Her make-up and appearance was mocked and ridiculed on talk shows and in comedy routines across America. It hurt her feelings.
She and her ex-husband, televangelist Jim Bakker brought fame and fortune to a struggling religious snake named Pat Robertson and then they went on to build one of the biggest religious television empires with the PTL Club.
Then, they were disgraced by Jim’s one-time sexual encounter with an unstable, religious groupie named Jessica Hahn. That and the $279,000 that Hahn was paid to keep it silent went public in the late-1980s. That scandal was quickly followed by fraud indictments and a conviction that landed Jim Bakker in prison.
Through all of the physical appearance mockery, the pain of building and losing their televangelist empires, losing all their money, Bakker going to prison, and ultimately, the crumbling of their marriage and then divorce, Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner remained strong.
However, after an 11-year-battle with colon cancer, Tammy Faye lost the fight seven years ago today, July 20, 2007.
When she died, she only weighed 65 pounds and she had appeared on the “Larry King Live” show the night before.
I just read Tammy Faye’s book, “Telling It My Way” and it is a very touching book.
While I never made jokes about her make-up, I probably did make comments about it if the conversation came up. However, I never really followed Tammy and Jim Bakker because I never believed in television evangelism.
I believe that people can have a loving, strong relationship with God, just as I do, without the bureaucracy of church and organized religion.
After reading Tammy’s book, I sincerely believe that she loved God and was always faithful to his teachings.
I believe that there were a lot of unsavory financial dealings in the PTL Club and Jim Bakker’s Christian theme park, water park, and residential complex, Heritage USA.
I also believe that Tammy might have known more about what was going on than she let on in the book. However, she could have been oblivious to it, because she did come across as sweet, honest, and aloof. And, there’s nothing wrong with the aloof part. I know the feeling.
Check out this incredible visit to Roseanne’s show where she talked about her weight, her make-up, and her battle with cancer.
I really enjoyed the book and I’m glad that Tammy told Jim to move on with his life after he was released from prison. He has and he now has another television venture near Branson, Missouri.
One part of the book that really touched home with me was her belief that God loves all his children, which doesn’t come across in most religious preachings here in the U.S. or around the world.
When she made her big return to television in 1996 on the “Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show” before she was diagnosed with cancer and had to quit months later, Jim J. Bullock came out to her by telling her, “Tammy, I’m gay. Do you find that offensive? I know that you’re a Christian.”
In her book, she said she replied to Jim, “Jim J., when I look at people, I do not see gay or straight; all I see is the person. And I see a person that God loves, and that His son Jesus died on the cross for. So who am I to judge? I do not judge anyone anymore. I have been misjudged so many times — by people who either didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand the things that happened in my life. I know how it hurts to be judged. I don’t want to be a courtroom. I want to be a hospital.”
And, with this appearance on “The RuPaul Show”, you can tell she really believes it.
Her son, Jay, is a minister in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Revolution Church. Like his mother, he is very accepting to the LGBT community. If I’m ever in Minneapolis, I hope that I get chance to check out a sermon.
Tammy Faye never gave up on God, but through the worst of times, she did doubt him and asked him why. We all have done that.
Tammy Faye, your life on Earth gave you good times and bad times. I hope you enjoy being an angel in heaven.
It would have been a pleasure to have known you.