Tammy Bakker – turning faith into a cash register

The life of the late Tammy Faye Bakker, a peculiarly American phenomenon – a brassy blonde, over-made-up, money-generating televangelist – has been turned into a bio-pic starring Jessica Chastain. She rose out of poverty, the daughter of Pentecostal preachers to make millions with her first husband Jim, until he fell from grace into prison, convicted on multiple counts of fraud. She divorced him when he was inside and married a contractor who built megachurches, who was later convicted of bankruptcy fraud and landed in jail as well.

  She was born 7 March 1942 3.27 am International Falls, Minnesota, and had a 3rd house sharp-witted Pisces Sun in an expansive, over-confident square to Jupiter in chatty Gemini and trine an intense Scorpio Moon.  Her Moon was on the focal point of a Fixed – and clearly acquisitive – T Square to a 2nd house Venus opposition an 8th house Pluto. Her Moon would design her to interface with the public and her 8th house Pluto would give her influence. She also had Saturn Uranus in Taurus in her 5th giving her an ability to organise ‘entertainment.’ Her Neptune fittingly was in the religious 9th in a creative trine to Uranus and a publicity-seeking trine to Mars.

  Her 8th house Pluto would also arguably attract her to the dark side and to partners who wanted to wield power and money.

  Scientologist Ron Hubbard’s thought that the best way to make a million was to invent a religion had more than a smidgeon of truth in it where the USA is concerned anyway.

8 thoughts on “Tammy Bakker – turning faith into a cash register

  1. It will be interesting to see how Jessica Chastain treats her character. Although Tammy Faye was over the top, there was something endearing about her. She had a ministry for women in prison and did a great deal to help them. All the time she was on television, she struggled with drug addiction. Her ex-husband, Jim is back to the same charlatan tricks, but selling drugs instead of religion.

    Again she fits into American extremism (rags to riches story) and we’re a culture of extremism in so many ways. Talk about the power of corporations and other fake things — many prominent Americans fell for and invested in Theranos, WeWork (another hot stock which was bogus) and we fell for the Kardashians. There have been plenty of charlatan types preaching on TV and I don’t think Billy Graham behaved as they did, Maggy, which is why his reputation never soured. So many of the televangelists are hypocrites, but I don’t see Tammy Faye as a hypocrite. She was delusional, but I saw her as real and not insincere, like so many other televangelists who fell in reputation.

  2. Totally agree Virgoflake….extreme? moi? The Eyes of Tammy Faye? what does that mean, who she, please explain….seems all that’s necessary is these days to come up with a good short slogan (5 words must have been a push) pimp yourself, raise the eyes, glory halleluja! and now hand over the bank card in gratitude…….so was it ever….

    • She was known for her always over-the-top excessive eye makeup — and her sleaze. Very typical of greedy televangelists. I grew up on the edge of the south, prime prowling country for these conmen, and I never got it either.

      • Nicole, was Billy Graham the same or in a different league? He was so famous but did he also get called the same? or was he less greedy? It like hypnotism making people feel he’s ‘so good’ they give money but where does it really go….? surely a good turn for someone else – not advertised – is a far better method….

    • From a piece on the make-up for the movie.
      Tammy Bakker – was known for her over-the-top makeup, tattooed lip and eye liner, perpetual tan, and iconic lashes. Her credo was “Honey I am going to my grave with my eyelashes and my makeup on.”
      “Tammy Faye thought she looked good and didn’t understand why people made fun of her makeup. It really made her happy, and when she felt low, she just added more.”
      She tattooed her brows, eyes, and lips with permanent liner and used mascara for her signature lashes. “Tammy Faye would put mascara on her false eyelashes and would often sleep with them on at night and not wash her face. In the mornings, she would just add new ones!”

  3. As a Brit, Religion in America absolutely baffles me. In the U.K. TV evangelicals like the Bakers wouldn’t last 5 minutes as we would be incapable of taking any of it seriously. So grateful that I live in a sceptical, godless society.

    • USA here. We have our religious quacks. You have your Brexit quacks. It’s all the same. Lying for $$$ in your own pocket. Religion here has turned political rather than spiritual and has a definite negative effect on our country’s cultural discourse. We thankfully lack your aristocracy (and it’s lies) but we’ve created our own impervious elite – the very wealthy.

    • Religion in America absolutely baffles a lot of Americans as well, @Virgoflake. For me, modern America is easier to understand when I consider that our country was largely founded by corporations (The London Company/The Virginia Company of London, for example), religious extremists fleeing persecution in England and elsewhere (Puritans, for example), and people willing to sign on to these ventures–often losing their lives seeking opportunities they did not have in their home countries.

      All of this was, of course, going on when England was dealing with its own Civil War and various subsequent conflicts with other countries–some of which involved proxy conflict on then colonial soil–and tragedies such as the plague pandemic of 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666.

      That religious extremism, deference to corporations, and willingness to risk everything for an often impossible dream of something better took root here and flourished over the centuries. While these characteristics have become perceived as uniquely American in the modern era, they’re part of a shared past. Save for selling her brand of religion on TV to a credulous audience at a time when few women did so, Tammy Faye is no different than many religious figures that have risen to prominence throughout that shared past and into the modern era.

      To be clear, I am not and never was a fan of Tammy Faye and never understood her appeal. What I do find most remarkable about everything to do with Tammy Faye is the sexism and misogyny that colors most comments and infotainment about her. The often vitriolic focus on her makeup and wardrobe always defines her more than the events in which she participated. And her former husband, Jim Bakker, as much or more of a charlatan and huckster as Tammy Faye ever was, receives little attention for his role, the crimes that led to his incarceration, or his post-prison chicanery. As recently as June of 2021, Jim Bakker and his company, Morningside Church Productions, Inc., were fined over $150,000 for selling a fake Covid cure.

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