News Intelligence Analysis
From the New York Times
Ted Haggard Now Completely Heterosexual
By NEELA BANERJEE
February 7, 2007
Forced by a gay sex scandal to resign as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Rev. Ted Haggard now feels that after three weeks of intensive counseling, he is completely heterosexual, says an overseer of the megachurch Mr. Haggard once led.
The church official, the Rev. Tim Ralph, said in an interview published yesterday by The Denver Post that Mr. Haggard had also told the board of overseers that his only sexual relationship involving another man had been with Michael Jones, the onetime Denver prostitute who exposed that three-year affair last fall. Mr. Jones said then that he was making it public because Mr. Haggard had acted hypocritically in promoting a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage.
Mr. Haggard, who as a result of the scandal was ousted by the overseers in November as senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, broke a three-month silence over the weekend when he contacted members of the church by e-mail to tell them that he was healing.
His three weeks of counseling, in Phoenix, felt like three years worth of analysis and treatment, but now Jesus is starting to put me back together, Mr. Haggard wrote in the e-mail message, which was published in The Colorado Springs Gazette on Monday.
I have spent so much time in repentance, brokenness, hurt and sorrow for the things Ive done and the negative impact my actions have had on others, he said.
Mr. Haggard could not be reached for comment yesterday. Mr. Ralph declined through a spokeswoman to comment, and there was no response to telephone calls and e-mail to another overseer or to a New Life spokesman. But Mr. Ralph told The Denver Post that Mr. Haggard had come out of the counseling convinced of his heterosexuality.
He is completely heterosexual, Mr. Ralph told The Post, adding that Mr. Haggards homosexual activity had not been a constant thing.
Dr. Jack Drescher, a New York psychiatrist who is an expert on issues of gender and sexuality, said that while it was peoples prerogative to identify their sexual orientation as they wanted, the notion of being able to change that orientation was not consistent with clinical presentations, but totally consistent with theological belief.
Some people in the community that Mr. Haggard comes from believe homosexuality is a form of behavior, a sinful form of behavior based on certain things in the Bible, and they dont believe you can create a healthy identity based on sinful behavior, Dr. Drescher said. So they define it as a behavior that can be changed, and there is this thinking that if you control those behaviors enough, heterosexual attractions will follow.
Mr. Haggard said in his message to New Life members that he and his wife were taking online courses to get masters degrees in psychology, and Mr. Ralph told The Post that the oversight board had recommended to Mr. Haggard that he take up secular work.
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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See the related articles:
How Ted Haggard Was
Fired and Why
By Laurie Goodstein
November 19, 2006
The four ministers who assembled here
two weeks ago to decide the fate of the
Rev. Ted Haggard were facing a painful
choice. A male prostitute had accused Mr.
Haggard, one of the nations most prominent
evangelical ministers, of engaging in a three-
year affair with him and of using drugs.
Then, in a private emergency meeting, Mr.
Haggard promptly confessed to the ministers
his handpicked board of overseers
that he had engaged in sexual immorality.
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