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Jews On First!

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Focus On The Family Chief's Op-Ed Ignites Storm

Scientists he cites repudiate his claim that gay parenting is inferior

by JewsOnFirst.org, December 19, 2006

Time invited Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson to write an opinion article about the just announced pregancy of Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary and her partner -- and the results were predictable. Dobson's piece, "Why Two Mommies is One Too Many," spuriously claimed scientific backing for his contention that children invariably do better with married heterosexual parents. The researchers Dobson cited repudiated him and advocacy groups reproached Time for giving Dobson a forum.

Coincidentally, Dobson's screed appeared simultaneously with reports suggesting glimmers of progress in gays' struggle for acceptance in the evangelical traditions in which they were raised.

Two Mommies Is One Too Many
Mary Cheney is starting a family. Let's hope she doesn't start a trend

James Dobson, Time Magazine, December 12, 2006

A number of social conservatives, myself included, have recently been asked to respond to the news that Mary Cheney, the Vice President's daughter, is pregnant with a child she intends to raise with her lesbian partner. Implicit in this issue is an effort to get us to criticize the Bush Administration or the Cheney family. But the concern here has nothing to do with politics. It is about what kind of family environment is best for the health and development of children, and, by extension, the nation at large.

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy--any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl. Continue

Time gave Dobson a platform to misrepresent -- again -- science on same-sex parenting
Summary: In a Time magazine guest column, James Dobson baselessly claimed that "the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father." In fact, studies have consistently found that children raised by gay or lesbian parents suffer no adverse effects in their psychosocial development.

Media Matters, December 11, 2006

While criticizing Mary Cheney's pregnancy in a December 10 Time magazine guest column titled "Two Mommies is One Too Many," Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson baselessly claimed that "the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father." Dobson asserted that "love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development" of a child and that "[t]he two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy." Dobson also declared that "birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples" and "[t]hat's why public policy as it relates to families must be based not solely on the desires of adults but rather on the needs of children." Continue

Experts say Dobson's Time column distorted their research to denounce same-sex parents
Summary: Two researchers cited by Focus on the Family's James Dobson have both accused Dobson of misusing their research in a Time magazine guest column arguing that same-sex parenting is harmful to children.

Media Matters, December 14, 2006

Psychologist Carol Gilligan and Dr. Kyle Pruett, the two researchers cited by Focus on the Family chairman James C. Dobson in his December 12 (previously dated December 10) Time magazine guest column arguing that same-sex parenting is harmful to children, have both accused Dobson of misusing their research. As Media Matters for America previously noted, Dobson made unfounded assertions in the column about gay and lesbian parenting while appearing to distort "social-science evidence" to claim "that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father." Continue

Fighting a Distortion of Research, Science Strikes Back

By Wayne Besen, TruthWinsOut.org, December 21, 2006

University lecturers left their classrooms this week to lecture Focus on the Family’s James Dobson to tell him he has no class. The tenured were teed off and staged a revolt because they were revolted by how Dobson had perverted their work in TIME magazine. In a guest column criticizing Mary Cheney, Dobson justified his trashing of gay families by citing the work of renowned researchers. But instead of allowing their work to be distorted, the scholars hollered and told Dobson to stop lying for the Lord. Continue.

James Dobson distorts research ... again!

Video interview with Prof. Carol Gilligan, whom Dobson misquoted, by Wayne Besen of TruthWinsOut.org, via YouTube, December 17, 2006

Focus on the Family's James Dobson has once again disorted research and "cherry-picked" quotes to support his views. This interview with one of the authors he misquoted in Time Magazine clarifies what she really said and how she feels about Dobson's tactics. Click here to view the video.

James Dobson Slammed By Professor For Distorting Her Research In Time Magazine Article On Mary Cheney’s Pregnancy
New York University educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, PhD, today slammed Focus on the Family leader, James C. Dobson, for "twisting" and "distorting" her research in a guest column he wrote in this week’s issue of Time Magazine. Dobson misrepresented her work in an effort to smear gay families while discussing Mary Cheney’s pregnancy. In a pointed letter to Dobson, Gilligan demanded that he apologize and "cease and desist" from quoting her work in the future.

