Ted Haggard Update: No Wait, Gayle Haggard Update!

Recently, www.religiondispatches.org interviewed “The New Haggards”.  Gayle Haggard, Ted Haggards wife… STILL! has now written a book on the subject of why she stayed with Ted after he was cheating on her with a male prostitute and using drugs.  The following is an excerpt from the interview:

Ted Haggard, one of America’s most successful megachurch preachers, was officially separated from his church back in 2006. His wife and partner, Gayle, has stuck by his side through it all and has written a new book on the experience. RD spoke with her about their former church, their evolving views on homosexuality, and the future. 

Before Ted Haggard’s 2006 fall from grace—the result of a scandal involving drug use and a male prostitute—he and his wife Gayle coauthored a breezy, heavily-illustrated marriage guide, From This Day Forward: Making Your Vows Last a Lifetime. Post-scandal, the book seemed to epitomize the unrealistic demands the Christian right puts on women: that a “wife loves her husband with unflinching devotion,” seeks to please him, love him, and above all help him, since, as the book warns, men often have affairs with coworkers because they “are drawn to the women who help them do their task.”

The warning applied little to Gayle, who had dropped out of Oral Roberts University to “support a man of God” like Ted, and worked at his side for years as a nationally-recognized evangelical women’s figure, running New Life’s women’s ministry teaching students to be better wives. Yet when Ted fell, fellow megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll took the opportunity to crudely chastise Gayle Haggard by insinuation, writing that pastors’ wives too often “let themselves go,” confident that their pastor husband is trapped by vocation into fidelity.

Although Driscoll’s remarks were widely condemned, they merely highlighted a commonly held view that Ted’s actions became Gayle’s shared sin, and revealed the certainty from the outset that all eyes would be on Gayle as the couple responded to the crisis. Gayle announced as much in a goodbye letter that was read to the congregation in her absence, providing a parting lesson to the women of the church: this was no rupture in their marriage, but a continuation of her life’s role. “My test has begun,” Gayle wrote, “watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful.”

In time, however, once the Haggards fell into an unglamorous obscurity in the suburban Southwest, and after Gayle stood by her man through betrayal, financial uncertainty, and the disdain of most of her community, they seemed to stop watching her.

Until now. Gag rules imposed on the Haggards by both separation and spiritual “restoration” agreements with New Life have been lifted and the couple is free to discuss their side of the scandal—which they’re doing extensively, in nationwide church appearances and through Gayle’s promotion of her new book. Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made In My Darkest Hour (Tyndale House, 2010) chronicles her and her family’s years in exile and urges women to follow her in choosing a path of forgiveness and love towards their flawed husbands.

Why I Stayed paints a compelling picture of an eternal evangelical women’s leader continuing to demonstrate the path of virtuous Christian wifehood to a now national audience by following her disgraced husband into exile, taking on his sins as her own, and submitting her own pain to the rigorous doctrine for Christian women that “love is a choice, not a feeling.”

It’s also an uneasy tale of redemption from Ted’s gay sex scandal that flirts with the language of tolerance. The Haggards found support and even friendship from many in the gay community, and continue to lobby for broader categories of sexuality to include Ted’s self-identified “heterosexual with issues” orientation. At the same time they declare that his gay attractions were a sin born of childhood abuse and describe gay sex as a menacing influence on a victimized Ted.

For a family that fell from evangelical grace so spectacularly, a resurrection like this seemed inevitable. But both in the book and in an interview with RD, the new Haggards sometimes seem much the same as the old Haggards, if somewhat humbled. For icons from the era of compassionate conservatism, maybe this message—a slight repackaging of love the sinner, hate the sin—makes sense as revelation to them. But the strictures of the narrative they’ve laid out for themselves—a steadfast wife and a repentant husband whose sexuality is only as sinful as any other sin—may strike the outsider as more bump in the road than divine revelation.  FOR THE WHOLE INTERVIEW VISIT: THIS LINK

Maybe some of these other wives and husbands need to pick up Gayle’s book… ACTUALLY, they should just pick up the BIBLE!  And if you Google it, please don’t forget to add the “LE” at the end of Gayle’s name… please, it could get ugly real quick!

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9 responses to “Ted Haggard Update: No Wait, Gayle Haggard Update!

