Pastor Ted: “The Farthest Thing From a Homosexual…”

Colorado Confidential wants to know: Where is the veritable blue dress?

Last night’s Channel 9 Wants to Know report that Pastor Ted Haggard has been having a “sexual business” relationship with a Denver man for three years has reverberated far and wide.

But so far, nothing has been produced by way of proof that would verify the man’s assertion that he has had gay sex with Haggard and even watched him do methamphetamine.This morning, Pastor Ted’s right hand man, New Life Church Associate Pastor Rob Brendle, flat-out rejected Denver resident Mike Jones claims aired first on Peter Boyles’ radio show yesterday and repeated on Channel 9 News. In shocked tones, news anchor Bob Kendrick introduced the segment in which Jones made his unsubstantiated claims as, “a stunning accusation against the leader of one of Colorado’s most popular megachurches.”

Clearly distressed, Brendle said that he hadn’t yet spoken to Haggard, but had this to say about the gay escort’s claim: “This is clearly a political stunt. Ted is the farthest thing from a homosexual as you can get. Trust me.”

“This is baseless, petty and false,” said Brendle. “There isn’t any proof because there’s nothing there.”

In addition to leading Colorado’s largest megachurch, Haggard is also the powerful president of the National Association of Evangelicals. His supporters have rallied in response, and plan to hold a press conference in solidarity today at 3 p.m. at the Gazebo at the downtown Pioneer’s Museum, a popular political stump stop. A group of Colorado Springs religious leaders will possibly be joined by elected officials and other community leaders, said Jim Banks, a consultant who previously worked at Focus on the Family and most recently ran Jeff Crank’s unsuccessful bid for Congress.

The rally is being organized by Pastor Steve Holt of the 3,000-member Mountain Springs Church in Colorado Springs, Banks said. Holt, who has a weekly religious radio show on KGFT FM 100.7, is most recently known for a “Marriage Covenant” campaign in Colorado Springs designed to reverse a local divorce rate that is as much as 70 percent — higher than anywhere in Colorado.

“Obviously we wouldn’t be doing this if we thought it was true,” said Banks of the upcoming rally. “We don’t think it’s true; it’s politically motivated.”

New Life Church has contributed $12,000 to the campaign for Amendment 43, next Tuesday’s ballot measure that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state’s constitution. But, Haggard has not exactly been “the hammer on the gay marriage issue,” Brendle says. “They’re looking for the guy who’s holding the gun on [Amendment] 43 but this is underhanded; it’s debased and they’ve got the wrong guy.”

Haggard clearly supports Amendment 43, but he has not been in the forefront of opposition to Colorado’s Referendum I, which would recognize same-gender partnerships.

As detailed in a Sept. 7 Colorado Springs Independent news story:

While Haggard supports federal and state constitutional amendments that limit marriage to a man and a woman, he’s more measured in his view of domestic partnerships.

“If the state wants to provide people who are in a different type of relationship the same benefits as marriage, that’s up to the community,” he says. “As a Christian, I would be hesitant to do anything that would deny people medical insurance or the ability to visit their partner in a hospital.”

Haggard agrees with Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down anti-sodomy laws and, unlike [Focus on the Family founder James] Dobson, is generally cautious about codifying religious teaching in law.

“We believe within the church that sexuality should be only between a married man and a woman,” Haggard says. “But there are many things that I teach in the church that I would never want integrated into civil law.”

At its website, Channel 9 indicates the station “will continue to update this story as information becomes available.” However, the producer and story reporters have not responded to inquiries about whether or when they plan to present any proof to back up Jones’ allegations.

As for the veritable blue dress, perhaps John Mark Carr was wearing it when he flew back to California…

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Cara Degette

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