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.


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.


  1. Thank you Rachel. Haggard faces accusations of another relationship with a young adult parishioner. But then there's they mayor of SF who's been forced to admit the same thing with a 17 yr old boy and wants to keep his job. God bless honesty.

  2. I appreciate YOUR honesty too. I also saw that episode of Oprah but walked away feeling heartbroken. I can't quite define why I felt that way, though.

    My church has been going through some difficult issues, and while our pastorship has not been involved in the level of deceit that Ted Haggard was, it has still been illuminating (in the bad way). Maybe the lesson of Ted Haggard is that we are all imperfect; struggling to meet the grace that has been extended to us. Some of us just have to do it publicly.

    hmmmm... still thinking about it.

  3. I saw the Oprah interview too and likewise felt compassion for Haggard. What stuck out to me was his comment that he'd approached a friend and church leader about his struggles with homosexual thoughts, the friend brushed him off and changed the subject, communicating to Haggard "it is not okay to be honest about this."

    I wonder how much sin could be averted if our churches were safe enough for Christian leaders to be vulnerable about their struggles.

  4. Did Haggard say "I am homosexual" or "I am Bisexual"?

    If not then he hasn't repented yet.

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  6. Dear "One Salient Oversight,"

    Not sure what you comment/question meant. Did he say he was a homosexual? No. He says he has tendencies but has since steered clear of them.

    Even if he had, the point of the article was a recognition of all of as a fellow sinners, not another pointing of fingers. (speck in another's eye, log in one's own)....

    Also, I believe it is important to be cognizant of those in the Christian GLBT community. Let's not make this a case of inside/outside the camp...