Statement by Dr. Carol Gilligan via Truthwinsout.org, December 14, 2006

Dear Dr. Dobson:

I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work. Continue

Researcher assails Measure 36 tie
A Yale psychiatrist says he's "dumbfounded" to be cited by supporters of the ballot item on same-sex marriage

Bill Graves, Oregonian, October 22, 2004

A Yale child psychiatrist says a group supporting a measure to ban same-sex marriage in Oregon is distorting his work and linking him with a campaign he opposes.

I was quite surprised, even dumbfounded, to see my name listed as if it were a scientific support or consultant to this amendment," said Dr. Kyle D. Pruett, professor at Yale, in a telephone news conference organized by No on Constitutional Amendment 36. "It couldn't be further than either my personal or professional position."

Tim Nashif, political director for the Defense of Marriage Coalition, argued that Pruett's work, published in books and articles, supports the coalition's position that a child fares best growing up with a married mother and father.

The coalition sponsors Measure 36, an initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot that would amend the state constitution to recognize marriage only as between a man and a woman.

In its campaign fliers, the coalition writes that Pruett "reveals that infants just 8 weeks of age can already detect the difference between male and female interaction. This further confirms that the role of a mother and a father are not interchangeable when it comes to raising children." (article is no longer available)

Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child

Kyle Pruett, excerpt from Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, Random House, 2001

"Fathers have always parented differently than mothers. In Fatherneed, Dr. Kyle D. Pruett shows mothers and fathers why that difference is so important to a child's physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

"Drawing on more than two decades of highly acclaimed research at the Yale Child Study Center, and backed up by true stories from actual families, Fatherneed is the essential how-to guide for women and men who wish to promote engaged fathering. This book will help enable fathers to give their children the skills they need to develop into happy and healthy adults. Step by step, Dr. Pruett specifically addresses what a father can do to prepare his marriage, his house, and his emotions for his child's needs, from infancy through the toddler years, childhood, adolescence, and young and mature adulthood." Continue

Sign the Petition Asking TIME Magazine to Check Dobson's Facts

Soulforce, December 13, 2006

In the December 18th issue of TIME Magazine, James Dobson responds to the news of Mary Cheney's pregnancy by once again invoking "30 years of social-science evidence" to support his claim that children do best "when raised by their married mother and father."

In spite of Dobson's reputation as a benevolent family therapist, his views on lesbian and gay parenting do not reflect the mainstream of American professional organizations concerned with researching and promoting children's wellbeing. In a 2004 policy statement, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy reported "no evidence that same-sex couples or family units vary significantly from heterosexual couples or family units in terms of aspirations, hopes and goals, or in outcomes for children." Continue

Mary Cheney’s Pregnancy Is Just Fine, Bush Tells Magazine

Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times, December 15, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 -- Mary Cheney’s baby will have two mommies, and that is just fine with President Bush.

When People magazine asked him what he thought of the news that Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, was pregnant with a child whom she will raise with her longtime partner, Heather Poe, Mr. Bush said: "I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I’m happy for her."

Mary Cheney and Ms. Poe are not married, though they have said that, for all purposes, they consider themselves to be. Click here

Dobson and Medved warned of purported pro-gay "subtext" in Happy Feet

Media Matters, December 15, 2006

During the December 11 edition of his Focus on the Family broadcast, FOF founder and chairman James Dobson hosted syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved to discuss the film Happy Feet (Warner Bros., November 2006), an animated feature about penguins living in Antarctica during a period of environmental upheaval. Medved claimed that the film contains a "subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality," prompting Dobson to wonder whether the filmmakers are "getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic."

As Media Matters for America has noted, in a November 17 entry, titled "Don't Be Misled By Crappy Feet," on his Townhall.com weblog, Medved called the animated movie, "the darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio." He further alleged that the film contains "a bizarre anti-religious bias" and "a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity." Medved also attacked Happy Feet in a November 29 op-ed in USA Today for its purported "pro-environmental" propaganda, as Media Matters also documented. Continue

In CNN guest column, Dobson mischaracterized same-sex marriage debate, suggesting public support for constitutional ban
Summary: In a commentary on CNN.com, Focus on the Family's James C. Dobson criticized senators who voted against a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage for "turn[ing] their backs" on the "most basic social institution" and mischaracterized the debate to baselessly suggest that there is strong public support for the amendment. But while some recent polls indicate that most Americans believe same sex marriage should be illegal, that was not the issue before Congress.

