June 2nd, 2010
12:51 PM ET

Fallen evangelical leader Ted Haggard launches new church

Ted Haggard, the megachurch pastor and former National Association of Evangelicals chief whose career was undone by a gay prostitution and drugs scandal in 2006, plans to start a new church.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. cindy

    GREAT POSTS sheetiron!

    June 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  2. Reality

    Hopefully, Julia Sweeney and her monologue, "Letting Go of God" will put an end to Mr. Haggard's con game.


    " Religion is just too easy a target for mockery. Seen from the outside, any supernatural belief system can seem absurd. You drink your God's blood? You could be a gnat in your next life? You can't eat what? Which is why Julia Sweeney's brave, hilarious, ultimately moving new solo show "Letting Go of God" is a gale-force breath of fresh air, into the mostly politic dialogue about religion in our time which liberals of every faith have largely ceded to fired-up fundamentalists. The humbly sage Sweeney has needling questions that can't be swatted away with the laughing, lukewarm tolerance we typically afford faith-based humor, as if to say: Gosh, people believe funny things, but don't we all? We shouldn't laugh so dismissively, Sweeney insists, at others' beliefs or our own assumptions. While she scores some easy, flawlessly deadpan laughs at the expense of Mormonism, Deepak Chopra, astrology and Catholicism, the tradition she says she was happily raised in, she is after much bigger game than cheap disdain. As she says to an imaginary God she's at last parting with near show's end: "It's because I take you so seriously that I can't bring myself to believe in you." Looking very at home with herself, on a set dressed like a study rife with religious books and artifacts, Sweeney delivers her monologue with her trademark blend of ironic confidentiality and best-friend candor. Believers of all stripes and intensities, as well as nonbelievers who may scoff a little too facilely, will be challenged and disarmed with stick-in-your-throat laughter by Sweeney's utterly uncynical, blisteringly honest testimony. –The Los Angeles Times (this review if for the stage show)"

    June 3, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • SHRIKE

      What are you, her publicist? I've seen her show and "gale-force breath of fresh air" it is not. I would call it only slightly humorous. George Carlin or Bill Maher are much better choices.

      June 3, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • Reality

      "Whether you're a Believer, an Atheist, a Humanist, or just someone who hasn't really thought about it, this DVD (Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God) will pull at your heart strings, make you pee your pants laughing, and best of all, make you THINK. "- one of the 58 five star reviews

      June 3, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  3. debbie

    this guy is pathetic–
    to make such a glaring mistake is reprehensible!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2010 at 4:15 am |
  4. get real!

    forget about the church plans for a second...did anyone listen to this video? it was all about HIM! his plans, his church, his brokeness, his heart and compassion. No mention of what his wife and kids have been through...even though he drags them out as window dressing for the press conference. Maybe he likes being a pastor because focusing on others means he doesn't have to work so hard on his own issues. Focusing on the pain of others (even as a pastor) is easier than dealing with the pain you've caused to people you love.

    June 3, 2010 at 12:51 am |
  5. erbtron

    1 god...100 beliefs = 1000wars....the cavemen days are over

    June 3, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  6. Nelly 14

    Jesus Christ is coming back whether we like it or make fun of it or not. He will first rapture his children, the faithful true christians, you will see. It is very soon. Then he will will come after the tribulation once and for all...;-) Eveything that has been propheside about in the Bible has happen and is happening. So, who says that Jesus Christ will not come when The Word of God says he will. Every knee shall bow, and evey tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord forever. He is Good and Merciful and for all of you ignorant that make fun and talk against Jesus Christ, don't worry He still Loves you, even though it might be hard for me to forgive you for saying these things. He has told us to forgive those who talk against us and to even love our own enemies, which we all know is hard but when we KNOW His love and all he does for us, we automatically are transformed and we forgive and love. I forgive you and love you and hope you get to know Jesus our wonderul true friend and savior. He Loves you. Be watching for He Knocks at the door.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Eric

      What prophicies have come true? Please explain. Please use facts, evidence and testable/repeatable proof with your explanation.

