Well, not exactly. New Life officials say the church paid Haggard and his family more than $300,000 in salary and benefits for the 14 months following his dismissal. Haggard says the figure was lower. Besides, what he most needed was personal support, he says. New Life's financial generosity, he told me in an interview, "doesn't replace Christian fellowship. It doesn't replace kindness. It doesn't replace the relationships that our children had had all their lives." The church says it was also overseeing a "restoration" process for him but that Haggard backed out, which Haggard denies. (New Life did not respond to a request for comment.)
More recently, New Life has released Haggard from the "exile" stipulations of his contract, and he and his family have returned to Colorado Springs. The church and its founder are on speaking terms again, and its current pastor wrote in a blog post that he's "hopeful the relationships that were so badly damaged can be redeemed and restored."
It's the kind of happy ending that will provoke groans from many outside of Colorado Springs. Another huckster evangelist forgiven by the flock he hoodwinked. To her credit, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi tells us otherwise.