Media Matters, June 30, 2006

In a June 28 guest commentary posted on CNN.com, Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson mischaracterized the same-sex marriage debate to baselessly suggest that there is strong public support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Continue

Conservative pundits sound the alarm on marriage of same-sex couples in Massachusetts

Media Matters, May 20, 2004

On May 17, conservative pundits reacted to Massachusetts becoming the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry. One compared May 17, 2004, to September 11, 2001. Another asserted that "marriage between a father and a daughter" or "two widows, or two sisters or two brothers" could be next, while yet another warned that "tomorrow it will be polygamy, and the day after tomorrow incest, and then the final frontier... bestiality." One critic went beyond discussing marriage to refer to hate crimes as what "years ago we used to call ... good morals." Here's a rundown:

Daily Crosswalk.com columnist Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and host of the daily Christian radio show The Albert Mohler Program, wrote a column titled "A Day That Will Live in Infamy -- May 17 in Massachusetts." From the column, which originated on Mohler's blog at Crosswalk.com (a for-profit Christian organization) and was featured on the homepage of right-wing news website NewsMax.com:

Like mile-markers in time, certain calendar dates stand in memory as not only historic, but momentous. Dates like December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 represent far more than mere days on a calendar. Now, May 17, 2004 must be added to that list. Why? Because today -- by the unilateral decision of activist judges -- the State of Massachusetts will legalize same-sex marriages. This is a day that will live in moral infamy... The attacks on Pearl Harbor, New York, and Washington awakened the nation to peril and called citizens to action. That must happen once again, as millions of Americans must now awaken to the fact that an out-of-control judiciary and an army of social engineers are forcing their will upon us. If the Massachusetts decision is allowed to stand, this nation faces nothing less than moral disaster. America is now a nation at war with itself, and with marriage. Continue

Left Apoplectic Over Dr. Dobson's Time Platform
Academics and gay activists have hurled a lot of epithets at Focus' founder for his commentary on gay parenting -- but none of their charges are sticking

Gary Schneeberger, CitizenLink.com of Focus on the Family, December 19, 2006

Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James Dobson, no stranger to attacks from the ideological left, has really struck a nerve among some academics and homosexual activists with an opinion piece he penned last week for Time magazine.

The article, titled "Why Two Mommies is One Too Many" appeared in the magazine's Dec. 18 issue -- in response to a request from Time editors for Dr. Dobson's views on word that Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, is expecting a child with her lesbian partner. Although Dr. Dobson made it clear he wasn't attacking Cheney or her partner, Heather Poe, acknowledging he has no reason to doubt they will love their child, his piece did point out that the best environment in which to raise children is a household headed by a married mother and father. Continue

Evangelical churches join the gay rights vanguard.
Southern Bellwether

by Daniel Redman, The New Republic Online, December 14, 2006

Walk into Covenant Community Church of Birmingham, Alabama, on a Sunday morning, and you'll see a scene reminiscent of any other evangelical church across the state. The sanctuary is crowded with congregants greeting each other before the service. The minister chats with the deacons, the organist arranges his music on the stand, and children escape their parent's grasp momentarily to run up and down the aisles. But Covenant is unlike most churches in Alabama. Its pastor, J.R. Finney II, is gay. So are most of its congregants. Founded in 1981 with 12 members in an unmarked storefront, today Finney preaches to a flock of 350 in a two-building complex that can barely contain the congregation's growing numbers. And, while Covenant is the largest gay church in the state, it is not alone. From major cities like Montgomery and Huntsville to working-class towns like Gadsden, gay-led, gay-founded churches are flourishing in the heart of the conservative South, providing gay Alabamans with a supportive environment in which to worship. Across the state, there are six gay-focused churches, and even more "open and affirming" Episcopal, Unitarian, and United Church of Christ congregations. Continue.

Gay and Evangelical, Seeking Paths of Acceptance

By Neela Banerjee, The New York Times, December 12, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he, the 29-year-old son of Southern Baptists, is an evangelical Christian.

Just as he is certain about the tenets of his faith, Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it.

