Back on July 24, Ted Haggard, as part of his continuing rehabilitation campaign built around the launch of his new church, told the Wall Street Journal that he "over-repented" when apologizing for his extra-marital shenanigans with male escort Mike Jones. A week-plus later, the quote's hardly fading away.
A search for Haggard's name and "over-repented" scored nearly 10,000 hits, with one blog after another making sport of this astonishingly ballsy assertion, not to mention a name-dropping passage in which Haggard attempted to justify his return to the pulpit:
"Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football," Mr. Haggard said as his new congregation joined him and Gayle in their backyard for a post-worship picnic. Little kids, shrieking with joy, splashed in the pool. Men grilled burgers. Women set out chicken salad.
"Ted Haggard," Mr. Haggard said, "needs to be leading a church."
Do these lines have the staying power of famous evangelical moments like Jimmy Swaggert's tearful declaration, "I have sinned against you, My Lord," or Oral Roberts's stories about talking to a 900 foot Jesus? Only time will tell. But Haggard's off to a good -- or, from his perspective, bad -- start.
Look below to see an MSNBC clip about over-repentance: