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all God’s chillun got issues

November 19, 2012

I posted recently about being rescued from a New Mexico snowstorm by a National

Guardsman named Sergeant Swaggart, a week or so after famous televangelist Jimmy

Swaggart couldn’t save himself from a sex scandal.


I knew that evangelists got caught up in seemy situations every now and again, but

I was surprised when Wikipedia confided in me that more than 50 had since the ’70’s.

Some of the names on its list didn’t ring a church bell.  Do you remember Neville

Johnson, Ian Bilby or Ergun Caner?  Me, neither.


Nor do I recollect Lonnie Frisbee or Peter Popoff, but their names are too silly not to

be mentioned here.


I do recall Marjoe Gortner, because he was the subject of the film Marjoe, which won

an Oscar in 1974 for best documentary feature.  Gortner made his bones as a child

preacher performing “miracles” for large donations.  He repented for these sins, though,

and took a film crew with him on a farewell tour.  Marjoe showed him doing the alleged

healings, then explaining the deceptions.


I bet we all remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.  Just in case we all don’t, let’s review:

Jim got into trouble for embezzlement and for boinking Jessica Hahn, she with the body

of a Playboy Playmate and the voice of a longshoreman.


Bakker tried to get off the hook by crying on TV more than Swaggart.  The first time I saw

Tammy Faye, she was doing some supplemental crying for him.  Her make-up, which I

believe she applied with a trowel, was running down her face and dripping on her blouse.

My first  thought was “Who is this demented clown?”


I still think that.


Popoff (his real name) rose to prominence in 1985 for his plan to smuggle Bibles past the

Iron Curtain by way of helium balloons.  But due to the evils of meteorological science,

the scheme never took off.  To cover for the scam, he staged a burglary of his office, then

tearfully pleaded for money on his TV show to repair the damage.


He was later debunked for his divine revelations.  It was actually much more local.  He

was using information gathered by his wife and others in the audience, then fed to him

electronically via an in-ear receiver.  He had to file for bankruptcy.


Melissa Scott swapped one adoring public for another when she gave up her career as

porn actress Barbie Bridges to marry Gene Scott, a televangelist from L.A. who used to

say things like “send me more money, I want to buy another racehorse”.


When Scott died, Melissa/Barbie used some of her inheritance to buy up copies of her

former performances away from the altar.  She claims to have taught herself twenty

languages to help her research of Hebrew and Aramaic religious texts.


I believe we can safely assume that she has excellent oral skills.





  1. Gordon permalink
    November 19, 2012 3:01 pm

    Interesting that the tags for today’s blog are “entertainment” and “gaming”. In all cases appropriate.

    • November 20, 2012 8:43 am

      When I press “Publish” on a post, WordPress gives me four or five options to add as tags. Sometimes they are utterly irrelevant or too generic to bother with, but those seemed to make sense.

  2. November 20, 2012 7:53 pm

    Other than Jimmy and Tammy Faye I do not recall the others and their issues, but I can tell you this story… True, it happend to me just this past sunday.
    My sister begged me to attend a new church that she wanted to go to. From the first I felt weird about it. I don’t know what it was, then the preacher started talking about stuff I never even heard of and I have heard plenty since I was raised with Southern Baptist.
    Anyway it just kept getting stranger and stranger and in the end, a man and the preacher started calling each other Liars….. Tempers flew and my sister, my son and I were among the 20 or so people that walked out. I have to say that… The preacher started it….
    I am a Christian, I do not toss my beliefs out on anyone, but so much has been said and done that it is no wonder I do not go to church anymore…. After Sundays experience it might be a while before I go to another…..

    • November 21, 2012 7:03 am

      It’s so very odd how vicious the alleged representatives of the Prince of Peace can be.

  3. December 1, 2012 8:20 pm

    Odd, yes. Lately, I heard a comment that made me sad from a girl growing up in a small Christian sect. She said it’s okay that species are going extinct, that God doesn’t want them to survive here anymore. I did comment that people are doing things to kill the animals, including killing the animals directly, implying that it might not be a good thing, but she just said God wants it that way. Wow.

    • December 3, 2012 9:35 am

      I can understand a child’s need for Absolute Truths, but she’s hearing it from adults who have to know better.

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