Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second Colorado evangelical resigns over gay sex

Second Colorado evangelical resigns over gay sex

DENVER (Reuters) - A second Colorado evangelical leader in little over a month has resigned from the pulpit over a scandal involving gay sex, church officials said on Tuesday.

Paul Barnes has resigned from the 2,100-member Grace Chapel, a church he founded in suburban Denver, said church spokeswoman Michelle Ames.

Barnes' resignation follows last month's admission by high-profile preacher Ted Haggard that he was guilty of unspecified "sexual immorality" after a male prostitute went public with their liaisons.

Many evangelical Christians view homosexuality as a sin, though some are more strident on the issue than others.

Ames said Barnes told his congregation in a videotaped message on Sunday he had "struggled with homosexuality since he was five years old."

Barnes was confronted by an associate pastor of the church who received an anonymous phone call from a person who heard someone was threatening to go public with the names of Barnes and other evangelical leaders who engaged in homosexual behavior, Ames said.

Barnes, who is married with two grown daughters, then confessed to church elders.

Haggard had been a vocal opponent of gay marriage.

He stepped down as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life "mega-church" in Colorado Springs.