Ted Haggard's gone through some tough times over the past couple of years. But he didn't pass through the wilderness alone. He had a camera crew! The Trials of Ted Haggard airs on HBO 1-29-09.
Of Mike Jones, his accuser, Haggard said: "I know he's gone through a lot. When he said he had to say something, I believe it. And I think that was God encouraging him to do that."
Jones said Friday he considers Haggard a salesman seeking attention for his business.
Newsweek reviews some of the major scandals involving religious leaders over the past several years:
1. Jim Bakker - In 1987 he had a "one night stand" with an employee. In 1989 he was convicted of fraud and conspiracy for bilking PTL of $158 million. Cheese 'n crackers -- one hundred fifty eight million!
2. Richard Roberts - Son of Oral Roberts. In 2007 he was sued for "lavish personal spending" at doner's expense and illegal local political campaign involvement.
3. Jimmy Swaggart - Caught with a prostitute 1988. On TV said, "I have sinned against you and beg your forgiveness." Caught with another prostitute three years later. Told his congregation, "the Lord told me it's flat none of your business."
4. Robert Tilton - In 1991, found taking doner's checks but throwing away prayer requests without reading them. Resumed TV ministry 1997.
5. Henry Lyons- Former president of the National Baptist Convention. Convicted of racketeering and grand theft in 1999.
6. Rabbi Fred Neulander - Convicted of arranging to have his wife killed in 2000.
7. Jesse Jackson - In 2001, admitted extramarital affair resulting in the birth of a daughter.
8. Father John Geoghan - Molested more than 100 boys during his 30 year career. Killed by a fellow inmate in 2003.
9. Bishop Kurt Krenn - Resigned in 2004 after seminary porn scandal in Austria. Authorities found 40,000 lurid images including child porn.
10. Father Marcial Degollado - Mexican founder of the conservative order Legionaries of Christ. Sexually abused seminarians. Died 2008.
11. Greek Orthodox sex scandal 2005 - Senior Orthodox clerics involved in relationships with other men.
12. Ted Haggard - Former head of the National Association of Evangelicals. Vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. Had sex with a male prostitute who also sold him methamphetamine. Resigned 2006.
You'd think these scandals would shake the popular notion that morality and belief in God are linked. But several ready-made rationalizations keep the delusion going - e.g., humans have free will, Christians struggle with temptation like everyone else, etc.
Gullibility is, apparently, no sin.
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