      June 3, 2010 at 7:42 am |
    • SHRIKE

      brainwashed much?

      June 3, 2010 at 9:00 am |
    • Amenhotepstein

      Jesus is coming "soon", eh? You realize that was first said over a thousand years ago, don't you? Please define "soon".

      June 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Gary

      May allah bless you!

      June 3, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      AMEN...NELLY14. Just in the days of Noah, God saw how great wickedness had become and decided to wipe mankind from the face of the earth. However, one righteous man among all the people of that time, Noah, found favor in God's eyes. With very specific instructions, God told Noah to build an ark for him and his family in preparation for a catastrophic flood that would destroy every living thing on earth.

      God also instructed Noah to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, along with every kind of food to be stored as food for the animals and his family while on the ark. Noah obeyed everything God commanded him to do.

      Noah was righteous and blameless, but he was not sinless (see Genesis 9:20). Noah pleased God and found favor because he loved and obeyed God with his whole heart. As a result, Noah's life was an example to his entire generation. Although everyone around him followed the evil in their hearts, Noah followed God.

      Just as in the days of Noah, people mocked God and made fun of Noah. Noah warned many of what was going to happen and they didn't believe in him. The door to the ark was opened for a very long time and when the time came, God, not Noah, closed the door to the Ark and immediately started to rain heavily. People were scared and ran to Noah and knocked on the door and begged Noah to open the door, but Noah said, "God warned each and every one of you and you didn't believe. You didn't enter the door that God opened to all. It was big enough for all of us, but you mocked God. Now, God has shut the door of the Ark and I can't open it." This is the same thing that we are experiencing today. The door of God's kingdom is open and God is sending His people to preach the Kingdom of God to those that are lost. Many today are mocking God and His people, but the day will come when the door to the Kingdom will be shut and many will be as in the days of Noah, knocking, begging to enter in, but it will be too late!

      June 3, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  7. Greg Carter


    thats all I can say about religious people


    June 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  8. Huh?

    Is it a g a y church?

    June 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  9. knowledge33

    These are just signs of end times, read Matthew 24 you will read about why this world is the way it is, Jesus is coming soon. NO ONE is to judge , Jesus paid the ramson for our sins, He loves us and he is returning soon

    June 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • riverrunner

      so wait he loves us or wants to kill us all?

      June 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • SHRIKE

      Jesus can suck it

      June 3, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  10. John Petersen

    I'm gay. I look forward to meet you in your new church.

    June 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  11. John Wilson

    Just one question for Pastor Ted. Will gays be welcome in your segregration this time around?

    June 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • sheetiron

      In the full article he said all are welcome. He said, gay, bi, lesbian, man, woman, all races, etc are welcome. I agree with this. Christ welcomed all people regardless of who they were or their background. However, he also made it a point out of love and a genuine concern for the people to warn them that the current lifestyle they live will lead them to destruction and that they need to change their life, turn away from it, and embrace God.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  12. ElisabethinCA

    So I feel like I am in the middle of the Salem Witch Trials..."Burn him, Burn him"....I think that God gives second chances, it's too bad that we as humans do not....
    I really believe the internet has created a whole new generation of Jerry Springer audience members.....people who hide behind their keyboards and judge, judge, judge...as well as trash people and say the nastiest things.... Throwing blame at his wife, or any of his family members is just not right....and the adage "People in glass houses should not throw stones" is perfect for almost all comment sections, no matter what the internet page or topic....

    June 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Andrew

      Why should he be given a second chance? He was the definition of hypocrisy for years and years. He didn't even come out himself and come clean, it had to be exposed. Now he's starting a new church where he'll preach the same absurd trite garbage he always did, what exactly is deserving of anything but scorn?

