Focus on the Family: Ted Haggard
I didn’t set out to pray for Ted Haggard. In fact, he wouldn’t have made my top 1,000 concerns.
But a couple Sundays ago at church, we had a prayer station where we could pick newspaper clippings out of a bowl, promising that we would pray for whatever situation or person we picked. A friend ahead of me got an article about the new Miss America, and I waited with baited breath for my turn. I fished around for a minute, almost sneaking a peak so I could get something cool.
"PASTOR TED HAGGARD FACES MORE GAY SEX ACCUSATIONS"
Foiled! I look around and think about a re-draw.
As a Denver resident, I already spend way too much thinking about the faith flubs of our fearless Christian leaders just an hour south in Colorado Springs. However, I hadn’t heard about the latest Haggard scandal, so I decided to research. Just my luck – Haggard was making an appearance on Oprah that week. I set my TiVo, as I wanted to get some good quotes.
The only Haggard video I had seen previously were on the documentaries “Jesus Camp,” and “Affluenza,” and both times he appeared less than genuine and a touch creepy.
I braced myself and poised my pen, but the Ted Haggard that I saw on Oprah was not the Ted Haggard of old.
He was apologetic. He admitted his past faults and current struggles - who of us could do that on national television? His wife sat next to him and told her side of the painful ordeal, which to me was more amazing - who of us would have stuck with him? In a world of Blagojevichian scandals followed by denials and elaborate cover-ups, I wanted to stand up and cheer.
Contrary to others’ take on this interview (most of whom think he and his wife are both in denial of his gayness), I thought his brokenness was true and beautiful. And as Ted made an unprecedented jump to the top of my prayer list that week, I was able to pray for him like a friend going through a rough time, one who chose a public life but faced a public humiliation with more grace than I ever could.