Alex Blaze

Ted Haggard on Oprah live-blog

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 28, 2009 3:50 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Fundie Watch
Tags: Baptist Church, drug abuse, Gayle Haggard, live-blogging, meth, New Life Church, oprah, oprah show, oprah winfrey, Ted Haggard, ted Haggard

Sum-up: I really liked this show. We got to know a good deal more about Ted Haggard and what he's going through now.

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.

One thing that Oprah didn't get into was the drug use. Meth is highly addictive, and from the way he was buying it from Mike Jones, he seemed like an addict. While he went to pray-away-the-gay camp in Arizona for a month right after all this came out, I doubt he was able to get help for his drug addiction.

Maybe this is how he managed to spend that $300K and his family's life savings so quickly? It merits discussion as well, considering that that's an actual sickness. But, oh well, it's not what everyone thinks of when they think of Ted Haggard.

What did you all think of the show?

4:54: Ted: I apologize to Mike Jones and to the homosexual community.

Oprah: Do you regret being a homophobe?

Ted: I wasn't hateful. God's ideal is heterosexual, monogamous relationships. Ideal is no divorce.

4:49: Ted can't get a job, moved from rental house to a hotel. Debt piles up. Life sucks for Ted and his family.

Wait, didn't the church give him $300,000 when he left? And he was making bank off that church for a while. Where did that money go?

Now he's back in Colorado and Ted doesn't feel like a loser anymore.

4:43: Oprah: You're gay or what?

Ted: Sexual identity is too complex to be put in a box.

Gayle: It's a choice.

Oprah: You're wrong. I don't understand what it's like to be gay, but it's who they are and denying it is wrong and God doesn't want you to deny it.

Ted: I have wiggle-room for personal responsibility.

Oprah (having an "Ah-hah!" moment): Your personal responsibility was to stop lying, not to stop denying yourself! (Ted and Oprah high-five)

Ted: Jesus changed me. Homosexuality isn't a sickness.

The older Haggard kids are there. They're both saying that Ted's downfall was a way to connect with him. They're both speaking in buzzwords, but the boy is doing a better job at it.

4:35: Oprah: So you were kicked out of Colorado by your church in exchange for hush money. What's up with that?

Gayle: It was to protect us, and I'm sure if it weren't for the media we coulda stuck around.

Ted: I'm sorry.

Oprah: For being a hypocrite?

Ted: Yeah, and not being an ideal.

Oprah: Gay doesn't work that way. Wouldn't the ideal be coming out?

Ted: No, it was demons. [Yes, he literally said "demons."]

Gayle: Sexual identity is a choice.

Ted: No, you're wrong, inclinations aren't a choice, but identity is.

4:28: This is actually a lot more interesting that I thought it would be. But this dude really just loves getting attention, no matter how. Sinner, saint, whatever: look at me!

Ted's wife Gayle is on now.

Gayle: I knew that he had had problems and was seeing counselors, but "I felt as though he was winning this battle."

Oprah: How was the sex?

Gayle: Amazing! Woo hoo!

But she doesn't go into why Ted had to take meth to have sex with her....

4:20: Haggard: I would have killed myself if my family left me. I even asked my wife to divorce me but she refused.

Oprah: You represent gay people everywhere and are "tortured by it." How can you deny who you are? Do you believe accepts homosexuals?

Haggard: Christ accepts everyone; I was hoping for inner transformation.

Oprah: Still attracted to men?

Haggard: I do have sexual thoughts about men, but they're not compulsive anymore. I thought I could pray away the gay. And yeah I lied about buying meth and throwing it away.

4:12: Oprah: Are you gay?

Haggard: I'm a heterosexual with gay attachments. Sexuality is complex. I was deeply in love with my wife.... Oops, I mean am! Am!

Haggard: I'm from Indiana! And was a bed-wetter until 6th grade! The real issue is that I was molested, not that I'm gay.

4:06: Good synopsis of the story, the power Haggard had, and the lies. I really forgot half the details and how funny that car interview was.

Haggard: I lived in two worlds, church love and "struggle with homosexuality." I just wanted to be free.

Oprah: Wanted to be free or were you just caught lying?

Haggard: Yeah, and you just caught lying me again.

3:50: Snowed in here in Indiana, so I'll be watching Ted Haggard on Oprah. Watch it here with me - I'll be live-blogging the show.

They won't be talking about Grant Haas, the teen who came forward this past week with allegations of sexual molestation.

After this show was taped, a former church volunteer, identified as "Grant," leveled new allegations against Ted. Grant accuses Ted of performing a sex act in his presence and sending explicit text messages in 2006.

Ted responds, writing: "Oprah, I did not reveal the relationship on your show out of privacy concerns--even though there was never any physical contact. I have regretted my irresponsible behavior. I apologized to Grant, my family and the church two years ago. I now ask him again for his forgiveness as well as the people of the church."

What will they talk about? Stay tuned.

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There was no mention of accepting his bi-sexuality from him or his wife. He talked in Christian evangelical terms of either one is gay or straight in the eyes of Jesus. Bisexuality is a proven scientific fact with many people and sounds like Haggard may be Bi. Didn't realize that he was a farm boy from Indiana with apple pie heterosexual Presbyterian values. His children were the most educated and sane people on the program. It's sad for the family. I do have compassion for them and Jones. Neither can find a job and there are unpaid mortgages on his Colorado house.

