- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS (AP) — Less than 24 hours after he was fired from the pulpit of the evangelical megachurch he founded, the Rev. Ted Haggard acknowledged yesterday that he was guilty of sexual immorality.

In a letter that was read to the congregation of the New Life Church by another clergyman, Mr. Haggard apologized for his acts and requested forgiveness.

“I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment for all of you,” he said, adding that he had confused the situation by giving inconsistent remarks to reporters denying the charges by a homosexual prostitute.

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“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life,” he said.

Mr. Haggard resigned last week as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after a prostitute claimed to have had drug-fueled homosexual trysts with him. Mr. Haggard also placed himself on administrative leave from the New Life Church, which has 14,000 members, but its independent Overseer Board fired him Saturday.

In his letter, Mr. Haggard said, “The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry.”

He did not give details on which accusations were true.

The letter was read to the church by the Rev. Larry Stockstill, senior pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, La., and a member of the board that fired Mr. Haggard.

Youngsters were sent out of the room before elders began speaking about the church crisis.

“Worshippers are always challenged by crisis. And when tragedy and crisis strikes, it is at that moment that you truly decide if you are a worshipper of the most high God. And today, as the worship pastor of this church, I am very proud of you,” said the Rev. Ross Parsley, who has replaced Mr. Haggard.

Mike Jones, the Denver prostitute who made the charges last week, said yesterday that he was “sad for him and his family. I know this is a tough day for him also. I wish him well. I wish his family well. My intent was never to destroy his family. My intent was to expose a hypocrite,” referring to Mr. Haggard’s support for an amendment to the Colorado Constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

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