Jim and Tammy Faye.
The Bakkers were one of America’s best-known couples in the 1980s. The Christian television ministry they created, the “Praise The Lord Club” — or PTL — made them both ostentatiously wealthy.
But they didn’t see the trouble that was coming.
Tammy Faye was widely mocked and ridiculed for her excessive hair and makeup.
Jim Bakker was caught in a sex scandal.
And eventually allegations of fraud sent Jim Bakker to prison in 1989. Tammy Faye divorced him in 1992, and married Roe Messner.
In 2003 I talked with Tammy Faye about a book she wrote called “I Will Survive .. and You Can, Too!”
For a while in the late ’80s it sure looked like the other guy was winning. Public scandal, ridicule, disgrace, humiliation. The Bakkers hit a low point.
And the country moved on to other scandals, other scapegoats, other targets. And Tammy Faye Messner forged on — she even put recipes in that book we talked about.
But what really struck me, during our whole time together that day, was how incredibly upbeat Tammy Faye was.
By the way, Jim Bakker wrote his own book in 1996, which he called “I Was Wrong.” I interviewed him that year — I’ll put that interview up on an upcoming episode of this podcast.