An appearance on ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap show is not the
traditional way restore the image of a troubled evangelical pastor.
But, scandalized former mega-church pastor Ted Haggard has confirmed that he will be swapping partners with actor Gary Busey on the show, adding another twist to Haggard’s unorthodox public life which was tainted when he admitted to ‘sexual immorality’ with a male escort and to purchasing crystal meth.
Today, “Pastor Ted” has had a media presence that raises him to the status of celebrity, at least in the eyes of reality TV producers.
But back in 2006, Haggard was head of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of Colorado Springs-based New Life Church’s 14,000 member congregation. Then the infamous scandal --brought to light by a male prostitute who claimed to have a relationship with Haggard-- threatened to end his life in the ministry. Still, even during their two-year hiatus from ministry, Haggard and his family were being filmed for an HBO documentary called The Trials of Ted Haggard, which aired in January 2009.
Following the documentary’s release came appearances on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Larry King Live. He appeared on Divorce Court with his wife, Gayle. (The Haggards are still married.) There was even a play called This Beautiful City that featured his character. In 2011 TLC aired a special titled Ted Haggard: Scandalous
On the Web site of St. James, his new church, Haggard writes that his current ministry is for everyone, “straight, gay, or bi.” He talks about his new church as a chance at redemption.
In his special on TLC, Haggard said: “When I die, I want to have something good. I don’t want my biggest mark to be that I had a great church and I blew it with drugs and sex. This is my redemption.”
More On Faith and the Haggards:
Under God: Ted Haggard: I’m ‘probably’ bisexual
WATCH: Gayle Haggard’s 2010 interview with Sally Quinn