Looking Haggard and Drawn

Ted HaggardThis story adds a new category to Turning Left: Evangelicals. And this story fits nicely into three categories: Evangelicals, Republicans, and GLBT.

By now Ted’s story is well known. George W. confidant, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals, the largest evangelical group in America, a man who wielded influence on Capitol Hill and condemned both gay marriage and homosexuality, resigned on Thursday after a male prostitute reported that he had drug-fueled trysts with Haggard.

Haggard, who is also founder and senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a man of truth to the last, admits to receiving a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel, and that he bought meth for himself from the man. However, he says he never had sex with Jones, and never used the drugs. “I was tempted, but I never used it,” the 50-year-old Haggard told reporters from his vehicle while leaving his home with his wife and three of his five children.

Jones, who advertises himself as an escort only in gay publications or on gay web sites, scoffed at the idea that Haggard learned of him through an employee at a hotel. “No concierge in Denver would have referred me,” he said.

Haggards web site boasts of his popularity with the media, securing his place as a true leader in the Evangelical community:

Pastor Ted has been interviewed by Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews, and more. Time included Pastor Ted in their list of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America. Harper’s says, “No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted.”

Any day, perhaps, but today. AP reports, “Jones did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Friday.”