paid in exchange for keeping quiet about his accusations.
“Grant” has said that he was motivated by the release of HBO’s documentary “The Trials of Ted Haggard,” which the 20 year old claims wrongly portrays Haggard as a victim. The documentary first aired January 28.