In Letter to Congregation, Haggard Admits ‘Immorality’
In a letter read on Sunday to his former congregation, Ted Haggard admitted to sexual immorality and deception. Though Haggard initially denied having sex with a former male escort, the oversight board charged with investigating the matter decided that allowing a gay man to massage him was reason enough for the pastor’s dismissal.
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In deciding to dismiss Haggard, the oversight board consulted with several evangelical leaders, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Jack Hayford, a prominent preacher from southern California, Stockstill said.
Stockstill said at the later news conference that politics played “zero” role in the haste of the process that led to Haggard’s removal, and that the oversight board received no political pressure from anyone.
“I don’t know if it will affect (next week’s election) or not,” Stockstill said. “We could not have that on our minds and do our work.”
From the pulpit, Stockstill tried to reassure church members their institution was safe and secure, despite Haggard’s removal as leader. The decision to dismiss Haggard, rather than discipline him, actually came as a relief to “Pastor Ted” and his wife, Stockstill said.
“That is not a harsh thing, that’s a wonderful thing for him,” Stockstill said.
In his letter, Haggard said he added to the confusion this week when speaking to reporters about the allegations against him. He acknowledged “inconsistent statements” for which he was solely responsible.
“The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem,” he wrote.