I saw an hour of Ted Haggard talking out of both sides of his mouth. He is clearly trying to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of his former followers. He talks about not being hateful and having an "intrinsic" same sex attraction yet he still maintained that in his eyes it was a sin. Comparing it to divorce in this statement, "God's ideal is heterosexual, monogamous relationships. Ideal is no divorce," illustrates this perfectly. Since Jesus directly spoke out against divorce his intention is clear. "Ideal" is Haggard's code word for "not sin."

My spouse is a devout Christian and she saw right through his deceit. I doubt he'll succeed in his quest for redemption in the eyes of the Reich Wing churches.

Saw Oprah, was reading comments & not planning on responding, then I saw "Reich Wing churches".


My mother, who's not at all Protestant, thought the same thing - that Haggard was just lying all over. She noticed that he had no tell, nothing that showed the difference from when he was lying and when he wasn't.

And then he was caught in a few more lies after the show. This guy's a piece of work.

Rick Elliott | January 29, 2009 2:30 AM

We make one serious misjudgment when we deal with Haggard, Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, et al. These people are NOT religious figures, but entertainers with religion as their shtick who are trying to make hay by reinforcing their audiences in their own bigotry. To be truthful we need to see them in the same light as we'd see Hugh Grant shagging a prostitute in a dark alley.
When are we going to realize that their connection to the Bible is little more than them waving it around while speaking and quoting snippets out of context to reinforce their audiences' own bigotry?
When looking at Swaggart and Haggard what's sad is the infantile sexual behavior they're exhibiting. Swaggart hired a prostitute and masturbated while watching her. How different is that from a group of 11-12-13 year old boys huddled around their first PLAYBOY?
Haggard lying down beside a man and masturbating. This is what we'd expect in a group of junior high boys and their first circle jerk.
But, men of God they are not. If they were they'd be calling their constituency to account for their breaking the first commandment with their conspicuous consumption and almost total neglect of the poor.
Consider them as entertainers and you might think their act to be rather humorous as a parody of real men of God.

I watched and as a gay man I thought Ted and his wife were transparent and honest. Too often people say if you are attracted to people of the same sex then you are gay. And sexuality is too fluid for that definition. Ted in his pent up reaction got involved with addictive behavior (meth, hook-ups. massage with release). This spiraled him out to do more stupid things like addictions usually do. Addictions have a way of making us confront reality. It's too bad that this issue is overlooked and one's gayness is the main issue.

He has a family and wife that love him and he chose them after dealing with the issues at hand.
I might not take the ex-gay route he chose but for him and his family I do believe it is the best for being deeply loved is what we all want deep inside.

Good stuff for it stirs the pot and creates conversation for those who choose to dialogue with it. In some ways I am reminded of what President Obama's has taken the lead in and that is to listen before reaction. I hope that we in the gay community can learn to do this more for it will help in the struggle for gay rights. To honestly listen to things like this helps us to know how to deal more effectively with our distractors. Something we sure could have learned dealing with Prop 8.

tony siebels | January 29, 2009 11:17 AM

I watched the interview and also the Nightline report. I think if one watches both of them there is a better gauge for how Ted is doing.

He messed up, but I really feel for the guy. For example, the Tulsa station would not carry the Oprah show yesterday. They ran a re-run. They do not want to admit, in the bible belt, that this "isssue" is real. It is so sad.

He (Ted) desires to be accepted by a community that will never forgive or accept him. I do think he is closer to getting a clear view of a compasionate God. But the journey out of that cultic and critical mindset is very difficult.

I pray for him and for those that have been wounded. I also pray that the bible belt fundamentalists will get real!!!!

Except as a symbol of the Hypocrisy of the Religious Right, Haggard is a worthless coward.
Peace and love,
Tammi Dee Voytek

I belive that this man is a disgrace to both the Christian as well as gay community. Why????
It is because he is a hypocritical liar. His truly honest and open experiences could be a powerful witnessing opportunity, but instead he has chosen to hide behind double talk and deceit. Many people belive in angels, but deny the existence or power of demons. Ted needs to first consult with his own bible, before trying again to "preach" to other. The lives and the lies that we live speak far louder than any of our words ever could.

Steve Brogan | January 30, 2009 8:10 AM

I thought Rick Elliot made some good observations, they are like Saturday Night characters who do an impersonation of a what they think a religious figure would be. What is really sad is how so many people are hooked into this because everyone knows they can make choices that will hurt them in finding jobs or just basically surviving and they also know humans have a lot of conflicting emotions beginning in childhood. Oprah milks this also to get as many eyeballs as possible to look at her show so she can become even bigger in the entertainment industry. Do you really buy that furrowed brow and worried eye contact she brings to bear as she gets her "guests" to reveal ever larger pieces of personal lives as she watches her ratings soar, soar, soar? The omigod, omigod, omigod, you mean you actually got drugs and wanted sexual release? I mean, no! no one has ever done that before! It works though, a tried and true formala for riches, I know it got me to watch along with millions of other schmoes.