More on the Haggard saga.
Update on the Haggard saga. As is now known there were two sets of accusations levelled against Haggard. One is that he had regular sex with a male escort and the other is that during these encounters he used illegal drugs. On Wednesday Haggard denied both. He said: “I’ve never had a gay relationship with anybody. I’m steady with my wife. I’m faithful to my wife.” The issue was not a relationship but sex, they are not the same thing.
Regarding the second allegation Haggard said: “I have never done drugs, ever --- not even in high school.”
So two accusations and two denials. I’ve not seen any other accusations made.
Ross Parlsey, acting head pastor of Haggard’s church, has stated publicly that Haggard confessed there is truth to some of the accusations. And church members received an email saying "It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true.”
In the television interview I saw Parsley said the same thing but claimed he didn’t know the specifics. Is this another lie? Can we really believe that the man who replaced Haggard as the leader of the church was NOT told to what Haggard admitted? I think he knew precisely what was in the Haggard confession.
James Dobson, the fundamentalist leader of Focus on the Family, was quick off the mark to say these accusations were false. “Ted Haggard is a friend of mine and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday’s election -- especially the vote on Colorado’s marriage-protection (sic) amendment, which Ted strongly supports.” Like so many things Dobson got it wrong. Haggard’s admission is hard to ignore.
Even without knowing what Haggard said there is a certain logic which ought to make clear what his confession said. Consider the logic. A male prostitute says a man hires him for sex and uses drugs before said encounter. The man says part of that is true and part of that is not true. He can only be confessing to the sex. Why would he be meeting a male prostitute if all he wanted was drugs? The man advertises his sexual services. He doesn’t advertise as a drug dealer. So the only reason Haggard would have been in touch with the man was to purchase sex. So we can pretty much assume the sex has been admitted to. That means Haggard’s denial regarding the sex was a lie.
So if he lied about the sex could he also be lying about the drugs? He could be. Perhaps time will reveal the truth about that. And the content of the voicemail messages seems to indicate that Haggard may also have been asking the prostitute to purchase drugs for him or it could be code for sex. One message said: “Hey, I was just calling to see if we could get any more. Either $100 or $200 supply.” In another messaged he said: “I’m here in Denver and sorry that I missed you. But as I said, if you want to go ahead and get the stuff then that would be great. And I’ll get it sometime next week or the week after or whenever.”
Now this sounds like drugs. One would hardly arrange a rendevous this way. If you want to meet for sex you don’t say I’ll see you next week or whenever. If you want to meet you say “Hey, I’d like to see you” not “get the stuff”.
Now it seems elementary logic would say that Haggard was having sex with the man and was using him to buy drugs for him. I think both accusations seem probable. But if Haggard is admitting only some of them what would they be?
Could he actually think it is better to admit to being a drug user than gay? In fundamentalist circles that is certainly possible. But does he think he can claim to buy drugs from the man but deny having sex with him? After all why get in touch with a male escourt in the first place?
I would say this much. At this point I don’t really see how he can deny the sex part of it. Not that he might not try but I don’t think he can convince anyone but the true believers. And if the voicemail messages do say what has been reported then I would argue the drug claims are mostly likely true as well.
I wonder what Haggard’s weekly phone call with George Bush will be about this week? Or will the line be busy?
Interestingly the former prostitute, Mike Jones, says that he voted for Reagan and for George Bush for president. He says he doesn’t work for any poltiical group but was really upset when he found out this man he had been having sex with for some years was a leader in the campaign against equality for gays. He said the issue tormented him for some months before he decided to go public.
Jones said: "I could have blackmailed him. God, I could use the money. I could have blackmailed him; that would have been really easy to do. But I didn't. So no, there's no backing behind me at all. I came out on my own."
Jones says he last saw Haggard in August and had already known who he was at that time but didn’t say anything about it. He says the Foley case was in the news and with the election coming up he figured Haggard was letting things cool down for a bit.
I suspect that before this is over all the claims about Haggard will be verified.