Rev. Ted Haggard announced Wednesday
that he's starting a new church where everyone is welcome.
Haggard is the evangelical pastor who
ran afoul of his Denver congregation after admitting to a three-year
pay-for-sex affair with male prostitute Mike Jones. Immediately
after Jones reveled their sexual association in 2006, Haggard denied
being gay, saying only that he had committed “sexual immorality.”
Since that time, Haggard has said he's undergone intensive
counseling. On February 6, 2007, Tim Ralph pronounced Haggard
“cured,” adding that Haggard is “completely heterosexual.”
Haggard made his announcement outside
of his 1865 Old Ranch Road home in Colorado Springs, with his family
by his side.
St. James Church in Colorado Springs
will welcome everyone, Haggard said, including people who are “gay,
straight, bi, tall, short, whether you're an addict, a recovering
addict, or you have an addict in your family.” Democrats,
Republicans and independents are also welcome, he added.
While Haggard's new church will be
gay-welcoming, no gay or lesbian couples will be allowed to marry in
“God's ideal plan for marriage is the
union of a man and a woman,” he said, then added that some people
fall short of God's ideal.
Haggard founded Colorado Springs-based
New Life Church and grew it into a $50 million megachurch before
being forced to step down amid his sex scandal.