Ted Haggard: ‘Heterosexual with Issues’ Or Bisexual without a Clue?

Disgraced megachurch preacher Ted Haggard is back. The poster boy of sexuality-based self-hatred is the subject of a new HBO documentary, The Trials of Ted Haggard,” by Alexandra Pelosi. He is also the object of new allegations of sordid misconduct back when he was still the spiritual leader of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado, as well as the president of the National Evangelical Association and a frequent visitor to the Bush White House.

“Are we going to be godly, or are we going to be bad?”
– Ted Haggard to Grant Haas

The charges come from Grant Haas, 22, who says he sought counseling from Haggard three years ago after having been kicked out of a Bible college because he was gay. But based on Haas’ description, it appears Haggard’s “counseling” was more about how to live as a closeted but still sexually active right-wing Christian on the down low than it was, thankfully, about “reparative therapy” or any of the other so-called Christians’ anti-gay hokum.

In an extensive radio interview last week with pioneering gay activist Michaelangelo Signorile, Haas described a world behind the scenes at New Life that sounds more like Saturday night at Disco-era bathhouse than everyday goings-on at a megachurch.

First of all, Pastor Ted was even more of a hot mess than was known previously. For example, he told Haas that he frequently indulged in a lethal cocktail of drugs he called the “party formula”:

HAAS: [Haggard] explained that the “party formula” usually involved taking crystal-meth, poppers, Viagra, renting pornography and jerking off alone or with others. He told me that he knew a lot of people who were into this type of activity and found it very enjoyable.

Haggard also revealed that his favorite porn film was “Greek Holiday.” And, venturing way deep into TMI territory, he informed Haas that he owned a dildo that was cast from his own, well, self, which he’d nicknamed “Ted 2.”

According to Haas, Haggard and other male staffers ran a program called “Twenty-four-Seven,” which Signorile describes as

[A] sort of Bible boot camp where young men, 18-23, are worked out intensely and get all cut up [toned] and muscled while also praying to Jesus, immersed in this 24 hours a day, often being woken up at all hours of the night. Haggard and another man who is described as “struggling with homosexuality” often oversaw the program, including going to the gym with the young men in the morning to work out and shower with them. They often went on training missions — including simulated counter-terrorism missions, as Christians under attack…

Beyond extremely inappropriate conversations, Haggard’s behavior also crossed the line (also detailed in the video above):

Haas also talks about a 2006 trip to Cripple Creek, Col., he took with Haggard: “He asked me if we were going to be godly or bad that night. Were we going to just hang out and be friends or was I going to go buy him porn and masturbate with him and take methamphetamines with him and show me all these things he likes to do with him when he travels.”

Amid all these distasteful revelations, however, there is this odd formulation:

HAAS: [Haggard] began to explain that most men struggle with homosexual desires and began to regurgitate information that would be found in Alfred’s Kinsey’s sexual research reports. He described that some of his staff had strong homosexual desires, some had no homosexual desires, but most fell somewhere in the middle (the Kinsey scale of sexuality)…

This surprise here is that an evangelical would acknowledge that bisexuality — which is the term Kinsey ascribed to everyone inside the spectrum’s extremes — even exists. It would appear to make it harder to sell the snake oil of “curing” homosexuality, if the salesmen cop to the fact that some people — Kinsey said most people — are attracted to both sexes to some degree. This would suggest that most of the therapy’s “successes” are really bisexuals who were simply guilted into tamping down their same-sex attractions.

Appearing on “Oprah,” Haggard denied he was gay, describing himself instead as a “heterosexual with issues.” Since the record is clear that he is, at the very least, a bisexual, this self-description indicates he’s still toeing the evangelical company line that the godly don’t believe people are bisexual. In any case, the statement proves, again, that Ted Haggard is among the most determinedly self-deluded figures of our age.

On “Larry King Live” last week, Haggard admitted Haas’ allegations were true and offered an apology to the young man, who says his experience with Haggard led him into a spiral of drugs and suicide attempts. New Life Church, by the way, agreed to pay Haas $180,000 after he came forward with the allegations after the Haggard scandal broke in November 2006. How much of the money has paid or is still owed, and whether the funds were “hush money,” remains in dispute.

One comment

  • tpagy
    February 10, 2009 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Glad to Know that things haven’t Changed in the charasmatic Movement from the Seventies. I was 15 now going on 52 when the same thing Happened to me in the Church I belonged to In Tampa and that was when Ted Haggard was just becoming a big thing in this cult and it is a cult but it was well known what was happening because I went to the Pastor at the time and told him what was happening after finding out I was only one of about 20 Teenage boys being abused by an Elder in the Church for years. I finally walked away from this Church a Seventeen after it was revealed That a Deacon had Raped 4 preteen Girls during Church services in sunday school classes and spoke in tounges to them so they would’nt say anything(thats there perferred way) and he was a Sargent in the Airforce Stationed at MacDill airforce base What did this church do call the Police No they Excommunicated Him and let him Go so its no suprise about Haggard. And Yes I am Gay and was Gay when this Happened to me and why did I let it Happen to me well when you fall for your Abuser and this is the first person you think you fall in love with and trust them is How so beware of Charasmatic evangelicals they are a preverted bunch who are obssesed with Sex Exspecially Gay sex! Glad this Kid got something he deserves A whole lot more.

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