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Ted Haggard's new video: Martha Stewart & Michael Vick got restored -- so why not me?

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Ted Haggard's recent profile in GQ magazine finds him seeking attention by getting graphic about his encounters with male escort Mike Jones -- hence his claim that masturbation isn't "sex sex" and speculation that a younger Ted might see himself as bisexual. But some of the comments he shares about restoration and celebrity in a video for Lifetree Cafe are at least as interesting as another trip around the massage table. See the clip below.

In the interview, Haggard talks about other famous folks who've had their reputation rehabilitated in recent years by institutions such as TV networks and pro-sports leagues, including Martha Stewart, Michael Vick and David Letterman. However, he suggests that religious organizations are far less receptive to this phenomenon despite teaching about forgiveness, redemption and judging not lest ye be judged. "The church does not believe in the Bible," he announces at one point. "We market the Bible."

Haggard's video is keyed to a "temptation" theme that will be the focus of conversations at Lifetree Cafe locations such as Concordia Lutheran Church, 13371 W. Alameda Parkway in Lakewood, during the week of February 20. Look below to see the clip and get more information from a press release from Lifetree, which is based in Loveland.

Lifetree Cafe release:

Ted Haggard Talks Temptation and Contempt for the American Church

New video to facilitate national discussion at public forums

LOVELAND, Colo. -- Disgraced mega-church pastor Ted Haggard provides fresh insights regarding the temptations that led to his downfall in a new video interview for Lifetree Cafe, a network of discussion forums.

In the interview, Haggard tells about events in his past, including being sexually abused as a child, which contributed to his temptation. He also describes characteristics of temptation he believes make every person vulnerable, and tells what has helped him since the scandal.

The interview will be used to facilitate candid discussions during the week of February 20, when people are expected to gather at Lifetree Cafe venues in numerous cities to explore personal and societal issues of temptation, forgiveness and the role of the church.

Haggard complains in the Lifetree interview about the treatment he has received from church leaders since his downfall.

"The church only believes in forgiveness and restoration for insignificant people," he said. "Virtually every institution on earth is demonstrating that they're doing a better job restoring people than the church."

Haggard, former pastor of a large Colorado Springs, Colorado, church and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, was removed from his positions after an incident with a male prostitute in 2006.

Haggard has returned to Colorado Springs and formed a new church. He recently appeared in a documentary on the TLC network. And he's featured in the February issue of GQ magazine.

Lifetree Cafe is a place where people gather for conversation about life and faith in a casual coffeehouse-type setting.

Lifetree Cafe locations and show times can be found at www.lifetreecafe.com.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Ted Haggard: Is reality TV in his future?"

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