Monday, February 21, 2011

Pop History Moment: Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart Disgraced


On this day in 1988 Jimmy Swaggart - at the time America's leading television evangelist - resigned from his ministry with the Assemblies of God after revelations he had been consorting with a prostitute named Debra Murphree; she later revealed that, while he had been a paying customer of hers, they'd never engaged in sexual conduct, although later still she failed a polygraph test fairly thoroughly. Their illicit relationship came to light after Swaggart's condemnations of fellow disgraced televangelists Jim Bakker and Marvin Gorman, following which Gorman hired a private detective to follow Swaggart to the Travel Inn on Airline Highway in New Orleans. Because that's what Jesus would do.

'I have sinned against you, my Lord,' Swaggart tearfully confessed to his congregation, 'And I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God's forgiveness.' The fact that he should be entitled to forgiveness when so many far more blameless people had been subject to the excoriation of his myriad judgements didn't seem to strike him as ironic.

Despite the fact that the whole sordid mess exposed the hypocrisy and charlatanism of televangelism the profession still inexplicably flourishes...

share on: facebook

No comments: