Documentary about shamed US evangelical Ted Haggard airs next month

Tony Grew December 22, 2008
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Preacher Ted Haggard will talk publicly about his fall from grace at the American Television Critics Association next month.

He will be there to promote a documentary, The Trials of Ted Haggard, which will air on HBO in the US on January 29th.

The film was directed by Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

In it Mr Haggard speaks frankly about the events that led to his 2006 resignation after revelations of a three-year gay relationship with a prostitute.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

“Throughout the film, he swings from self-loathing to self-aggrandisement to self-pity, yet only once does he seem to express real emotion.

“That occurs as he drives down a lonely highway to make stops to sell insurance. Close to tearing up, the 52-year-old former pastor says, “At this stage of my life, I am a loser.'”

The founder of Colorado’s New Life Church, Mr Haggard had to resign the leadership of the church and the presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals after it emerged that he had been involved in a sexual relationship with Mike Jones and had bought and taken methamphetamines with male prostitutes.

“We look forward to presenting the film, Ted Haggard and his family at a press tour in LA next month,” a spokeswoman for HBO told the New York Post.

Mr Jones, 50, claims that Mr Haggard, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, was a monthly client for three years.

He said the married pastor told him his fantasy was “to have sex with about 6 young college guys ranging from 18 to 22 in age.”

Mr Haggard entered three weeks of reparative therapy and then claimed to have been cured of his homosexual leanings.

In February 2007, in an interview with the Denver Post, one of the four pastors who have been giving Haggard the intensive course of counselling said:

“He is completely heterosexual. That is something he discovered.

“It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn’t a constant thing.”

In an apology to the church he urged members to forgive and thank Mr Jones for exposing deceit.

“There I was, 50 years old, a conservative Republican, loving the word of God, an evangelical, born-again, spirit-filled, charismatic, all those things,” Mr Haggard said in a tape released online last month.

He claimed he was sexually abused as a child.

“Some of the things that were buried in the depths of the sea from when I was in the second grade started to rage in my heart and mind.”

In the tape he admited he had “sinned” but said some of the allegations against him had been exaggerated.

In the documentary Mr Haggard is candid about his sexuality.

“I did some same-sex play when I was in the second grade, then all that blew up when I was 50,” he said.

“I had to analyse myself — a heterosexual, a homosexual, gay, straight, bisexual? What are you Ted Haggard? I wrestled with it, fought with it, argued with it.

“I am who I am. I am an evangelical, and continue from time to time to struggle with same-sex attraction.”

More: Americas

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