Televangelist Jim Bakker has had a chequered history. His career started with the dreadful Pat Robertson, and he had a lot to do with making him so popular. Originally, he was a strong proponent of the prosperity gospel and at one point was said to be receiving US$1 million/day. He then had a dramatic fall from grace which ended with him in prison and his first wife, the well-known (late) Tammy Bakker divorcing him and marrying a former colleague.
According to Wikipedia, he paid hush money of US$279,000 to a women after she accused him of raping her. An investigation into his finances by the Charlotte Observer resulted in a grand jury probe. As a result, he served five years of what was originally a 45 year sentence for several counts of fraud and conspiracy, and he still owes the IRS (US-equivalent of IRD) around US$6,000,000.
The original sentence was reduced because it was said the judge took against Bakker for making Christians look bad. He made a comment in his ruling to this effect and it was said to be evidence of personal animus.
Wikipedia provides this quote from his book I Was Wrong, in which he also said that prison was the first time he’d read the Bible in full:
The more I studied the Bible, however, I had to admit that the prosperity message did not line up with the tenor of Scripture. My heart was crushed to think that I led so many people astray. I was appalled that I could have been so wrong, and I was deeply grateful that God had not struck me dead as a false prophet!
According to him, his focus is now End Times and Survivalism and he’s a new man. He’s written three books on the subject. The titles show his new focus: Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse, The Refuge: The Joy of Christian Community in a Torn-Apart World, and Time Has Come: How to Prepare Now for Epic Events Ahead.
Quite frankly, I don’t believe in his remorse though. I watched only fifteen minutes of The Jim Bakker Show, but he still looks like a huckster to me.
In the short portion of his show I saw, Bakker, his wife, and five others were spreading the glory of ‘Silver Solution Lozenges’.
They started by talking about the 1918 ‘flu epidemic, which they said was bird flu, and how many it killed. Then they moved to a recent press release from the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control) which they said stated that the ‘flu season this year was worse than last year. They made a direct link between the two events as if millions of deaths from ‘flu were imminent.
One of the panelists, Dr Sherrill Sellman, then states that the ‘Silver Solution Lozenges’ had been tested on bird ‘flu and killed it to oohs, aahs, and applause from the crowd.
They then went on to ‘Super Juice’. Dr Sellman touted this juice as being particularly good for people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, among other things.
“That’s so good to know, I love that,” gushes Lori Bakker.
A bottle of the juice is free with a minimum donation of US$40 to the ministry. But wait, there’s more (as Suzanne Paul would say). A donation of US$100 will get you four bottles of the juice.
“Wow,” says Lori, “That’s amazing.” Because she didn’t know the offer was coming, of course!
There’s more on the Jim Bakker Show website, and don’t miss the US$77 deals! Why $77? It’s Jim’s 77th birthday.
It get really angry seeing people, especially sick and vulnerable people, being shilled like this. (Is Dr Sherrill Sell-man her real name?)
Supporting Donald Trump
Bakker and his cohort are strong Donald Trump supporters. They believe that it was the intervention of God that brought Trump to the presidency of the United States.
On 19 January this bizarre offering was broadcast on Bakker’s TV show.
“They Want to Kill Trump … They Want to Kill Their Babies”
The clip above starts off like this.
Jim Baker: We’re seeing the warfare between good and evil. … Everything that’s going on right now is good and evil. All the political war – they want to kill Trump. You know why? Because they want to have sin! They want to kill their babies! A million women are getting ready to march on Washington DC right after the inauguration so that they can kill their babies. I’m telling you people, it’s in your Bible …
At this point Bakker grabs the Bible his wife passes to him and waves it around. His speech becomes all but incoherent as he contemplates what he believes the Women’s March represents. He manages to calm himself again though, with the help of the Bible he clutches. He slams it down on the desk with the words.
Jim Bakker: A million women march for the right to kill their babies. Women don’t do that if it’s normal! Women fight to save their babies! That’s natural.
Applause breaks out.
Bakker hasn’t finished though.
Jim Bakker: You wanna know why I know that Donald Trump is born again? Because I talked personally to Paula White. And Paula White has personally prayed with him. Not just him, the family. And she ministers to them through their trials. How many years has it been Lori?
Lori Bakker: It must be fifteen at least.
Jim Bakker: Fifteen years, preparing him to be president of the United States. Come on. Stop your judging. Just say, God, you take that, you take it God. You judge ’em all. And you can let God handle it. God’s a big guy.
