If your memory goes back far enough, then yes, this is “that” Jim Bakker, the PTL guy, and if you have no idea what I’m on about, then you better pop a foam mat on the floor, because your jaw will soon be bouncing off it.
OK, so as I write this, it is Sunday, and so it is now time for a sermon from Rev Jim Bakker.
Rev Baker Claims it was all “Witches”
On a recent episode of his TV show, the daily Jim Bakker Show which is broadcast from Studio City Cafe in Branson, Missouri, he issued a claim that his entire downfall was due to a conspiracy of witches …
Side note: Ramirez is a con artist who simply cobbled up a story that he then used to beguile and swindle rather a lot of gullible people.
What exactly did happen to Jim Bakker?
The “When I got out of prison” line should be a small clue that this is going to be really juicy.
Jim is perhaps best remembered for the PTL Club (That’s Praise The Lord Club) and was one of the more successful TV Evangelists from the 1980s. It all grew into a very very large enterprise and included a theme park and also a satellite system that was deployed to beam his religious scam into about 100 TV stations. There is a note that they attributed much of this success to their acceptance of anybody, any variation of belief, and did not discriminate in any way, but I don’t see any citations that verify that.
It was of course your classic religious con, and they were raking in about $1 Million each and every week … tax free. You would think that his excessive and very conspicuous consumption of the proceeds might have been a clue, but no, people kept on donating as they do.
Not everybody was that gullible, and so the Charlotte Observer newspaper showed a lot of interest and carefully went through all their fund-raising shenanigans in the mid 1980s, and that eventually led to the authorities showing an interest.
So what did it all reveal?
- He sold $1000 lifetime membership to tens of thousands of people that entitled them to a 3 night free stay annually at his theme parks hotel … but did not have a hotel that had sufficient capacity to hold them all.
- The money that was supposedly raised to build and operate this theme park went into his pocket, he kept $3.4 million for himself.
- He kept two sets of books to hide what was going on
- He paid $279,000 as a pay off to silence Jessica Hahan. She was a 21 year old church secretary that had been drugged and then raped by Bakker.
What happened to Him?
In 1988 he was indicted on eight counts of mail fraud, 16 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy, then found guilty of the lot and was sentenced to 45 years in jail and fined $500,000.
In 1994 he was granted parole.
He still to this day owes the US Tax Authorities $6 million, and so he needs $$$. It should come as no surprise to learn that he is back in the TV evangelist game.
Claims of Witches
When faced with this latest claim – that he holds no responsibility for what happened and that it was all the fault of witches – then we are faced with a rather easy choice here …
- Option 1 – He is telling the truth
- Option 2 – He is pulling yet another con as part of an effort to try and clean up his image in the eyes of all his rather gullible financial donors.
Given that it is a well-established fact that he has a long track record for fraud and lying about it all, it is not exactly a huge leap for anybody to work out what is really going on here.
However, there are also rather a lot of incredibly gullible people who will go with Option 1, and that is perhaps both funny and yet at the same time quite tragic as well.