While Ted Haggard has moved on to his second act as the founding minister of St. James, his new church in Colorado Springs, Mike Jones, the male escort who outed the meth- and male-seeking New Life preacher in the fall of 2006, is still working off the same script.
Jones weighs in on "Why Priests Hire Male Prostitutes" for the Daily Beast.
The July 19 piece was hooked to Kevin Gray, the Connecticut priest who allegedly embezzled $1.3 million, lavishing at least some of it on prostitutes. During the time he worked as an escort in Denver, Jones estimates, at least 15 percent of his clients were connected with a church.
Like Haggard, most of these men don't use their real names with the escorts they hire, and I'm sure they feel that part of what they're paying for is anonymity. And for the most part, they are correct -- there is an unwritten understanding that all encounters are confidential. I think back to all the clergy, politicians, sports personalities, and actors whose careers I could have ruined, but that was not me and not what I was in the business of doing.
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But then Jones heard Haggard coming out against Referendum 1, a 2006 ballot measure that would have allowed same-sex civil unions, and started his own crusade to expose Haggard's hypocrisy.
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And when they are finally caught, they always ask for forgiveness. Because the endless supply of forgiveness they feel entitled to as men of the church is why they feel at liberty to do what they do in the first place. After the whole sorry affair was over and done with, Ted Haggard talked about how glad he was that I exposed him so he could begin to heal his life. (Personally, I think was just sorry he got caught.) And now that he's back at the altar, with a brand new, healing-focused church called St. James, Haggard can revel in the repentant-fueled second act that he, as a member of the clergy, clearly feels entitled to.
And Jones is not ready to forgive that -- or to move on to his own second act.