Seriously, I really think that if there was a God, or at least one who interfered in human events, he could have found a much better and more worthy representative than Donald Trump. A God who can do no better than Trump is really not very impressive.
A Trump Dynasty
Then the panel and audience go into paroxysms of joy about the possibility that we’re looking at the start of a Trump dynasty.
Zach Drew:You know we’re looking way in the future … you’ve heard of the Bush Dynasty. Maybe we’ll see a Trump Dynasty. … Some of the people that are really connected to the Trump family have even told me that Eric Trump is a firm believer in Jesus. So what is the Lord planning? Exciting times.
Pastor Carl Gallups: I was just going to say, tagging onto that, I’ve been thinking along those lines. That’s why I think the demonic power represented in the flesh in the globalist community are freaking out because of what he possibly represents not only in his own family, but think of this.
So he goes in, so we’re just talking humanly and politically but at Times End very spiritually, so if he goes in four years, and he’s appointing Supreme Court judges and federal courts, and you’ve probably heard about the 9th District Court of Appeals that there are judges getting ready to retire off of there, so that’s the most liberal federal court system in America. He could re-appoint and change the whole, the whole atmosphere of the federal courts.
But he could do that in four years; what if he goes in for eight? And what if Pence comes in behind him for four years, or eight years? That could be sixteen years. What if he puts in people in his own family?
They’re watching this, and they’re watching the building of the wall, doing away with Obamacare, and the Rule of Law returning, and fighting abortion, [the crowd breaks into cheers and applause] and all of these things could go on for years and years and years …
Rick Joyner Says Women’s March Was ‘A Blatant Manifestation Of The Jezebel Spirit’
Bakker isn’t the only one of course. Rick Joyner thinks Trump is a threat to the “Jezebel spirit” that’s taken over “so many women in America”. He goes on, clearly with no recognition of irony, about crudeness of language, worship of celebrity, and other such things that many of us see best represented in Trump himself.
Trump Critics “Look Demon Possessed”
Now, their delusion has increased by another order of magnitude. Right-Wing Watch brings us this clip from 24 January in which Bakker informs viewers he can actually see demons coming out of the eyes of Trump critics.
Jim Bakker: I watch a lot of news because I’m trying to find out what’s going on. Have you ever looked into the eyes of some of these people? Even the Republicans that are so mean right now. Did you ever see so many mean Republicans? … I’m telling you, there’s some people that I’m concerned that are demon-possessed. I mean they’re just going crazy!
Rick Wiles: Yes.
Bakker: … They look, their eyes like demons coming out of ’em.
Wiles: Satan won the war, Satan won World War II.
Bakker: I think we’re in the war. I think we’re in the, the, the, the great battle of the, the, Anti-Christ.
Baker: I believe the spirit of Anti-Christ. And I’m tellin’ ya, there’s a warfare in the heaven right now.
Wiles: Yes, yes.
Baker: And, and, I’ll tell you want. The Church – we used to sing ‘Church Triumphant’ you know, and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’. And I’ll tell you, I have never seen the Church step up like this, so dramatically, that it’s literally turning a nation around.
The Problem is Religion
This origin of the delusions of these people is, of course, religion. There are of course many good religious people, and many who are inspired to do good because of religion. However, because of religion they believe in things for which there is no proof, like demons, and their imagination takes over from there.
Further, people can be persuaded to do some pretty awful things because of religion. Over the centuries millions have been tortured and killed just for believing in a different version of the same god, or worshiping the same god in a different way.
Currently, one of the biggest threats on the planet is because a group of extremist Muslims want to wipe everyone off the face of the earth who doesn’t share not only their religion, but their version of that religion.
If you enjoyed reading this, please consider donating a dollar or two to help keep the site going. Thank you.
Well, thanks, I guess . . . ! I am just mortified by the fact that hucksters like Bakker are still stealing from the gullible. But, then, we have the huckster-in-chief grabbing whatever he can in D.C. It is, frankly, very scary and I appreciate your fortitude in analyzing and compiling these materials for our edification . . . good on you!!!
Thanks Ann. I don’t know how he can get away with making so many clearly false claims. I hope someone in his state reports him and gets him investigated.
As painful as it is to watch these clips, it is necessary to know what’s going on with these people. Fucking hell, I too, can’t believe that Bakker, that snake-oil salesman, is still hoodwinking yet more people.
Just listening to them, you know two things: no education, high belief. A deadly combination.
And with Betsy DeVos in charge of education, things can only get worse. People might learn the basics in her schools, and perhaps even learn them well. What a good education gives you though is critical thinking skills, and that’s something that religious schools in particular aren’t very good at for obvious reasons.