To many people, Mr. Lee is a walking contradiction, and most evangelicals and gay people alike consider Christians like him horribly deluded about their faith. "I’ve gotten hate mail from both sides," said Mr. Lee, who runs gaychristian.net, a Web site with 4,700 registered users that mostly attracts gay evangelicals. Continue.

When religion loses its credibility

Column by Oliver "Buzz" Thomas, USA Today, November 20, 2006. Thomas is a Baptist minister and author of an upcoming book, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job).

What if Christian leaders are wrong about homosexuality? I suppose, much as a newspaper maintains its credibility by setting the record straight, church leaders would need to do the same:

Correction: Despite what you might have read, heard or been taught throughout your churchgoing life, homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God's followers.

Based on a few recent headlines, we won't be seeing that admission anytime soon. Continue.





Election 2006 Round-up

by JewsOnFirst, November 8, 2006

A number of officials and issues we have been covering at JewsOnFirst were affected by the broad Republican defeat. The religious right, however, shows every sign of surviving the Republicans' shipwreck. We are just building this section and apologize if any links aren't yet working.

What does the Republican debacle mean to and for the religious right? We are posting reports and analysis as they become available. Please click here.




National Association of Evangelicals Chief Ted Haggard is Outed as Gay, Resigns



Religious right leader Lou Sheldon says he'd known Haggard was gay. Go.

Pastor: Haggard is heterosexual
Gay relationship was ‘acting out’

By Paul Asay, The Gazette (Colorado Springs), February 7, 2007

Since being fired as pastor of New Life Church amid a gay-sex and drugs scandal, the Rev. Ted Haggard has discovered he’s “completely heterosexual,” an overseer of the church has been quoted as saying.

The Rev. Tim Ralph, senior pastor for New Covenant Fellowship in Larkspur, told The Denver Post on Monday that Haggard’s homosexual activity appears to be limited to Denver male escort Mike Jones, who said he and Haggard had a three-year sexual relationship. Continue.

Evangelical Dumped for Alleged 'Immoral Conduct'Church Founder and Pastor Resigns Amid Gay Sex and Drug Allegations
The Rev. Ted Haggard has stepped down from leading the evangelical church he founded.

by Bill Redeker, ABCNEWS.com, November 4, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 4, 2006 — "Dismissed." That was the blunt language from the Overseer Board of the Rev. Ted Haggard's New Life Church.

"Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct," the four-member board decided late today. Continue.

Evangelical Leader Resigns After Sex Allegations

by Jeff Brady, National Public Radio Morning Edition, November 3, 2006

The president of the National Association of Evangelicals -- a group representing 30 million Christians -- resigned Thursday after a male prostitute claimed on a Denver radio show that the two had had a three-year sexual relationship.

The Rev. Ted Haggard has denied the claims. But he has also taken a leave of absence as pastor of his Colorado Springs mega-church, the 14,000-member New Life Church.

An e-mail sent out by Haggard's church says the pastor has "confessed" that "some of the accusations against him are true." Click here to read the text of the email and listen to NPR's report.

Haggard confesses to 'lifelong' sexual problem
Story Highlights• Haggard confesses "lifelong" sexual problem • Church fires pastor over "sexually immoral conduct" • National Association of Evangelicals names interim replacement • Evangelist admits he called male escort to buy drugs and get a massage

CNN, November 6, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) -- Less than 24 hours after being fired from the mega-church he founded, evangelical Pastor Ted Haggard confessed to a "lifelong" sexual problem.

In a letter read to members of his New Life Church Sunday, Haggard said he is "a deceiver and a liar." Haggard apologized to his congregation in the letter and asked for their forgiveness. Continue.

Ted Haggard's Letter to New Life Church

Letter read November 5, 2006, posted by Christian Post, November 6, 2006

In the letter, Haggard writes: "I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach." Continue.

Soulforce Asks You to Write a Letter of Encouragement to Pastor Ted Haggard

Soulforce, mid-November 2006

In response to the news that Rev. Ted Haggard has been dismissed by New Life Church and resigned as President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Soulforce has urged the gay community to respond compassionately.

We acknowledge that many in our community feel legitimate anger toward Haggard and the NAE for their history of religion-based bigotry.

