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Megachurch pastor named NAE president

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Minnesota megachurch pastor has been named president of the National Association of Evangelicals, nearly a year after former president Ted Haggard resigned in scandal.

The Rev. Leith Anderson, 62, has been interim president since Haggard's fall in November 2006 and held the job before Haggard's tenure. The NAE board, at a meeting here Oct. 11, voted unanimously to make the position permanent.

Anderson, 62, has not been as outspoken about politics as his predecessor but is among a generation of evangelical pastors seeking to broaden the movement's tent, including speaking out about climate change.

"Leith Anderson is a man of astute mind and has a wealth of experience the NAE needs," Israel Gaither, national commander of the Salvation Army and NAE executive committee member, said in a statement. "In my view he is just the right leader for the NAE for this critical time."

Anderson is senior pastor of 5,000-member Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb. He also is the author of eight books and the radio voice of Faith Matters, which is heard on Christian stations nationwide.

The NAE claims 45,000 member churches and 30 million members from 60 Christian denominations. Haggard resigned as president and was fired from his Colorado Springs church after a former male prostitute alleged a three-year cash-for-sex relationship. Haggard acknowledged undisclosed "sexual immorality."