I don't know if it'll affect the election, but this is as big as the Jimmy Swaggert/Jim Bakker downfall in the 80s. Actually, maybe bigger, because Ted Haggard is more powerful. Or was.
Ted Haggard, one of the most prominent evangelical pastors in the nation, resigned today as president of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations that he carried on a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute.
Haggard, founder of the 14,000-member New Life Church, has denied the accusations but said in a statement released by the church today that he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by accusations made on Denver talk radio this morning."
He has placed himself on administrative leave pending investigation, spiritual counsel and a decision by the church's board of overseers, the church's legal counsel said. Haggard founded the church in 1985.
"I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date," Haggard's statement said.
The former prostitute, Mike Jones, 49, of Denver, went public with the accusations on Tuesday, saying he felt compelled to do so because he believes Haggard, a strong opponent of same-sex unions, has been hypocritical. Haggard is married with five children.
"I made myself cry and I made myself sick," Jones said about his decision to come forward. "I felt I owed this to the community. What he is saying is we are not worthy, but he is."
This article shows how big Haggard is to the evangelical movement. He also shows up in the movie "Jesus Camp." He's a major force in America today.
And the accuser apparently has voicemails and letters.
To think, there's a gay marriage amendment on the ballot this year in Colorado (watch this great ad opposing it that makes the point that it's all a meaningless distraction), and the leading proponent of banning it turns out to be allegedly gay himself. Go figure.
At this point, should we assume every conservative is actually secretly gay?