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Friday, November 03, 2006

Maybe Rev. Ted Should Consider Scientology

The Church of Scientology is well known for providing cover for closeted gay celebrities.

In the meantime, here's the latest AP story.....

Evangelist Admits Meth, Massage, No Sex

Friday November 3, 2006 7:46 PM


Associated Press Writer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Evangelist Ted Haggard admitted Friday that he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a gay prostitute who claims he was paid for drug-fueled trysts by the outspoken gay marriage opponent.

Haggard resigned Thursday as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and stepped down as leader of his Colorado megachurch while the two groups investigate the allegations.

Talking to reporters outside his house Friday, Haggard denied the sex allegations but said that he did buy meth from the man because he was curious.

``I bought it for myself but never used it,'' he said. ``I was tempted, but I never used it.''

Haggard, a married father of five, said he never had sex with Mike Jones, a 49-year-old male prostitute who sparked the scandal when he told a radio station he had had a three-year sexual relationship with the minister. He said he did get a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel.

Haggard resigned as president of the 30 million-member association Thursday and stepped down as the leader of the New Life Church pending investigations into Jones' claims.

The executive committee of the National Association of Evangelicals, which claims 30 million members, planned a conference call Friday and said it would release a statement afterward.

The acting pastor of Haggard's New Life Church, Ross Parsley, told congregants in an e-mail that the church's four-member board of overseers had met with Haggard on Thursday.

``It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true. He has willingly and humbly submitted to the authority of the board of overseers, and will remain on administrative leave during the course of the investigation,'' the e-mail stated.

The scandal hit as voters in Colorado and seven other states are getting ready to decide Tuesday on amendments banning gay marriage. Besides the proposed ban on the Colorado ballot, a separate measure would establish the legality of domestic partnerships providing same-sex couples with many of the rights of married couples.

Members of Haggard's 14,000-member megachurch were stunned.

``It's political, right before the elections,'' said Brian Boals, a New Life member for 17 years.

Church member E.J. Cox, 25, called the claims ``ridiculous.''

``People are always saying stuff about Pastor Ted,'' she said. ``You just sort of blow it off. He's just like anyone else in the public eye.''

Jones said he decided to go public because he was also upset when he discovered Haggard and the New Life Church had publicly opposed same-sex marriage.

``It made me angry that here's someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex,'' he said.

``I just want people to step back and take a look and say, 'Look, we're all sinners, we all have faults, but if two people want to get married, just let them, and let them have a happy life,''' said Jones, who added that he isn't working for any political group.

Jones claimed that Haggard, 50, paid him to have sex nearly every month over three years. He said he advertised himself as an escort on the Internet and was contacted by a man who called himself Art, who snorted methamphetamine before their sexual encounters to heighten his experience.

Jones said he later saw the man on television identified as Haggard and that the two last had sex in August.

He said he has voice mail messages from Haggard, as well as an envelope he said Haggard used to mail him cash. He declined to make the voice mails available to the AP, but KUSA-TV reported what it said were excerpts late Thursday that referred to methamphetamine.

``Hi Mike, this is Art,'' one call began, according to the station. ``Hey, I was just calling to see if we could get any more. Either $100 or $200 supply.''

A second message, left a few hours later, began: ``Hi Mike, this is Art, I am here in Denver and sorry that I missed you. But as I said, if you want to go ahead and get the stuff, then that would be great. And I'll get it sometime next week or the week after or whenever.''

Haggard was appointed president of the evangelicals association in March 2003. He has participated in conservative Christian leaders' conference calls with White House staffers and lobbied members of Congress last year on U.S. Supreme Court appointees after Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement.

After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004, Haggard and others began organizing state-by-state opposition. Last year, Haggard and officials from the nearby Christian ministry Focus on the Family announced plans to push Colorado's gay marriage ban for the 2006 ballot.

At the time, Haggard said that he believed marriage is a union between a man and woman rooted in centuries of tradition, and that research shows it's the best family unit for children.


Associated Press Writer Dan Elliott contributed to this report from Denver.

Ah, nothing like ordering up a massage under an assumed name when you're out of town.....