However, Haggard has now been referred to the same “spiritual restoration” therapy that has threatened the mental and spiritual wellbeing of so many gay men and lesbians. Continue.

Soulforce Urges Compassion for Haggard and Accountability for the National Association of Evangelicals

Soulforce Press Release: November 6, 2006

(Austin, TX) -- In response to the news that Rev. Ted Haggard has been dismissed by New Life Church and resigned as President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes urged the gay community to be compassionate and simultaneously called on the leaders of the NAE to claim responsibility for their role in the crisis.

"Rev. Haggard is just one more tragic example of how lives are destroyed by the lies about gay and lesbian people perpetuated by the NAE, the Religious Right, and both the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church. Taught by the church to hate himself, the only option from his point of view was to lead a psychologically and spiritually damaging double life marked by denial and self-destructive behavior. Rev. Haggard is a victim of religion-based bigotry that regularly demeans and demoralizes gay and lesbian people and refuses to acknowledge that we are part of the American fabric, and that many of us form loving families and practice a deep faith in God." Continue.

If Haggard strays, his team will know
Counselors to monitor fallen pastors progress; regimen may include 12-step, family meetings

By Deedee Correll, The Gazette,(Colorado Springs, Colorado), November 19, 2006

The rehabilitation of the Rev. Ted Haggard will look a lot like parole.

It might not include urine tests or ankle bracelets, but he’ll be tracked all the same. He’ll have to keep appointments, work on issues and constantly answer to other people.

With one difference. Continue.

Haggard gay sex scandal reignites "reparative therapy" debate

AP, Advocate.com, November 16, 2006

Comments by an American evangelical leader who has apologized for contacts with a gay prostitute have rekindled a debate over the controversial premise that people can overcome same-sex attraction through ''reparative therapy.'' The claim by Ted Haggard that he had tried unsuccessfully to treat himself for a ''repulsive and dark'' part of his life reflects a philosophy espoused by many religious conservatives and disputed by many mental health experts.

''Haggard is exhibit A of how people can't change their sexual orientation,'' said Wayne Besen, a gay rights activist and author. ''With all that he had to lose—a wife, children, a huge church—he had to be who he was in the end. He couldn't pray away the gay.'' Continue.

Minister’s Own Rules Sealed His Fate

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, November 19, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Nov. 15 -- The four ministers who assembled here two weeks ago to decide the fate of the Rev. Ted Haggard were facing a painful choice.

A male prostitute had accused Mr. Haggard, one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical ministers, of engaging in a three-year affair with him and of using drugs. Then, in a private emergency meeting, Mr. Haggard promptly confessed to the ministers -- his handpicked board of overseers -- that he had engaged in sexual immorality. Continue.

Religious right leader Lou Sheldon says he'd known Haggard was gay.

Christian Right Agenda In Shambles After GOP Defeat
Moderate Evangelicals seen chafing against narrow priorities like abortion, gay rights. Will some work with Dems?

by Larry Cohler-Esses, New York Jewish Week, November 11, 2006

During an interview about the implications of Republican electoral losses, Lou Sheldon, chair of the Traditional Values Coalition, said that he and other religious right leaders had known for a while that Haggard was gay, but didn't know how to deal with it. Click here.

Ted Haggard's November surprise
The double life of one of Bush's key links to the conservative Christian evangelical right

by Bill Berkowitz, Working for Change via Scoop Network, November 9, 2006

About a week before Karl Rove and Team Bush received its November Surprise, Pastor Ted Haggard got one of his own. As voters in Colorado and six other states were preparing to vote on ballot initiatives banning gay marriage (six states including Colorado voted to ban same-sex marriage while Arizona voted against its measure), Mike Jones, a former gay escort, came forward and claimed that he had a three-year sexual relationship with Haggard, the founder and senior leader of the 14,000 member Colorado Springs, Colorado-based New Life Church, the state's largest megachurch. Continue.

Focus on the Family founder Dobson to counsel Haggard

AP, Advocate.com, November 08, 2006

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson will be one of the people overseeing counseling for the Reverend Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor who was fired amid allegations of gay sex and drug use, a senior official of Dobson's organization said Monday. The counseling process, called restoration, could take years, said H.B. London, vice president of Ministry Outreach and Pastoral Ministries for Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs, Colo.–based ministry. Continue.

