Fallen pastor Ted Haggard is coming to Albuquerque to speak at New Life City this Friday through Saturday, writes our New Mexico Independent colleague Matthew Reichbach.
According to the Albuquerque Journal’s Newseeker blog, “The Rev. Alan Hawkins, pastor of New Life City in Albuquerque, said he extended the speaking invitation to Haggard to help people who may be struggling with ‘confused sexuality’ and other issues that led to catastrophe in Haggard’s life.”
New Life City is not related to New Life Church, the evangelical mega-church that Haggard founded in Colorado Springs.
A staunch opponent of gay rights, Pastor Ted was forced to step down from the pulpit and his role as head of the National Association of Evangelicals in 2006 after he admitted to an ongoing sex and methamphetamine pecadillo with a male escort. Later, Haggard was called to answer additional allegations leveled in Jan. 2009 that he had engaged in an inappropriate and drug-fueled sexual relationship with Grant Haas, a young male church volunteer. Haas claimed that New Life Church leaders knew about the illicit affair and later reneged on a “financial comfort” payoff. Current New Life pastor Brady Boyd vigorously denied the payment was “hush money” as it was portrayed in press accounts at the time.
Read the whole sordid saga at The Compleat Ted Haggard sex, drugs and hush money timeline.
Shortly after being outed in 2006 by Denver escort and masseuse Mike Jones and participating in a church-mandated restoration therapy, Haggard said he was “completely heterosexual.” However, in January 2009, the fallen pastor told the Los Angeles Times, “I am a heterosexual with issues” just as he embarked on a press junket for the HBO bio-pic “The Trials of Ted Haggard” and the Haas revelations were making news.
“My invitation to him is just because I love him, and he’s a valuable human being,” Hawkins said of Haggard, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “My belief has always been that a person is not defined by his worst moments and that his lifetime of good service was not canceled by this action.”