Pastor Ted Haggard (who got outed by a male prostitute a few years back) had a big, surprise announcement yesterday. It turns out he is starting a new church, something he knows about since he built one of the biggest megachurches in the country only to be kicked out of it for being gay.
This isn't really news even though it finally got reported yesterday - Ted Haggard was talking about the formation of St. James Church back in mid-May:
In April, Haggard's wife, Gayle, registered St. James Church as a nonprofit located at their home address on Old Ranch Road, according to documents filed with the Colorado secretary of state's office.
Haggard told the Colorado Springs Gazette on Tuesday that St. James had been incorporated for accounting purposes, because the couple gives paid talks around the country.
It's registered as a nonprofit, and it's put together for "accounting purposes" to account for all that money they're making in speaking fees. Now I know a few people who get checks for speaking here and there, but none of them that I know of have incorporate a church in order to be able to account for that money. Tax law doesn't require anyone to form a church to speak for money.
Unless he wants to have a church collect that money tax-free and then run his expenses through that church so he saves a few shekels.
Now, he wouldn't be the first person to abuse church's tax-exempt status for his own personal gain. Just the way this country works. If anything, church's should lose their tax exemption on all income not actually used for charity (like feeding and sheltering people kind of charity, not getting them into heaven kind of charity), but they're another industry like the military industrial complex and the health care industry with so much money and entrenched power that that's not going to change any time soon.
Ted Haggard still seems excessively confused by his sexuality. On his bizarre appearance on Oprah last year he refused to be pinned down to any sort of label - even the "my sexuality doesn't have a label" label. Here's what I wrote about him at the time:
Half of what he said made no sense at all. If God loves him the way he is now, and he thinks that sexuality is something that can't be changed, then why does he think heterosexual, monogamous relationships are the "ideal" and that he should try to change? If he thinks he should accept himself the way he is now and that lying and self-denial are wrong, then what's up with the "heterosexual with issues" line, instead of saying that he's gay or bi or queer?
It doesn't make much sense to analyze him from the perspective of what he says. The man's a liar, a smooth liar who lies like he talks. He didn't mention the latest accusation against him which came out a couple days after the show was taped and said he didn't because of "privacy concerns." (Uh-huh, that's why the young man he molested got paid hush money and Ted called him up to make sure he destroyed evidence.)
It's easier to understand him from the perspective of what he wants. The clip from the HBO documentary on him in which he called himself a "loser" because he was poor (after getting $300K from the church and not having to cover his own housing), was pretty revealing: he was able to blow through that money quickly to maintain a certain lifestyle and he attached his self-worth to having those things. The wife, the family, the respect, the fame, the fortune, all of that seems like what he wants, and he seems to be willing to do whatever he needs to do to get those things.
Oprah did a good job with the interview and tried to clear up some of the confusion, but of course what he's saying will be confusing because he's pretty confused himself. Gayle, though, seems to be in a different place in her understanding of what her husband is going though, which indicates to me that they don't talk much about it.
And now he's saying that everyone is welcome in his church, no matter their sexuality (so long as gay people know their place since he won't bless same-sex relationships), but said: