A "Cured" Ted Haggard Chased Out of Town By His Church
The Rev. Ted Haggard, former senior pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Spring, CO and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, has emerged, bright and shiny, from an undisclosed de-gayification compound somewhere in Arizona, feeling as heterosexual as... well, as heterosexual as any man who's repeatedly paid for gay sex but bases his career on condemning homosexuality can feel, I suppose.
The Rev. Haggard dispatched an email to his former parishioners:
Jesus is starting to put me back together. I have spent so much time in repentance, brokenness, hurt and sorrow for the things I’ve done and the negative impact my actions have had on others. That sadness continues as my family and I, along with so many others, go through the painful consequences of my actions. Jesus and his followers, though, have saved my life. As part of New Life’s efforts to help me, they sent Gayle and me to Phoenix for a three-week psychological intensive that gave us three years worth of analysis and treatment. We all wanted to know why I developed such incongruity in my life. Thankfully, with the tools we gained there, along with the powerful way God has been illuminating His Word and the Holy Spirit has been convicting and healing me, we now have growing understanding which is giving me some hope for a future.In an interview by the Denver Post, however, it was revealed that these changes in Haggard's life have come at the insistence of his "overseers," a group of pastors who, presumably, are legitimately heterosexual or have not yet had their cover blown. According to one, the Rev. Tim Ralph, Haggard and his wife were "strongly urged" not to return to any kind of ministry. Another, the Rev. Mike Ware, said that they "recommended" that the Haggards move out of town. As for the reason why Haggard is going to pursue a psychology degree (like that other stalwart champion of Christian family values, James Dobson), H.B. London explains:
Gayle and I have decided to move from Colorado Springs to go back to school. We love Colorado Springs so much, and will always regard the believers at New Life Church as family, but we have to go in order to let the church determine its own course and for us to retrain. We haven't decided where we are moving but so far have been offered two places, one in Iowa and one in Missouri. We are both planning on getting our masters in Psychology so we can work together serving others the rest of our lives. Since we are taking our classes on-line, we can live anywhere that’s affordable. Then we’ll travel to location for short in-class requirements.
Thank you so much for your love and prayers during this horrific time of transition in our lives. For the last three months, I’ve not been communicative because I’ve been paralyzed by shame. But as God and people like you forgive me, the sun is starting to rise in my life. I look forward to communicating with greater ease.
"Many of us that go into the healing, helping professions do so out of some sort of dysfunction or traumatic event in our lives, and we want to do what we can to help other people avoid what we've gone through," he said. "He is certainly gifted and intelligent and has an intuitive side to him. And he has life experience. Those are good credentials."
Of course, the idea that a crippled physician is driven to solve others' maladies may make for good television, but in real life, I really don't think that I'd like to visit a psychologist who entered the profession specifically because of his own inner turmoil. But it's more likely that he'll specialize in treating other "wayward" Christian men, and therein lies the bitter aftertaste of this odious affair.