- 3 Nov 06, 10:18 PM
You probably hadn't heard of Ted Haggard - "Pastor Ted" - 48 hours ago.
He's the head of the National Association of Evangelicals - or he was, 48 hours ago.
Leading the NAE didn't make him a household name in America, but since about one in 10 Americans belongs to a church associated with his umbrella movement, his name was very well known in the country's most famous evangelical household: the White House.
And the White House will be high on the list of those wondering what it means that Ted Haggard's career is now in tatters over gay-sex-and-drugs allegations.
Most immediately, it bodes ill for his shopping-mall-sized, 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, says James White, a retired - and much more liberal - pastor in the same town.
"When the shepherd is struck, the sheep scatter," Pastor White says in his Biblical baritone.
It is hard to gauge the broader effect on the elections on Tuesday, says John C Green, an expert on religion and politics at the Pew Forum in Washington.
It may doom a ban on gay marriage for which Mr Haggard had been campaigning in Colorado. Mr Haggard's accuser, Mike Jones, says he hopes so - and supporters of gay marriage will certainly be cackling loudly over the scandal.
But nationwide the impact may be smaller. Some evangelicals will be left wondering who they can trust, and stay home in despair. Others will be furious at the attack on their leader and be even more motivated to vote, Mr Green says.
Incidentally, it is not only evangelicals who should be disheartened by the fall of "Pastor Ted".
Within the evangelical movement, he has been a leading voice for broadening the Christian agenda to include subjects like the environment and Darfur - positions many liberals would embrace. With his fall, Mr Green says, "one of the major moderate leaders will be removed".
Richard Greene is the BBC News website's Washington reporter
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