New Life Pastor Brady Boyd revealed that Ted Haggard had sex with men in addition to the male prostitute that brought the former evangelical leader down, including a volunteer at his Church. This is not the shocking; it seemed to be a given. But, what is disturbing is what New Life Church did to try to cover-up the other lovers.
While the drama of the Ted Haggard fall is still a sore spot for many evangelicals, it would seem that backdoor deals were being made to keep other lovers from coming forward. While the public was wondering if Mike Jones had been the only lover for Haggard, the church had begun the process of silencing the lover within New Life’s walls. Board members even denied other lovers.So it would seem that Ted Haggard was not the only one guilty of deception.After Ted Haggard moved back to Colorada from his exile in Arizona, Pastor Boyd met with him at his home and asked him not to release the HBO documentary,or it would incite allegations against him to come out. What Boyd fails to mention in his interviews is that these allegations were from the same period of time, and that the church used several tactics to hush up those involved.
The reason this all came to light was because one man decided to break his silence, so New Life had to admit to AP, what was going to be revealed. According to New Life’s pastor, Brady Boyd, the pay-off was no big deal.
“The man got months of counseling. Then in December 2007, he received the first of several payments for his tuition and board at a Chicago college and othermoney for continued counseling, Boyd said. The cash came with a confidentiality agreement that barred all parties from talking about the relationship.”
“This decision was made not as an attempt to conceal wrongdoings, but to protect him from those who would seek to exploit him. His actions now suggest thathe has changed his mind. [The church] received reports of a number of incidents of inappropriate behavior
Why is this problematic?
It would seem that while New Life was throwing rocks at Ted Haggard with one hand, they were paying off lovers with the other. The leadership of New Life clearly chose to white wash the truth, even when they were calling for transparency.
1. They used Church insurance to pay to cover-up this relationship, but longtime parishoner, Doug Prensner quotes the Church line, “This was compassionatecare, assistance money to help him heal and get on with his life.”
2. Shunned, excommunicated and exiled, according to Ted Haggard
3. Continuous verbal insults leveled at Ted Haggard by New Life, its leadership, and the Evangelical communility solely on the basis of sexuality.
4. They are still acting in their own best interest not in the interest of the people involved. By silencing it, they can pretend nothing ever happened. Byshunning Haggard, they can pretend he never exsisted. This is a method that is used too ofter, and serves no purpose, and is in fact, as anti-gospel as aChurch can get. Jesus confronted the religious for white-washing, deception, and failing to love and forgive without conditions.
Not So Fast With That Stone
According to Mike Jones, the male prostitute who had a 3-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard, If New Life church would have stepped up immediatelyand said you know what, we do have others there would be no discussion, but they chose to cover it up.There are now calls to investigate New Life for possible coersion or manipulation into silence of the volunteer. One of those calling for that investigationis an organization called “Truth Wins Out. “
“Until conservative churches stop shaming gay people and learn to accept them, we will see more tawdry scandals,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “These calamities are a direct result of the closet.” Those may be accurate words, but some people are not willing to pay the price that Ted Haggard, Roberts Liardon, and other leaders in the Evangelical community have paid for their sexuality.
This volunteer, who has now profitted from his consensual sexual relationship is supposedly angry because He thinks Haggard is claiming to be a victim. In a bizarre twist of yet another case of someone with a tape recorder, the volunteer brought out a tape of Haggard calling the relationship inappropriate and apologizing. By bringing out the tape, it makes the former lover appear as more opportunistic. His actions could also show that he was shamed or bullied into “repentence” for his relationship with Haggard by the New Life team, and may finally be man enough to stop letting the Church dictate what he can and cannot say. If the motive of the money was to get on with his life, the only person who is to blame for his upcoming revealing is himself.
Here are a few questions that need to be asked.
1. Did this young man talk to Ted Haggard before he booked his appearance on TV to tell his story.
2. Don’t you find it odd that Boyd said, “the church preferred to keep the matter private” but called AP to give them the story? Actually I know the answer to that. It is called damage control. They want to control any potential fallout by putting it out there first?
3. Is this man still a member of New Life?
4. What assurances do Churchmembers have that there are no further revelations?
5, How was his schooling paid for by insurance?
The sad thing is that New Life does not seem to get it. They are still acting like Ted Haggard is some demon, but there would be no New Life had it not been for Him. He started the Church. They are benefitting off of what HE built. Further, the forgiveness is a little blurry given all the animosity that is coming from their mouths. This is no longer an issue about homosexuality, but a clear WWJD thing, and in the two years since Haggard’s dismissal, the only words toward Haggard have been insults, not to mention how the leadership has all but exiled the wife and children. Now if that is what Jesus would do, then the Church is in trouble.
Do not get the impression that Ted Haggard is innocent in this, because he is not. But, the treatment he received from people claiming to be Christians is not deserved by anyone. Although, this may be a situation where Haggard is reaping what he sowed since for years, his frustration with his own identity led him to be
hateful, mean-spirited, and bring about the intolerant attitudes towards homosexuals he has now received.
The Ted Haggard case has been handled wrong on all sides. The man, looking for his 15 minutes of fame, New Life, which has been accused more than once under the leadership of Brady Boyd of covering up the truth, the Church for choosing judgment over compassion, and Ted Haggard for choosing to deceive instead of just coming out of the closet. So, there is a whole lot of blame to go around, but in the end, this story comes down to how one man’s denial of self caused a whole lot of people to be hurt and act very unchristlike.