The end of the 1980s was a bad time for TV preachers. One moment, men like the PTL Club's Jim Bakker and television's Jimmy Swaggart seemed bigger than life, supermen blessed with an ability to attract followers and money. The next instant, they were only men -- fragile, flawed and the butt of barroom jokes and newspaper cartoons. In many ways, it seemed like the beginning of the end for big-time TV religion.
I have been thinking of Christian Zionists lately, and whenever I do, the craziest, whackiest people start coming to mind. It was in the early part of the 80's I happen to catch Tammy and Jim Bakker's PTL Club on TV. I became a fan of sorts, like a fan of the Gong Show. The 1980's was big for bizarre Christian TV. I watched them all! Bizzario TV I called it.
Then wham...this big scandal strikes down the PTL. I was at an age when I had a natural affinity for the weird and whacky, I must have sensed that I was watching a train wreak. In a matter of weeks that I had been observing the PTL Club they were exposed: the air conditioned doghouse, the Liberace bling, only they were not gay musicians they were "Christians" taking money from people. I was surprised anyone was surprised! Just to look at them, what was the big surprise? Didn't people know where their money was going? I thought it was obvious and thought that sex and fraud came with the territory of TV evangelism. I thought people didn't care, or they liked it. So they paid for it.
I was also surprised to see Jerry Falwell, a porn addict, come out of the woodwork and the dirty trick he played on the Bakkers when they thought he came to stand by them, only to take advantage of the opportunity to loot them. Like the Bakkers, I figured that scum stuck together. But on the contrary. They competed against and sabatoged each other.
In 1986, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart began on-screen attacks against fellow televangelists Marvin Gorman and Jim Bakker. He uncovered Gorman's affair with a member of Gorman's congregation, and also helped expose Bakker's infidelity (which was arranged by a colleague while on an out-of-state trip). These exposures received widespread media coverage. Gorman retaliated in kind by hiring a private investigator to uncover Swaggart's own adulterous indiscretions with a prostitute. Swaggart was subsequently forced to step down from his pulpit for a year and made a tearful televised apology in February 1988 to his congregation, saying "I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God's forgiveness."
Swaggart was caught again by California police three years later in 1991 with another prostitute, Rosemary Garcia, who was riding with him in his car when he was stopped for driving on the wrong side of the road. When asked why she was with Swaggart, she replied, "He asked me for sex. I mean, that's why he stopped me. That's what I do. I'm a prostitute."
Jessica Hahn, the young "rape" victim of Jim Bakker, went on to pose for Playboy, took interview after interview, TV show after TV show. The one I actually watched she was slutty and doped up. She was on the show 'The View' recently fresh with face job and just as whacky as ever. Yes, I guess she would be old now. I was surprised to see her because I thought she was dead from an o.d. or something.
All this fake religion, fake Christians, fake Jews, fake Israel... even a kid knows it's a crock. It continues (Sarah Palin, John Hagee etc) they attach themselves to the enemies of the nation (Israel) and an all around sad testament to humanity. I don't pay attention to Christian Zionists/TV Evangelists anymore, bizarrio TV is no longer my thing. It's not funny anymore, I realize now the power and effect they have, as they make good employees of the power elite and it's depressing.