A Colorado TV station reported last night that Rev. Ted Haggard, a major figure in the evangelical movement who has not hesitated to cross over into the arena of secular politics, allegedly had an ongoing sexual relationship with a gay former male escort.
Haggard denies it.
Haggard, the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, is one of the country's most prominent evangelical religious leaders, in part because of the very active role he has taken in national politics. Haggard is not as recognizable as James Dobson, who is also based in Colorado Springs, but Haggard is arguably just as influential within evangelical and conservative political circles, talking to President Bush or his advisers every Monday.
Last year Harper's ran a lengthy article featuring Haggard, and the magazine has helpfully posted the piece on its website today.
First Mark Foley, now Ted Haggard? It's hard to conjure up anything else that could further depress the turnout of conservative evangelicals.
Late Update: No mention of the Haggard story on Drudge. I thought sex and politics was Drudge's lifeblood. Maybe he's pretending not to notice this one. After all, you wouldn't want to demoralize the true believers at this late stage of the campaign.
Later update: I'm not the only one to notice a studied silence from our conservative brethren.