- (Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten)
Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, says he will support Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in 2012.
“I am a Newt Gingrich fan partially because he models resurrection to me. He has been married three times, he has gone through his own infidelity, his own growth process, and his own repentance and renewal of faith so I trust him because of that,” Haggard told FOX 411.
Haggard, former pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado, was also one of former President George W. Bush’s biggest supporters during his campaign and served as Bush’s spiritual adviser.
“It is the heartbreak in life that makes us the people we want to be,” Haggard added, embracing Gingrich’s relationship faults, as other conservatives have relentlessly condemned them.
Haggard is no stranger to troubles in the media involving past relationships.
In 2006, Haggard resigned from all of his leadership positions after a male prostitute alleged that Haggard had been paying him for sexual favors for three years and had used crystal methamphetamine with him.
Haggard has repented and said he has experienced embarrassment, shame, and suffering as well as love, compassion and understanding following the scandal. And he has come out of it "a better man, a changed man," he told HLN’s Joy Behar in 2010.
"I see people differently," said Haggard, who now leads Saint James Church in Colorado Springs. "When I see people going through a struggle now, I'm not judgmental, I'm not critical. I want to be helpful and encouraging and so that's the way I see it now."
In his recent interview with FOX 411, Haggard said he started his own YouTube channel “where I can have my voice.”
“I had to be silent for two years after the scandal out of submission to the church, so there were all kinds of misinformation and misunderstanding out there for two years,” he said. “Now it has been five years and I am starting to address things myself so people can meet me and my ideas, rather than take what people said I believe.”
Haggard will star on the premiere episode of ABC’s hit series “Celebrity Wife Swap,” opposite actor Gary Busey.
“We became convinced that it would communicate hope to people," Haggard told FOX 411’s when asked why he agreed to the show.
"With so many people losing their homes and their jobs and families and so much turmoil going on right now, we thought with our story being the parents of a handicapped child and going through a scandal five years ago, that if people could actually see through the trauma that our family actually grew closer together.”
The show will air on Jan. 3.