      June 2, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Andrew

      And just to be clear... WITCHES ARE NOT REAL! The Salem witch trials burned alive innocent people for something they have never done. Ted Haggard HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE A HYPOCRITE. On one hand, you have innocent people being killed for doing nothing. On the other, you have scorn being thrust upon a confirmed hypocrite.

      How are they comparable?

      June 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  13. Reality

    Once again, Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals like Haggard and atonement theology

    June 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  14. C. R.

    While I find his rhetoric both disgusting and toxic, I respect his right to start a church. Faith in America should be free to all, if they exercise poor theology or not.

    June 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  15. Corey-Jason

    Just another perfect example of the hypocrisy that is "the American Taliban"; lets face it that's what these extremist Christians are they just call "Allah" "Jesus Christ". Religion sickens me!

    June 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  16. DMX

    The churches around this country and around the world is made up of people just like Ted Haggard and his wife, and you wonder why the world is a mess.

    June 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  17. Michael Giannella

    Must be running out of money.

    June 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  18. Praetorian

    What a laugh...Kind of like Madoff starting a new investment fund from prison. As a religious leader, Ted Haggard has about that much credibility. Give me one good reason why anyone should trust this man?

    June 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  19. sheetiron

    Go ahead. You messed up big time. But you cant let Satan use that to stop you from accomplishing Gods will for your life. Press on Brother. Advance the Kingdom of God with a spirit of aggression.

    June 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Andrew

      "Messed up big time"? So that's what you call "blatant absurd jaw dropping hypocrisy? You'd forget anyone for anything if they profess your religion, wouldn't you? A very "judge them based on their rhetoric, rather than actions" mentality it seems. And yet this hypocrite had the gall to call Dawkins smug. (Not saying Dawkins isn't smug, but Haggard takes it to a new level)

      June 2, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • sheetiron

      Christ forgave and forgot all my sins, why should I do any less?

      June 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
    • riverrunner

      that's right, blame satan. 4000 BC called. they want their myth back.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Credo

      You are another blind sheep that is about to be lead to the slaughter.

      June 3, 2010 at 12:34 am |
    • sheetiron

      I think its funny how a lot of people assume that myself and others like me are "blind sheep" who have been brainwashed, coerced, manipulated, force fed, and tricked into believing the things we do. Perhaps the reason people such as yourself jump to this conclusion is because the alternative frightens you. The alternative being that we came to these convictions on our own through our own personal search for truth and purpose and that we truly do believe the things we profess. Being a brainwashed blind sheep is acceptable to you. We dont know any better. But the idea that a rational human being came to embrace these beliefs on their own disturbs you. Perhaps that is why you assume we are "blind sheep".

      June 3, 2010 at 3:21 am |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      Messing up big times is dying in sin without repentance! Pastor Haggard is a great example that we can see that no one is perfect and God's Grace is sufficient for His children!

      [Psalms 37: 23-26] The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand. I have been young and am now old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful and lendeth and his seed is blessed.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
    • nomoregbldgk

      Should be some experience to be taught the Bible by the Fallen–for relief from the hypocricy visit a pageinthelife

      August 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  20. Annexian

    I've been very critical of "Zionism" or rather how it's seized on by "Good Christians" hoping for the "Rapture" since according to that tripe it occurs between the modern reformation of Israel and it's destruction... The Revelation is a hallucinogenic mushroom inspired revenge fantasy against the Emperor Nero, one who's long since gone to face whatever justice coming to him. It was only included because the Council of Nicea was about to disintegrate into civil war among Christians because they'd excluded so many other texts as "Gnostic" though politics had more to do with faith or theology. That book was a scroll that had sat on a shelf at least a century, and had no "Cult" around it.

    So, why'd I bring this up?

    Well, allegorically, it's wonderful....

    "By their FRUIT, ye shall know them!"

    "Ain't that right, Ted Fa- excuse me- Ted Haggard?"

    June 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.