Ted Haggard: I Deserve What I Got

Ted Haggard's fall from grace made national headlines.

As president of the National Association of Evangelicals, he had millions of followers.

But in 2006, his career as a spiritual leader ended abruptly when it was revealed that he'd had a sexual relationship with a male prostitute.

Haggard seemed to be a devoted husband. He was married with five children and pastor of Colorado's New Life Church. But he was living a double life.

When Mike Jones, a self-confessed male prostitute, went public with claims that Haggard had paid for (gay) sex and drugs, Haggard initially denied it, saying he didn't know Jones.

But Haggard eventually admitted that some of the claims made by Jones were true, and he was banished from his church.

In a goodbye letter, read by another pastor, haggard made this confession: "I am guilty of sexual immorality. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all my adult life."

A new HBO documentary titled "The Trials of Ted Haggard," chronicles the former pastor's struggles after his fall from grace.

On The Early Show Friday, Haggard and his wife, Gayle, spoke with co-anchor Harry Smith about the time since their lives changed forever.

Ted noted that he and Gayle are still "very much together," and Gayle agreed, saying, "Absolutely."

Haggard says they have a "better marriage now than before the scandal. Our children are all together with us. The family has come together beautifully. Actually, that's what saved my life."

Haggard said, "I deserve what I got and what I'm getting. But Gayle is the hero of the story. Because of it, our children are fine and they're growing. We're fine."

He admitted, "I deserved what I received. And so the way my view is, if people hate me, if people resent me, if people call me names, that's justice. I deserve that. If somebody's kind or gives me grace or is gentle, then that's a gift.

"But (that's) not true for Gayle. Gayle is not co-dependent. She's not weak, but out of her strength and her devotion, she said, 'I'm going to stay with him.' And because of it, she lost the vast majority of her friends and the fellowship of the church."

Asked by Smith point-blank whether he's gay, Haggard said, "No. Actually, it's complicated. And what I've -- what I've determined is, through all two years now of counseling, is that I just don't fit in the boxes. People want you either to be heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, whatever. And my counselor says I'm a heterosexual with complications, whatever that means.

"And -- but now, through this counseling process that I've been through, I'm very secure in who I am in my relationship with my wife. Actually, my wife and I always had a wonderful relationship, which confused me. And now, it's better than ever, and I have no compulsive behaviors anymore. It's been great being able to process through these last two years."

The documentary shows the Haggards struggling to get by after being banished by their church, and follows his and their recovery process.

Gayle says she was "brokenhearted" at the time.

Ted says he's "absolutely" still a Fundamentalist, adding he believes "the Bible is the word of God. I believe Jesus is the son of God."

Does he think God hates homosexuals?

"No, I do not,' Haggard responded. "Actually, in this process, Jesus proved his faithfulness to me more than ever. He said he came for the unrighteous, not for the righteous. He said he would leave the 99 and go for the one that wandered away. That's good for me."

  • CBSNews

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