#1 Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker: The Rocky Road of Evangelism01-12-2014, 12:35 AM
By Neil Vazquez / January 2, 2014
No celebrity couple captured the mercurial nature of American social mobility better than Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The pair evolved from department-store workers and Minneapolis Bible-college students into nationwide television stars and pop icons. Their meteoric rise to prominence, however, was mirrored by an equally stunning descent. In just a few short years, the Bakkers went from being the face of American evangelism to becoming mired in lawsuits and fraud charges. To commemorate Jim Bakker’s 74th birthday, DYR looks back at the Christ-tastic duo.
Like many American Dream stories, the Bakkers had humble roots. Jim and Tammy met while they were young students at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The pair married in 1961, and the following year moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they became instrumental in the success of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, the longest-running televangelist program in history. The Bakkers were known to bring a lighthearted touch to the gospels, employing puppets and songs to minister to young children.
Jim Bakker Interviews Colonel Sanders
They became so popular that the couple eventually started their own show, called The PTL Club (short for “Praise the Lord”). Apart from interviews with celebrities such as Colonel Sanders, Tammy Faye was specifically known for her open-minded brand of ministry. Throughout the early ’80s she was a lone voice of AIDS activism, and extremely tolerant of homosexuality.
However, by 1984 Jim Bakker was becoming involved in increasingly murky dealings, accepting $1,000 donations in exchange for “lifetime membership” to PTL. In 1987, The Charlotte Observer published an exposť on the Bakker clan, documenting a reported $3.4 million bonus Jim kept for himself. That same year, a secretary at his church, Jessica Hahn, came forward alleging Jim and another pastor had not only raped her, but also offered a bribe in the amount of $249,000 in exchange for her silence.
After that it was all over. Jim Baker stepped down as the head of PTL, replaced by the sultan of homophobia, Jerry Falwell. Donations to the church plummeted, and Falwell called Bakker “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.” In 1988 Jim was indicted on fraud charges and convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Following an appeal and resentencing, Bakker served only five years in a minimum-security facility. Though he escaped relatively unscathed, the evangelical pair eventually divorced in 1992.
01-16-2014, 05:29 PM
I always felt a little badly for Tammy Faye in the whole PTL downfall. I just don't think she was smart enough to understand the level of fraud her ex husband committed.
Jimbo, however, is at it again and doesn't even have anyone to keep him on track anymore. I find his show amusing, and his new wife to be very scary looking. Basically, he is selling prepper supplies on his show, under the pretences of preparing the faithful for the tribulation-powdered food, super-warm coats that look really funny, solar-powered generators, and so on. He is completely unrepentant about his past, and even uses his incarceration as an example of the persecution of Christians that is coming in the tribulation. He won't name names, but he mentions that there is one person who was behind it all, whom he trusted as a brother in Christ, but betrayed him. I'm guessing he means Jerry Falwell. He also either completely avoids or denies all the charges of his gay encounters with PTL staff, a reality that I think even Tammy Faye knew about.
Plus, since Lori Bakker is proud of repenting over the numerous abortions that she had as a young and unsaved woman, they are allegedly building "Lori's House For Babies" at Jim's new empire in Branson, MO. They show all this footage of a building that's been half-built since I discovered his show about a year ago.
I might really dislike Pat Robertson's politics, but I trust him in the sense that he's not bilking 700 Club members. When he gives numbers for what percentage of donations goes towared emergency disaster relief, for example, I believe him.
This is why I have nothing but disdain for any people who appear on Jim's show and refuse to take them seriously. The guy who wrote The Harbinger, for example, is on there all the time. So is some white-haired, bearded guy who thinks he's a prophet and predicts future newspaper headlines, usually about food shortages and subsequent riots in major American cities), and the people who produce the food he sells on the show. They spend most of the episodes discussing products, not Jesus.
01-16-2014, 05:42 PM
#4 Can I get an Amen and a $100 dollar bill?01-20-2014, 12:12 AM
Please give, give, give so that Jim54's East Texas Old Snake-handlers Home can live, live, live!
Thank you, Brother!I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
01-20-2014, 06:46 AM"The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end the people must choose and the people must help themselves" ~ JFK; from his famous inauguration speech (What Democrats sounded like before today's neo-Liberals hijacked that party)
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