Dobson Quits Haggard Counseling Team

The Christian Post (Associated Press), November 08, 2006

Citing a lack of time, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson withdrew Dobson to Aid in Counseling Haggard, the evangelical pastor who was fired amid allegations of gay sex and drug use.

"Emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help -- but the reality is I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility," Dobson said.

The other two members of the team, Pastors Jack Hayford of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif., and Tommy Barnett of First Assembly of God in Phoenix, declined to comment. Continue

Dobson to Aid in Counseling Haggard

The Christian Post (Associated Press), November 07, 2006

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson will be one of the people overseeing counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor who was fired amid allegations of gay sex and drug use, a senior official of Dobson's organization said Monday.

The counseling process, called restoration, could take years, said H.B. London, vice president for church and clergy at Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs-based ministry.

"I think it may be more in helping to set the requirements of the restoration, set the ground rules," London told The Associated Press. Continue

Haggard's Downfall

By Jeff Sharlet, The Revealer, November 2, 2006

I was relaxing this afternoon, watching an episode of Big Love, the HBO series starring Bill Paxton as a Mormon hiding his polygamous life, when I heard from from "The Peter Boyles Show" in Denver: "Your buddy Ted Haggard's in a shit storm."

The "buddy" part was ironic -- since I wrote about Ted Haggard and his church, New Life, in the May, 2005 issue of Harper's ("Soldiers of Christ,") Ted has been decidedly less than friendly. I always wondered why. Although my article was critical, it led to a surge of more mild-mannered media for Ted, one of the most powerful but least-known evangelical bigs in America. Barbara Walters asking him about heaven, Tom Brokaw doing his "on the other hand" routine.

But too much attention can be a bad thing. Details are still coming in, but it seems a gay man in Denver named Mike Jones was watching TV recently when he saw one of his regular sex partners, whom he knew only as "Art," on the tube: Ted, welcome to celebrity. Continue.

Why the Haggard Scandal Could Hurt Evangelical Turnout
David Kuo says the Ted Haggard scandal and its fallout shows why, as he makes clear in his bestselling book, it is so dangerous to mix faith and politics

By Nathan Thornburgh, Time, November 4, 2006

Former Bush official David Kuo (see more here) makes two main points: that Haggard's New Life church launched many pastors into churches all over the country; that Haggard's fall demonstrates a problem of the religious right's political orientation. Of the latter, he says: "[Focus on the Family head] Jim Dobson's response was particularly telling. He basically blamed the controversy on gays and Democrats. When evangelical leaders can't see beyond Tuesday on any question, what on earth is happening?" Click here.

Updates: Haggard Says Some Accusations Are True
Accuser says timing of outing was politically motivated, fails polygraph test.

Ted Olsen, Christianity Today, November 3, 2006

New Life Church says Haggard confessed to some indiscretions In an e-mail to staff members of New Life Church, acting senior pastor Ross Parsley says that some of the accusations against Ted Haggard are true.

"The board of overseers has met with Pastor Ted," Parsley wrote. "It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true. He has willingly and humbly submitted to the authority of the board of overseers, and will remain on administrative leave during the course of the investigation."

Parsley also told Colorado Springs television station KKTV, "I don't have any accurate information about the precise details. I just know there has been some admission of indiscretion. Not admission to all of the material that has been discussed. But there is an admission of some guilt, and that's what we're working with, with outside overseers who are working with Pastor Ted and his family to investigate what's happened here." Continue

Evangelical leader quits, denies male escort's allegations

CNN, Reports and video clips, November 2, 2006

Story Highlights• Top evangelical leader denies Colorado man's claim that pastor paid for sex • Rev. Ted Haggard quits national leadership post, steps aside from church pulpit • Accuser cites Haggard's support for same-sex marriage ban as motivation • Influential religious figure also denies accusation of drug use. Click here.

Pastor Dismissed for ‘Sexually Immoral Conduct’

By Neela Banerjee and Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, November 5, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 - In the wake of accusations by a former male escort that the Rev. Ted Haggard had a three-year sexual relationship with him, an independent oversight board at Mr. Haggard’s New Life Church found that he had "committed sexually immoral conduct" on Saturday and dismissed him as senior pastor.

