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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le moralisateur débauché

by Lucy Bateman

Fall of a US Moralizer

Translated Tuesday 21 November 2006, by Carol Gullidge

A well-known US preacher of family values has been forced out of his own church after admitting "sexually immoral conduct"...

Ted Haggard, a pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, has sinned grievously: not only has he committed adultery, but he is alleged to have availed himself every month of the services of a prostitute, from whom he bought drugs. What, for an ordinary man, could pass as straying from the straight and narrow, is an enormous clanger for the man classed by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the US. And who, on top of defending the most conservative family values, along with the Bush administration, also campaigns against homosexual marriage.

It was in the interests of exposing this hypocrisy that the man who claims to have been his paid lover decided tell his story to the radio. The pastor at first denied, and then finally admitted some of the accusations, before being excluded, by its supervisory board, from the church that he himself had founded. Haggard nevertheless did not miss the opportunity to derive an edifying moral from his depravity. In a letter read out during the Sunday service, he repented: “I’m so ashamed. I’m guilty of all this, and have no excuse. I’m a sinner. And I’ve fallen.” Tears flowed amongst the congregation.

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