COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Former megachurch leader Ted Haggard's book-writing career could be on the line after losing his pulpit and reputation last year amid accusations that he patronized a male prostitute and bought drugs.
Haggard's 12 titles, which counseled readers on marital faithfulness and warned against sexual activities like pornography and prostitutes, have been taken off the shelves at the bookstore at New Life Church, which he founded 21 years ago in Colorado Springs.
Haggard was fired as senior pastor of the 14,000-member church in November, shortly after allegations surfaced that he maintained a three-year sexual relationship with a gay prostitute and had purchased methamphetamine. Haggard, who has said he never used drugs he bought and had only received massages from the man, also resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
"We haven't thought through plans for future works, but the fact of Ted's moral failure and dismissal doesn't necessarily negate the value of all his teachings," Associate Pastor Rob Brendle said recently. "But we also recognize the congregation is going through the process of grief, and we want to be sensitive to that. We also want to make clear there is a transition, and Ted is no longer part of the New Life staff."
Other booksellers are still selling Haggard's works, even though the titles have traditionally seen unspectacular sales and have never made it to the international Christian Bookseller's Association's top 50 list. The future of Haggard's books outside his former church was uncertain.
"I think it will depend on his reaction (whether he will repent). In the meantime, his books will die," Joan Hill, owner of Bible Discount in Commerce City. "The market is probably gone."
In 2004, Haggard had signed a multiple book deal with Colorado Springs based-WaterBrook Press, which had said in late November there were no decisions on Haggard's publishing future.
Don Pape, WaterBrook's former vice president and publisher, declined to comment on Haggard's current contract with the company, but said that contract contained a standard moral turpitude clause that canceled the publisher's obligations in the event of moral failures, ranging from infidelity to DUIs.
"He has devalued his message," Pape said.
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