Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Naked Truth About Ted Haggard

The Naked Truth About Ted Haggard

Now that Wife Swap is about to air, and my old friend Ted Haggard is sharing his life with the world, he is, no doubt, expecting newfound fame and fortune, to replace the old ones he lost in 2006. For those who haven't followed the story, Pastor Ted was the founder of New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He was caught lying to reporters in 2006 about a sexual encounter he had with a male prostitute , and using crystal meth. Once the truth was exposed, Ted and his family were basically kicked out of Colorado and the church, and Ted signed an agreement that prohibited him from talking about the incident and the church for years. I had covered his story from the beginning in my various avenues of reporting in the capacity of a citizen journalist. I talked about Ted on the radio, here in Lake County, IL. I covered his story for Radio Gay International Network, and Canada's Indie Talent Network. I blogged about it and detailed the scandal repeatedly in my Gay News videos. I wanted the real truth about Ted Haggard. I never imagined I'd actually get it, but eventually, I did.

I found Ted on Facebook back in Feb of 2010. I had just uploaded a slew of racy promo photos for my gay news web series, and they were definitely attention grabbers. I was shocked when Ted replied to a message I sent him, with a friend request. He was very kind and sweet. I admit that my initial motivation for contacting Ted was not even clear to me at this point. A part of me still hated him for his anti homosexual agenda, which I had been informed of repeatedly in the news. That same video of him, over and over again taking about how the bible tells us what we should think about homosexuality etc.  Ted seemed desperate to justify himself to me, a gay man. He insisted that the video clip was taken out of context and that he is not a homophobe. He insisted that the media had exaggerated and lied about the depth of his relationship with Mike Jones, the male escort. Ted told me that he didn't have an intimate relationship with this man and there was no love. There was no intimacy, just Mike Jones masturbating Ted to climax. Ted did not consider himself to be gay or a drug addict. Sensing his distrust in me, I understood that if I wanted to get to the truth about Ted Haggard, I would have to become his friend, but how? Making friends has never been a problem for someone like me. I'm very outgoing. I know how to use my appeal to draw someone in and keep their attention. Ted would prove to be a bit of a challenge. I had to meet him face to face. Only then could I really know if there was enough chemistry to captivate him. I got that chance a month later when he and his wife Gayle gave a presentation at a church in Kenosha Wisconsin. I put on my butchest jeans and shirt and went to church. I was finally going to meet Ted Haggard. The object of my journalistic curiosity, in the flesh.

Here's where it gets racy, so if you're under 18, you may want to just head to about now. Meeting Ted was a turn on. His teeth are perfect and his hair is so pretty. He clearly takes good care of himself, and why not? He is a public person. He recognized me immediately after the service, as I headed towards the exit, and he hugged me, not one, not two, but three times before I left the building. His lips touched my ear as he whispered to me, "Chaz, God loves you." my knees went weak and I almost hit the floor. I squeezed him tightly, to keep standing up, and the awkwardness of the moment found us chest to chest, inhaling each others breath. I don't know if anybody else picked up on it, but there was certainly chemistry there.  It wasn't long before Ted and I were on the phone, and I made a promise to him to maintain total secrecy about anything he shared. What I've since learned is that a promise is only as good as the person who you make it to.

In the years since Teds scandal broke, he has made numerous news and network appearances to proclaim his "healing" by God. He has publicly claimed that he no longer has homosexual thoughts or tendencies. This is completely false. Ted has displayed homosexual tendencies to me within the past two years, and it's a secret I am no longer willing to keep. We have had lengthy e mail correspondence with Ted. We have had phone conversations, all verifiable. On one particular date while Ted was being hosted in the home of a family in St Louis, MO, we practically had phone sex,as he changed to get ready to go to 24 hour fitness, a gym he frequents regularly, at all hours. My phone statement of that date shows the multiple calls that Ted made to me that day, as he seemed restless and rambunctious. We discussed his real sexual interests. He told me about his party formula of porno, poppers, meth and Viagra and how he is into light sexual contact. I sent him a pic of me nude, to his phone, and he couldn't stop telling me how much I turn him on. He told me about some gay porn site he had a paid membership to. None of this was news to me. The only thing new was that he hadn't been cured of these desires. I realized that Ted was struggling. I've never doubted his love for his wife, because I've been there. I was once married and in the closet. I sat on this secret for a long time. I kept his secret because I felt sorry for Ted and his family, and I thought he sincerely cared about me. I didn't judge his sexuality. As I'm nearing the two year mark of my "friendship" with Ted, I'm starting to see a pattern re emerging with him. His fan base has grown large and yet he has never used his platform to speak out against bullying, much less how it relates to LGBT people. He has stated, publicly, that gays are welcome in his church, but privately, he has told me something different, and that's where I draw the line. Gay couples are not recognized within the walls of his new church St James. My "friend" would not accept my relationship in his church. This forced me to look back over the course of our friendship and find other inconsistencies and instances in which I was used by Ted to make himself look better, all the while, he publicly denied me credit for any of it. While I have felt so sorry for Ted and his family, and defended him to the LGBT community, I now sense that he saw me as nothing more than one of many pawns in his game of reinvention. That was a mistake. I will not allow anybody to use me to make himself look better than he is, especially if that somebody is under the misconception that he is morally superior to me. Ted Haggard is not healed of his sexual desires. He never will be, because there is no cure for being born the way he is. It feels wrong to cover for him at this stage.  When Ted can accept this, we can resume our friendship in reality, and not on the down low. If I attended his church with my family, it would make me a hypocrite, and that's not me. Ted has specifically told me that my civil union would not be accepted at St James church. My family is just as valid in God's eyes as the Haggard family is, and God welcomes us as we are. I will not bear false witness.

Now I know all the negative attention I'm gonna get from this blog. People will call me a lying fame whore. I admit the timing is perfect for all this to come to light. Wife Swap is about to expose Ted to a world of new fans. Its precisely the title of the show that makes this necessary. If marriage itself is truly a religious institution, as is so often claimed, then surely wife swapping, under any circumstance, is a violation of that sacredness. While its true there's no sex being swapped, the time, energy and caring that families receive from mothers is also sacred. So my civil union wouldn't be accepted in Ted's church, but it's perfectly fine for the preacher to share his wife for fame and fortune? For all the conversations I've shared with Ted, his wife Gayle has never spoken to me once. I'm quite sure she's well aware of the truth about her husband. Just look at the money they're about to make together.


Ted will most likely deny this and do everything he can t suppress the truth. He will probably blow up my phone as soon as he reads this. He may threaten t sue me, and he's welcome to try. If there's anything I've learned, as an investigative reporter, it is how to cover my ass and document the facts. I have a long history of being honest, even when it's not in my own best interest, and I'll gladly submit to a lie detector test.

 Every 5 hours, a gay person commits suicide. I have weighed the pros and cons of publishing this blog in my mind a million times. On one hand, there's Ted, his secret, my promise and his family. His family have been victimized enough. On the other hand, there are countless LBGT youth seeking God's love and guidance, who are being rejected, if only subtly by the church. For me to enter a new year keeping a secret that enables a preacher to be seen as healed of his homosexuality, when I know differently, would be wrong. Let the cards fall where they may. The truth shall set us all free.