Ted Haggard enjoyed frequent television appearances during his years as the outspoken president of the National Association of Evangelicals. His star rose high enough for Barbara Walters, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Brian Williams, and other TV personalities to come calling on a regular basis. In November 2006, Haggard disappeared quickly when he was caught in a sex-and-drugs scandal involving a male prostitute in Denver. But this week, Haggard is gracing television screens once again. Oprah Winfrey and Larry King will host Haggard and his family on their respective shows, and HBO will premiere The Trials of Ted Haggard, a documentary by Alexandra Pelosi that follows the ex-minister through the dreary months following his star's fall.
In his two decades as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, one of Haggard's most legendary sermons was titled "There's No Such Thing as a Secret." Truth will out, preached Haggard, so you might as well confess your darkest impulses and actions. I was Haggard's writer and editor for eight years, and I don't know anyone who was not shocked that there was such a thing as a secret for him. Haggard's double life was a searing revelation to his family, his church, and his closest friends.
Another legendary Haggard sermon was called "How Much Is Your Sin Going to Cost Me?" It was the pastor's sly, wry way of reminding us that there are social consequences for our actions. When we lie, cheat, and steal, we incur debts of time, emotion, and material treasure that our family and friends have to pay. Have integrity, he said, so that no one has to clean up after your mistakes.
Pelosi's film gives us a glimpse of what Haggard's sin cost him: a career in Christian ministry, the respect of evangelical ...