Ted Haggard, one of the most prominent and politically powerful evangelical pastors in the country, resigned today as president of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals “amid allegations that he carried on a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute.” (Details HERE.) The AP reports:
Haggard…also stepped down as senior pastor at his 14,000-member New Life Church pending an investigation by a church panel, saying he could “not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations.”
“I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity,” Haggard said in a written statement. “I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance.”
The former prostitute who made the accusations, Mike Jones, also today showed the Denver Post letters and voicemails allegedly sent by Haggard:
Jones says he was contacted three years ago by Haggard for sex – he thinks through a gay newspaper advertisement or an online ad he posted on rentboy.com.
Today, Jones showed the Denver Post an envelope addressed to him from “Art,” a name Jones says Haggard used – sent from an address in Colorado Springs. Jones said the envelope came to him with two $100 bills inside.
Jones also played a recording of a voicemail left for Jones from “Art.” Jones refused to reveal what the topic of the voicemail was about because there could be legal problems and he wants to consult with an attorney.
Haggard has called homosexuality a “sin” and “devastating for the children of our nation and for the future of Western civilization.”