Well, Ted, it’s not quite the confession you’d hoped.
Ted Haggard left a message on my cell phone Friday saying a gay blogger named Carl Shepherd has broken the news that Mike Jones, a male escort whom Haggard reportedly paid for sexual encounters, was saying that he made it all up — that Jones had admitted lying about his sexual relationship withHaggard.
Here’s how this all came about: The blogger, known as Chazonator, emailed Jones questions about Haggard, who resigned his pastor position at New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 2006 when Jones went public about the relationship.
Jones responded to Chazonator with this: “Ted Haggard has won. He and his wife have figured out a way of making money off God again. I made it all up. I never actually met the guy. Please leave me alone. Mike Jones.”
Chazonator tried to present this as Jones’ confession, which got Haggard pretty excited.
On Chazonator’s Web site, Haggard weighs in on Jones. “95 percent of what he says about me (in his book) is fabricated,” Haggard writes.
But Jones’ email is no confession. Jones is obviously tired of queries about the relationship and was being sarcastic in the email. But Haggard attempted to turn this into a news event by contacting me and probably other journalists saying Jones had confessed that he lied about the relationship.
A weary Jones explained himself to me today in the email below:
“I almost wasn’t going to even respond to it. I do know you are smarter than this. It is LOL funny that a blogger would print it and for Ted to run with it. What does that tell you?
“I received an email from a total stranger demanding that I respond to his questions that 40,000 of his fans want answered. First of all, I do not respond to demands, especially from a stranger. So I sent him this ridiculous response and he ran with it to prove that he knew Haggard is the honest one. Please, even Haggard admitted he met me. How stupid.”
Chazonator continues to proclaim that Jones’ email is Jones’ confession that he lied about his relationship with Haggard.
What is most curious about this give and take is that it reveals a faction within the gay community that remains hostile toward Mike Jones for coming forward about the relationship. But what has Jones done to deserve the hostility?
“People forget why I exposed him,” Jones wrote me in an email. “Not because he was ranting about gays, but because he was a hypocrite. And he still is, in my opinion, since he still opposes gay marriage. He can break one of the Ten Commandments, not once but several times with different guys, and still enjoy the benefits of marriage. What a lucky man. Should gays be so lucky to marry the one they love and be totally devoted.”