May we try applying a little critical thinking to this comment?
The USA has more than 23,000 largely autonomous religious schools. They operate under a wide variety of religious and educational philosophies. What possible basis, besides personal prejudice, would there be for making the sweeping generalization that these schools fail to develop critical thinking skills in their students? In what sense is that conclusion obvious”? Where are the data?
In you teach children to accept a God based on faith, you teach them to accept things without evidence. As I said, religious schools are often very good at the basics – in my experience they’re better than other schools, but that is not evidence it’s anecdotal.
Anytime you teach children to pray for an answer, for example, that’s setting a bad example. You rather need to teach them how to find the answer and how to evaluate evidence.
Those who are taught to accept the word of a pastor, priest, etc without questioning it are being sent down a dangerous road. At the extreme end it leads to those cases where children are abused and don’t report it. It also means that it someone like Jim Bakker comes along they’re more likely to accept what he says as true because he speaks with the authority of his office as a religious leader.
Children who are taught to think critically are more likely to question the worst in our society like Bakker and not accept the rubbish he spouts. If they are religious they’re more likely to be attracted to those religions that use their place in society to do good.
I’m agreeing with you on the value of critical thinking. So (taking the USA for example), of the roughly 23,000 religious schools, what fraction explicitly teach critical thinking skills? How does this compare with other schools?
How do the roughly five million students enrolled in religious schools perform when tested on critical thinking skills, as compared with peers?
Study: Religious children are less able to distinguish fantasy from reality http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-28537149
After reading the so-called “study” and putting on my critical thinking cap, I would summarize it thusly: In one of America’s most liberal and irreligious cities, a “study” observed two kinds of five year olds: those with normal parents and active, healthy imaginations; and those with atheist parents and tragically diminished imaginations.
I did not believe in demonic possession before last weekend, but after watching the various Sore Loser parades, I would have to say Bakker may be on to something.
Good to hear you admit God is a product of the imagination.
I did not believe in demonic possession before last weekend, but after watching the various Sore Loser parades, I would have to say Bakker may be on to something.
And I imagine you believe that all the Tea Party parades were filled with righteous people possessed by the god. Republicans and their double standards…never ceases to amaze.
And to second Heather, it’s good to hear you’re at least honest about the god being a figment of the imagination.
Imagination precedes aspiration — whether it be a better life, world peace, or a hole in one. God is our aspiration par excellence, so it is hardly surprising that we imagine Him.
If you read the “study”, it’s clear that what really is being studied is imagination, a capacity that’s quite unsurprising to observe in a healthy five year old. But at age five, the variable certainly is not critical thinking.
You aspire to the God you imagine? I’m genuinely curious, not being rude, I don’t understand what that means. Could you explain?
Imagination is essential to being human. Governed by reason, it allows us to see things that are not yet fully realized, but that nonetheless are real. For example, most people can only imagine what it’s like to walk on the moon, yet walking on the moon is a real phenomenon. Or, one can only imagine what it’s like to live on Mars, yet that is another phenomenon decidedly within the realm of reality (albeit in the future). In a crudely analogous way, it is not surprising that we rely on imagination when we try to contemplate God, Who is beyond human perception and language.
To the extent that my aspirations are oriented toward good, then my deepest desire is to know and love what is good, and to show it in the world. Thus the ultimate object of our most authentic aspirations is God, Whom we take to be goodness itself.
I agree imagination is essential and I think it’s part of what makes us human. Every theory a scientist comes up with comes from their imagination.
Imagining the world as a better place and imagining what we can do to make it that way are also, imo, good things, and naturally I’m right with you there.
I just don’t see why God or a god is needed. The sort of ground of being God that you imagine is good. It’s more a deist type being – the sort of god your founding fathers (those that believed in a god) had in mind. I have no issue with that sort of god. If all believers believed in that sort of god I think things would mostly be fine.
The problem is, that’s not the sort of god most people imagine. The God of the Bible/Torah/Qur’an, for example, is real to His followers and has to be worshiped and followed the way they interpret in whatever religion they follow and it creates an enormous lot of hate and conflict. Imo, leaving God or gods out of the equation, teaching our kids ethics, to be kind, understanding, accepting etc would make the world a better place.
Throw him in the lions den. Isn’t what the Romans used to do with Christians? Too bad they didn’t finish the job.
I’m not going to endorse violence, but I certainly understand the sentiment behind your comment. The damage these people do to others is enough to drive just about anyone to extremes in order to stop them.
