Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Haggard's Pump 'n Go: Serving You 24/7

This is a clip from my interview with Grant Haas, the young man who came forward last week and made sexual allegations against Ted Haggard, which Ted Haggard admitted to and apologized for on "Larry King Live" last week.

But the Colorado Springs TV news station which broke the story reported only a few details -- that Haggard once masturbated in front of Haas and sent Haas sexually explicit messages, and that the New Life Church paid him hush money to stay silent about it -- and did not even remotely present the fuller picture that Grant Haas lays out, which is very much about the abuse and exploitation that has gone on at New Life Church and is likely still going on.

Haas came on my show and spoke about his relationship with Haggard in full detail and about others in the church as well as how the church responded to his allegations. It was a very long interview that stretched over an hour and a half. I've provided a video clip of one part here. I will post more audio/video tomorrow and in coming days.

In this clip we discuss the "Twenty-four/Seven Program" at New Life Church, a sort of Bible boot camp where young men, 18-23, are worked out intensely and get all cut up and muscled while also praying to Jesus, immersed in this 24 hours a day, often being woken up at all hours of the night. Haggard and another man who is described as "struggling with homosexuality" often oversaw the program, including going to the gym with the young men in the morning to work out and shower with them. They often went on training missions -- including simulated counter-terrorism missions, as Christians under attack, and you'll hear about all of that. (Please don't mind the grimaces on my face throughout: I really wasn't that shocked and disgusted about what I was hearing! We had some technical/sound issues in the studio, and I was trying to cope with those problems, on the computer and to my producers, and was pretty frustrated by them, hence some of the looks on my face). As I said, I will post more, and Pam Spaulding pretty much live-blogged the interview with a lot of details.

Note: There are more clips from the Grant Haas interview here and here.

Note: There are more clips from the Grant Haas interview here and here.

Below are some excerpts from the detailed notes of events that Grant Haas wrote in his own words and gave me, and which I used throughout the interview. He pretty much recited these statements back during the interview, as I went through them, and I'll be posting some of our discussions in coming days.

Upon first meeting Ted Haggard, after telling him he was "struggling with homosexuality":

Immediately Pastor Haggard’s eyes light up and he became very concerned. He insisted that I take his personal cell phone number and give him a call Monday morning so he could take me to lunch and discuss my problems....He began to explain that most men struggle with homosexual desires and began to regurgitate information that would be found in Alfred’s Kinsey’s sexual research reports. He described that some of his staff had strong homosexual desires, some had no homosexual desires, but most fell somewhere in the middle (the Kinsey scale of sexuality)..He began asking me questions about my sexual preferences in the bedroom. Questions about what types of sex I like (example: bondage, toys, groups, bathhouses, top, bottom, versatile, drugs). Ted explained to me that since I preferred to be in a “top” position that it would be easy to become straight because “an asshole is similar to a vagina.”

As things progressed Haggard told him about the "party formula:"

Eventually he started asking me what kinds of things I was into (oral, anal, rimming, bondage, porn, etc.). Then he began to explain a “party formula” to me. He explained that the “party formula” usually involved taking crystal-meth, poppers, Viagra, renting pornography and jerking off alone or with others. He told me that he knew a lot of people who were into this type of activity and found it very enjoyable.

Haggard would often text message Haas while Haggard was high, Haas said, which was often, including during sermons but mostly while Haggard was away:

The next weekend I started receiving text messages from him again. This time he was at LAX airport in the VIP-Red Carpet Room. He began sending me messages like “the room is spinning”, “I think I’m gonna throw up”, and “I did way too much”. He began to go into detail on how he had bought porn, poppers, and meth and that he jerked off of over two hours.

I'll have those discussions and much more tomorrow.

Note: There are more clips from the Grant Haas interview here and here.