He might have had weekly conference calls with the White House and led a faithful flock of 14,000 at the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but not everyone is buying scandal-plagued pastor Ted Haggard‘s latest sermon. Particularly the independent lying expert consulted by Radar.
Haggard, the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, is stepping down from his post—not because he had a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute named Mike Jones and used methamphetamine, he says, but because it’s hard to do a job effectively when there’s a male prostitute out there who says you had sex with him for three years and used methamphetamine. Haggard, who is featured prominently in the scary documentary Jesus Camp (but has disavowed the film about pint-size zealots), announced plans to take a temporary leave of absence from his duties Thursday afternoon, even as his fellow hypocrites, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, continued to defend him.
“It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man’s accusation,” said Dobson. (Well, not quite: Jones has been offering to back up his allegations with voicemails and a letter from Haggard.)
Haggard’s whole shtick smells rotten to Kevin Hogan, an internationally renowned expert on lying who has written a dozen books on body language, influence, and persuasion and worked with Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, CNN, the New York Times, and the BBC, among others. Radar pointed him toward a video of Haggard denying his affair with the hooker to get an expert’s take on his tale.