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Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard returns in cable TV special

By Matthew Carey, CNN
Ted Haggard says his new cable TV special will tell his own "resurrection story."
Ted Haggard says his new cable TV special will tell his own "resurrection story."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Haggard said he got a massage from a man who said the pastor had paid him for sex
  • He said he purchased crystal meth, but threw it away
  • Haggard was once pastor of the New Life Church megachurch in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • TLC special on him will air on January 16

(CNN) -- Ted Haggard, the former megachurch pastor and former National Association of Evangelicals chief whose career was undone by a sex and drugs scandal in 2006, will appear in a cable TV special this month.

"Ted Haggard: Scandalous" will explore his fall from grace, he said. "It shows the drama and the intrigue" that exploded following revelations that he had engaged in sexual encounters with a male prostitute and purchased crystal meth. Haggard described the scandal as "highly embarrassing and shameful for me."

The show is scheduled to air on TLC on January 16.

In 2006, Haggard acknowledged having received a massage from a Denver, Colorado, man who said that the prominent pastor had paid him for sex over three years.

Haggard also admitted he had bought methamphetamine but said he threw it away.

Those statements led the Board of Overseers at New Life Church to fire Haggard as senior pastor. The church's independent investigative board said he was guilty of "sexually immoral conduct."

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RELATED TOPICS
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After the allegations were made public, Haggard resigned as president of the influential National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group representing more than 45,000 churches with 30 million members.

But the special goes further than the scandal, he said, documenting Haggard's attempt to build a new ministry in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "It's the resurrection story," he said. He likened his journey to NFL quarterback Michael Vick and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, co-host of CNN's "Parker Spitzer," both of whom endured scandal but have recently returned to the public eye.

Haggard's St. James Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has 300 congregants, he said, a far cry from the thousands who heard him preach in his heyday at crosstown New Life Church.

The church, which is not affiliated with any denomination, opened its doors in June.

"All are welcome. Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, gay, straight, bi-(sexual), tall, short, addict, recovering addict. ... I believe Jesus' arms are open to all," Haggard said at the time.

This is not the first post-scandal TV show Haggard has appeared in.

The 2009 HBO documentary, "The Trials of Ted Haggard" revealed the financial hardships his family was facing after his ouster from New Life Church. Haggard said he's still struggling financially.

"We're still living on the equity of our home," he said.

 
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