Friday, November 03, 2006

Cast The First Stone

Mr Haggard said he stepped aside "voluntarily" (Photo - AP)

The leader of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals in the US has resigned after being accused of paying for sex with a man. The Reverend Ted Haggard said he would also temporarily step aside as head of his 14,000-strong New Life Church while his colleagues investigated the claims.

Mr Haggard, who is known as a vocal opponent of same-sex marriages, denies the accusations. The claims were made by a man during a radio show in Denver, Colorado. In a statement to the New Life Church, Mr Haggard said he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations".

The row began after Mike Jones said he had been paid to have sex with Mr Haggard nearly every month over the past three years. The allegations come as voters in Colorado and several other US states are due to hold simultaneous votes on gay marriage laws.

Mr Jones, 49, said Mr Haggard's public stance on gay marriage had prompted him to reveal the details of their relationship. "It made me angry that here's someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex," Mr Jones told the Associated Press news agency.

So, which of the following will most of the good pastor's flock be most inclined to do :

(a) forgive
(b) forget
(c) forgive and forget
(d) forgive, then burn down his house, then forget


The Rev. Ted Haggard admitted today he bought methamphetamine from a male prostitute but maintained he never had sex with the man and never used the drug. "I bought it for myself but never used it. I was tempted but I never used it," he said, smiling constantly from the driver’s seat of his pickup truck as he answered questions from reporters outside his home. His wife sat silently next to him; three of his children were in the backseat.

He was on his way to an appointment and couldn’t talk long... A panel of outside church leaders wanted to talk to him about the scandal, he said. "Both (religious) positions
[leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals and his 14,000-member New Life Church] are based on trust and right now my trust is questionable," he said.

[/Update Friday November 3, 2006]

Disgraced former US evangelical leader Ted Haggard has confessed to his followers that he was guilty of "sexual immorality". "I am a deceiver and a liar," Mr Haggard said in a letter - a day after his New Life Church fired him for what it called "sexually immoral conduct".

I could have made a killing in Las Vegas betting on that one...

[/Update Sunday November 5, 2006]


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