On Thursday night Ted and Gayle Haggard appeared on Larry King Live to promote the HBO documentary (it about the megachurch pastor’s fall from grace) and to answer some candid questions about Ted’s judgment and to explain why she is with him after all his travails. The whole thing was quite bizarre and creepy. The entire transcript is up now. Also, Anderson Cooper did a bang-up job of breaking this case down in a serious manner with a psychiatrist on AC360; I discuss that below the fold.
But on to the lunacy — what a gift of ESP Mrs. Haggard has! The wife of the fallen New Life pastor explains to Larry how heterosexual her husband really is. BTW, one of their son appeared on the show in a later segment. Bleh, that’s way TMI for a kid to hear.
KING: You had to be doubly shocked, Gail?
G. HAGGARD: Doubly shocked. However, I do think that our sexuality is complex. But I don’t like is when we put labels on each other, because I am here to say that 99 percent of Ted’s sexual experiences were with me. So I’m not willing to deny that. But I am willing to explore, why is he having these other feelings?
My questions — is this delusional thinking? Is she making an educated guess? Or did he do a full run-down of acts for her and she ran the numbers through Excel?
Anyway, Ted did not refute the allegations of church volunteer Grant Haas, the man at the center of the latest scandal. More below the fold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAAS: I came back from the bathroom — back from the bathroom and got in the bed with Ted, ready to go to sleep. And he pretty much asked me if it was OK if he masturbated in front of me or masturbated in the bed next to me. And so I told him no, that would make me really uncomfortable.
But, you know, he grabbed a bottle of lotion and he started masturbating. And at that point, I was just — I was frozen. I couldn’t really believe that this was happening, that this man was doing this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
T. HAGGARD: Fundamentally true. The specifics aren’t quite right, but it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that — that is an indicator of the compulsive behavior that was going on in my life during that time period.
KING: How long ago was this?
T. HAGGARD: Over two years ago. Since that time, I met with him and one of the church overseers and Gayle and asked for his forgiveness. And all of our children — when he decided to come out and talk about that — as our kids came in the other night, I said Grant Haas is going to go public. And every one of them knew about it. And they said oh, really — and went on about their evening.
And about Mike Jones, Haggard said this:
KING: What do you think of Mr. Jones?
T. HAGGARD: I think he rescued me. I’m very grateful to him.
KING: Don’t hate him?
T. HAGGARD: Not at all, nor have I ever. And, actually, I — I think he’s paid quite a price and was brave to stand up and…
KING: Ever talk to him?
T. HAGGARD: I have not talked to him since. And — but I have communicated with him my apology to him and my apology to the gay community. I was never an avid — I was never a rabid anti-gay preacher or anything like that. I never did that type of thing.
I just always thought that the way we get instruction in life is from the bible. And so that’s the way I would approach it. But I always tried to be kind.
But I must say, I’m much more kind now. I’m much more gentle now. I’m much more understanding now. I listen a lot more than I used to.
I also want to note the fantastic job Anderson Cooper did last night breaking down this interview after it aired. On AC360 he nicely shredded the cloak of denial going on with psychiatrist Dr. Paul Dobransky, who outlined just how messed up Ted is. Haggard’s a bonanza for therapists.
I’m curious, Doctor, as you watched Ted Haggard speak, what do you think — what came to your mind?
DR. PAUL DOBRANSKY, PSYCHIATRIST: The first thing that came to mind is that I feel bad for the situation he’s in. He’s very conflicted. You’ll notice that the word choice he uses, I’ve not heard that phrase, “having homosexual attachments.”
COOPER: He said one therapist called him heterosexual with homosexual attachments and then another one said he’s heterosexual with complications.
DOBRANSKY: Yes, I think the bottom line is the conflict that this guy is in is that he has a belief system that he needs to maintain for his constituents, his fans, and certainly for his own spiritual beliefs. He needs to keep that part up. But when we talk about gender identity and sexual identity and sexual orientation, we’re talking about something that’s biological, not something that you choose. There’s plenty of research about that.
COOPER: It also seems sad because his belief system, I mean there are plenty of gay Christians –
COOPER: — who are happily gay and happily Christian and have fulfilling lives. They’re not mutually exclusive?
DOBRANSKY: Absolutely, absolutely. We are, in this country, entitled to our opinions, we’re entitled to voice them. And at the same time, we all have an animal nature inside. We have an unconscious; we have a sexual identity inside. And it’s OK to have both.
COOPER: Every — we have had a number of people on the show who say they have been cured of homosexuality, that they went through, whatever, reversion therapy or — but every one of them basically admits that they still are attracted to a member of the same sex, they’re just forcing themselves to repress those feelings.
COOPER: That can’t be a healthy thing.
For all the talk about Cooper and glass closets, the man knows how to fearlessly report on LGBT issues and hypocrites like Haggard, to put the issues into proper perspective, gay-positive while journalistically boring down into the matter in a way that is accessible to a general audience. He let Dobransky do the heavy lifting on this one; after all, Haggard has heavily invested his recovery by turning over his “issue” to therapists. One has to question the advice of the two he cited, both of whom deemed him heterosexual, either “with issues” or “complications.” I don’t know WTF that means.
Do these therapists not understand the concepts of bisexuality or closeted homosexuality to help Ted out with less accusatory framing? Whoever is helping the former megapastor out seems hell-bent on giving him the framework to hold onto the label “heterosexual” at all costs. For a couple so obsessed with avoiding labels, that’s one label they cling to with all the strength they can muster. They make it sound like his same-sex activity is some sort of “condition” that must be treated, rather than a part of him that he (and his wife) needs to accept in order to move on whether he chooses to act upon his SSAs or not.
BONUS: A graphic from Jesus’ General, who also wrote a letter to New Life Pastor Brady Boyd, noting: “Pastor Haggard had it right all along. Over and over again, he’s stated that he’s just another heterosexual who likes to put other men’s little soldiers in his mouth. You know…like Larry Craig.”