Over the last few days, Mr. Haggard’s career as the founder of the 14,000-member New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs and as leader of the National Association of Evangelicals has crumbled under the weight of the accusations and his explanations. He initially denied knowing the former escort, Michael Jones, 49, of Denver. By Friday, Mr. Haggard revised his account and said he had gotten a massage from Mr. Jones and bought methamphetamine from him. Mr. Jones has denied selling drugs. Mr. Haggard said he never used the drugs. He has publicly denied any sexual relationship. Continue.

Minister Admits Buying Drug but Denies Tryst

By Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee, The New York Times, November 4, 2006

After denying that he had ever met a gay escort who claimed to have had a three-year sexual relationship with him, the Rev. Ted Haggard admitted yesterday that he had summoned the escort to give him a massage in a Denver hotel room and bought methamphetamine from him.

But Mr. Haggard, one of the nation’s leading evangelical ministers, maintained that the two men never had sex and that he threw out the drugs without using them.

"I never kept it very long because it was wrong," Mr. Haggard said, smiling grimly and submitting to questions from a television reporter as he pulled out of his driveway yesterday, his wife, Gayle, silent in the passenger seat. "I was tempted, I bought it, but I never used it." Continue.

Haggard’s escort

By John Ireland, Advocate.com exclusive posted November 3, 2006

In a gay press exclusive, Mike Jones, a male escort from Denver, tells The Advocate he revealed his “sexual business relationship” with evangelical leader Ted Haggard to expose the hypocrisy in Haggard’s support for a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. But he says he doesn’t wish the prominent pastor, who resigned on November 2, any ill will. Continue.

Christian Leader Admits to Buying Drugs

By John Holusha and Neela Banerjee, The New York Times, November 3, 2006

The Rev. Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, admitted today that he had purchased the illegal drug methamphetamine from a gay escort in Denver, but denied that he ever had sex with the man. Continue.

Evangelical leader admits to some "indiscretion" in gay sex scandal

AP, Advocate.com, November 03, 2006

A leading evangelist and outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage has given up his post as president of the National Association of Evangelicals while a church panel investigates allegations he paid a man for sex. On Thursday the Rev. Ted Haggard resigned as head of the 30 million–member "para-church organization" and also gave up leadership of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs pending the investigation into allegations he had monthly trysts with a gay prostitute over the past three years. Continue.

Allegations shake up Evangelical group

By Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY, November 4, 2006

DENVER — Shaken by allegations that the head of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals had a sex-and-drugs relationship with a gay male prostitute, leaders and scholars of evangelical Christianity say their religious movement is at a critical moment.

Attacked for using their political clout against abortion, gay marriage and other hot-button social and religious issues, Christian evangelicals now face criticism for the hypocrisy of a high-profile leader who condemned the behavior for which he now stands accused. Continue.

National Association of Evangelicals: Concerning the Resignation of Rev. Ted Haggard

News release, National Association of Evangelicals, November 3, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 3 /Christian Newswire/ -- The office of the Dr. Roy Taylor, Chairman; the National Association of Evangelicals Board of Directors; and the Executive Committee issue the following statement concerning the resignation of Rev. Ted Haggard: Continue.

Evangelical leader resigns over gay sex allegations

Advocate.com, November 3, 2006

Following allegations that he paid a male escort for sex over a three-year period, Ted Haggard, pastor of 14-thousand member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., has placed himself on leave from church duties and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals Continue

Haggard Resigns as National Association of Evangelicals President
Pastor also steps aside at New Life Church after allegations by male prostitute.

Collin Hansen, Christianity Today, November 2, 2006

Ted Haggard resigned Thursday afternoon as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, amid allegations that surfaced Wednesday about involvement with a male prostitute. Haggard also placed himself on administrative leave as senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, pending a church investigation. Continue

Evangelical Leader Quits Amid Allegations of Gay Sex and Drug Use

Mark Driscoll Blog, Resurgence, ca. November 3, 2006

Andrew Sullivan, blogging here found this patriarchal -- no, misogynistic -- response to the Haggard situation, of which we quote two of several egregious paragraphs. To read Driscoll's post in its entirety, click here.

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

...