And the Romans were doing what the same thing as the Inquisition, or DAESH, or the Saudi or Iranian or North Korean governments do. They really believed that the Christians, in worshiping a different god, or refusing not to worship the Roman gods as well, were damaging society. They were going to bring the wrath of the gods down on them. The Christians had to be punished to save everyone else.
These days, going from many gods to a single god is seen as progress, but actually it was the opposite. Before monotheism came along, new gods were just added to the local pantheon and people got along pretty well. It was only when a god supposedly gave the order that he or she wanted to dominate an area that problems were caused. With monotheism, there was a new intolerance. In secular countries where people can worship as they want or not at all, we’ve sort of moved back to the more tolerant times of polytheism and it works better.
In the recent Sam Harris interview with Lawrence Wright I was struck by something Wright said about the lack of options for belief in countries in the Middle East. It goes against human nature. It got me thinking that we probably have just as many people attracted to extremist forms of religious worship in Western societies, but they don’t have to join groups like DAESH to get their fix so they don’t go around murdering people.
Sorry, I ended up waffling a bit there! I’ve probably frightened you off ever commenting again!!! 🙂
I haven’t watched all the clips here yet, but must say: Is this a blast from the past! I followed Jim and Tammy in stupefied amazement during their heyday. Wondered what happened to him. Now I know. “Huckster” is the word. He was born an opportunistic huckster and he’ll die one. And, ha ha, two years ago, according to the Daily Mail, JB was hawking survivalist paraphernalia, “everything from padded clothing to buckets of beans to enemas.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2752391/Jailed-televangelist-accused-rapist-Jim-Bakker-business-hawking-survivalist-kits-including-padded-clothing-buckets-beans-enemas.html. There was a “Time of Trouble Beans” offer for 3,000 bucks. With all those beans, one would need an enema kit (and a gas mask). So he’s gotten a bit more trendy; but still, colloidal silver and expensive super juice scams have been milked for quite awhile.
Of course, he’d cash in and want to jump on the Trump bandwagon and ride Trump’s coattails. And judging from less than a week of Trump’s presidency, it certainly seems as if the apocalypse will draw nigh under his reign (and a reign it is — the rein of a thin-skinned, short-fingered, self-deluded autocrat, who’s destroying everything in his path), which should help sell JB’s End Times message (and more snake oil) to the credulous — though I’m referring to some kind of non-religious environmental/political global disaster triggered by DJT’s scorched-earth policies. But if he’s preaching End Times theology, what’s the need for his snake oil? Who cares about staying healthy by downing Super Juice and colloidal silver, when Jesus is coming?
When I visited the website, I came across a segment by one Josh Peck, “a Christian author and biblical researcher, author of “Quantum Creation: Does the Supernatural Lurk in the Fourth Dimension?” So they’re also into quantum physics! Land sakes.
If one has never seen “The Eyes of TaMMy Fae,” a documentary about JB’s late wife, I highly recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4LTEmEVWXg. Pop some popcorn, grab something to wet the whistle, kick back and enjoy. Off topic, but after this, I’d suggest watching the documentary about Imelda Marcos, “Imelda, Power Myth Illusion,” but only snippets on Youtube. Worth seeing in its entirety, though. They’re of a piece.
He’s still selling the survivalist stuff too. I noticed there was currently a special offer for a “no fuel” generator on one of the clips. That intrigued me so I checked it out. It does have fuel of course – it’s solar powered. I guess in Bakker’s mind, or to the education-limited solar energy doesn’t count as fuel?
I’ll check out the doco on Tammy on the weekend – sounds interesting.
I voted for Obama an jimmy carter.I am 62 who is this man that can say as a Democrat I can’t be a christian. I’m poosseed wow no wonder mybwife gets mad at me.this president is a tyrant.he is the lowest form of life.he is causing so much division.he is the devil.Jim Bob you guys can’t keep yourself from begging for money
I agree Dave. The worst thing, is Jim Bakker isn’t even unusual. There are several others out there just as bad and worse. I saw one recently complaining about Trump’s latest pick for the Supreme Court. He’s decided to trust the pick in the meantime, because he trusts Trump. However, he thinks Kavanaugh can’t be a good man because he talked so much about his mother and he’s only got daughters. Apparently, real men have sons and preferably only sons.
Here’s my tweet about him: https://twitter.com/HeatherHastie/status/1017180268858204160
A good site to keep an eye on in you want to know about people like this is Right Wing Watch: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/