Controversy magnet Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor felled in a gay sex and drug scandal, is in the news once again. This time it involves no less than the pinnacle of conservative political targets: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pastor Ted claims that Speaker Pelosi offered him words of encouragement through her daughter, Alexandra, director of a Jan. 29 HBO documentary on Haggard’s life, writes U.S. News and World Report religion and politics reporter Dan Gilgoff.
As we were going through this time of pain, we received word through Alexandra that Nancy was communicating to us, words like, “God is bigger than this.” She would repeatedly [say], “My mom wants you to know that God is bigger than this.”
Pastor Ted also attributes his warming to the Democratic Party to Pelosi’s outreach as well as the epiphany that his declining financial fortunes might force his family to seek social safety net programs backed by the donkeys.
Pelosi mère and fille pointedly deny Haggard’s recollections.
The speaker’s press secretary told U.S. News, “The Speaker and Ted Haggard never met and they never spoke. The Speaker has never talked to her daughter, Alexandra, about Mr. Haggard. This account is simply not true.”
“Many Americans have been inspired by Speaker Pelosi’s story as the historic first woman Speaker of the House.”
The younger Pelosi, apparently less constrained by the genteel protocol of the halls of Congress, said in rebuttal:
Perhaps I said that my mother said, “God is bigger than this” because it’s something she often says. In other words, she’s saying “Don’t worry about it.” That’s why I’m not going to say that Ted’s delusional, because it’s a line she uses. But I never delivered any messages from the Speaker to Ted and my mother never intentionally delivered messages to Ted Haggard. Perhaps he was inspired by things she said. Lots of people are…I quote my mother and perhaps he was inspired by the quotes.
The wide-ranging interview will be dribbled out over the next few days, promises Gilgoff.