Churches should consider returning to heterosexual male assistants who are like Timothy and Titus to serve alongside pastors. Too often the pastor’s assistant is a woman who, if not sexually involved, becomes too emotionally involved with the pastor as a sort of emotional and practical second wife. I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us.

Ted Haggard resigns as NAE president amid accusations

Baptist Press, November 3, 2006

Baptist Press reports that religious right sources believe the revelations about Ted Haggard's relationship with a gay man were timed to surface before election day, when Coloradans will vote on an anti-marriage ballot measure. Click here.

Haggard Flap May Spur Some Conservatives

By Judith Kohler, AP, WashingtonPost.com, November 4, 2006

DENVER Nov 4, 2006 (AP)— Experts agree the Rev. Ted Haggard's fall from grace is bound to have political repercussions but say it might help, not hinder, Colorado Republicans and their causes.

Republican leaders already fear that disillusionment with the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress could discourage conservatives from turning out to vote.

For instance, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Colorado Springs on Friday to campaign for Doug Lamborn, who is running a tight race against Democrat Jay Fawcett for a seat in Haggard's reliably Republican district. Rep. Joel Hefley is retiring. Continue.

Haggard Scandal Is Latest Setback In Tough Year For Religious Right, Says Americans United
Religious Right Leaders Ought To Focus On Their Own Family Before They Try To Fix Everybody Else's, Says AU's Lynn

News release, Americans United for Separation of Church and State November 3, 2006

Americans United for Separation of Church and State issued the following statement regarding today's revelations about the conduct of the Rev. Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

"It's been a really tough year for the Religious Right," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "Their great moral champion Tom DeLay left Congress in disgrace. Their 'family values' allies in the House were caught covering up the Mark Foley scandal. Then they learned that Karl Rove's office thinks they're nuts. And, now, one of their most influential leaders is mired in scandal. Continue.

Haggard Scandal Puts Gay Spotlight On Florida GOP Contender

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff, November 4, 2006

(Orlando, Florida) The fallout from the Rev. Ted Haggard scandal hit the Florida gubernatorial election campaign Friday and sparked a sharp outburst from outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush.

Earlier on Friday, as Haggard was admitting to an "indiscretion" involving a gay hustler (story) a Florida LGBT rights group called on GOP candidate Charlie Crist (story) to come out of the closet.

Proud of Who We Are President Kyle DeVries released a lettered a letter urging Crist to be honest with Floridians about his sexuality and his relationship with convicted felon and former Katherine Harris staffer Bruce Jordan.

The letter comes after the release of video footage purporting to show a sworn statement in which Dee Dee Hall, who befriended Jordan through Harris's campaign, reveals that Jordan confided in her that he had an ongoing romantic relationship with Crist, who was Attorney General of Florida.Continue.

For more on the Crist campaign, please click here.

National Clergy Council Statement on Resignation of The Rev. Ted Haggard

Dr. Charles Nestor, Christian News Service, November 3, 2006

We at the National Clergy Council are saddened by the resignation of The Rev. Ted Haggard from the presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and as the Senior Pastor of the New-Life Church in Colorado Springs amid charges of paying a male personal trainer for sex.

We extend our prayer for Rev. Haggard, his family, the membership of New-Life Church, and the constituents of NAE at this difficult time. Continue

Good Morning, Evangelicals!
Meet Ted Haggard the National Association of Evengelical's optimistic champion of ecumenical evangelism and free-market faith.

Tim Stafford, Christianity Today, November 2005

In his second-story church office, with its spectacular view of Colorado's Front Range, Ted Haggard spars playfully with a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Established East Coast newspapers haven't always sent reporters to interview pastors in Colorado, no matter how big their churches got. Times have changed.

In February, Harper's Magazine devoted 14 pages to Pastor Ted and his New Life Church in Colorado Springs, depicting him and his neighbor James Dobson as the two most powerful (and therefore dangerous) evangelicals in America. The piece by Jeff Sharlet was mostly scary atmospherics—he made much of the muscular warrior angels that adorn Haggard's World Prayer Center—but it helped draw reporters. Today, Haggard is talking to the BBC and an XM radio talk-show host, in addition to the Inquirer's Paul Nussbaum. Continue




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National Association of Evangelicals Chief Ted Haggard is Outed as Gay, Resigns. Go

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