  1. so basically gayle desides to make money out of a scandal in the church that HURT SO MANY PEOPLE how is that christian how is that godly how is that loving. i think this is just typical selfish non christian actions from a non christian woman. These people are more worried about what people say than what god says. Im an evangelical christian woman and Jesus said you will know them by their fruits these fruits are nasty and rotten to the core. the bible says not to love filthy lucre. (money). Instead of humbly going quietly and worshipping god and falling into the background they keep throwing themselves into the limelight to only dredge it up again and again and again.. HOW IS THAT LOVING THE PEOPLE THEY HURT??

  2. this poor bastard ???? he f*$#@! up and ya’ll don’t forgive the man ya’ll are worng and are hiporcrits

  3. I just saw the documentary on TV in Norway. I thank you, God, for The Haggards, not only did Ted admitt his sin, he also repented it.Oao, and what a wife, SHE IS STRONG! There are so MANY people struggling with the same issues and they need to see that there is a way out of it.Donnie Mcclurkin, another ex-gay pastor and songwriter sings “We fall down, but we get up,for a saint is just a sinner who felt down and got up”.No matter where you are, no matter what you`ve done you can get up back again. Because Jesus loves you highly.

  4. Laura…you give all christian women of any type …a BAD NAME…where is your love?, where is your forgiveness?… how are you living in Christ’s image who always advocated forgiveness no matter what the sin ?… because it is not any man’s place to judge…only God will do that. You and other Christians like you (including those from the church Ted founded) have committed the biggest sins. How dare you judge this man who has admitted to his sins and done everything he can to make retribution….only to be outcast and defamed by those (you) who claim to be loving Christ like people. What a bunch of hypocrits you are. Look deep into your hearts and souls. Ted and the rest of us who understand and believe in forgiveness and repentance will forgive you for your shortsidedness even though you are not as generous to others.

  5. First of all.. I think Gayle is a beautiful woman… both on the inside and the outside. I just watched the documentary about Ted and prior to this I had no opinion, (I’m not a practicing christian) but now I do. This guy seems truly sorry and naive. If you consider his sins to be bad.. then take a look around at this world. What this guy did pales in comparison. Leave the guy alone, he has made sincere amends, he tries to do good, he tries to act good, he tries to be good, and I actually feel sorry for his trials and tribulations. Gayle, you are a beautiful woman and I hope that you and your family can recover from this. I also must say that your former friends should practice what THEY preach. They totally abandoned you and your family, and should all be ashamed. Good Luck.
    Mike from Clinton NY

  6. Gayle is an awesome woman! This is called nothing but freedom…
    Just imagine the ones that are living the same identical sin and in bondage.
    Also, it’s better to keep what you’ve got, at least we know. Imagine not knowing or marrying someone with the same and more invisible demons.
    May Gayle and her family contine to be blessed.

  7. Hey, we are all prone to fall since we live in this world of distress, today u can jugde tomoro u are the convict u dont know yo tomoro. Since Ted repented and came out he just did the word guys, we are not condoning sin, sin is sin immeasurable, fornication and adultery is equal exactly equal to yo lies

  8. Brothers & Sisters
    Thou but by the grace of God, there go I. Judge not least ye be judged. Our brother in Christ has in your eyes fallen, let those without sin cast the first stone. Let those in Christ forgive and forget.
    Ted I pray God bless you and your family, and understand our Lord can and will use this for His Glory…”It Is Finished”

  9. I want to say that along with the Bible telling us we will know them by ‘the friuts of their labor” it also tells us not to judge, lest we be judged. Jesus himself said ‘let him with out sin cast the first stone.” Although, I may not have had a gay sexual relationship or a problem with drugs, there are no degrees of wrong-ness and doing what I know isn’t right is sinning. With that said, I too, want to applaud Ted and his incredible wife and family. What an amazing story, the tragic part of it is how hard and unforgiving people can be, especially people who are supposed to live by God’s word and ‘Love their neighbor as they love themselves’. We can’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible to follow we must follow it all or not at all. And we must remember ‘to take the beam out of our own eye before we try to remove the splinter in our neighbors eye’. Who better to teach you how to live a life of love than someone who has had to learn how to love the hard way, through living it….

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