Bakker revealed on his program today that he and his wife Lori were in the White House on the day that Anthony Scaramucci was fired from his short stint as White House communications director, noting that it was not a coincidence that Scaramucci was let go at the moment when George O. Wood, who heads the General Council of the Assemblies of God, spoke out against “unnecessary swearing” during a meeting with White House staff.
"These days, Bakker speaks openly of his inglorious past (while still denying his guilt), and how he immersed himself in the word of God while ensconced in a minimum-security lockup, which he credits for his miraculous “restoration” and highly unlikely comeback story. His recent benefactor and—by all appearances—business partner, Crawford, is said to have invited Bakker and his wife to broadcast from his Branson redoubt to thank Bakker for saving his once-troubled marriage.
A savvy marketing move, as it turns out: Now a goodly chunk of Bakker’s endlessly looping show is devoted to promoting real estate rentals and sales at Morningside. Given its eerie similarity to the Heritage USA operation, one prays that Bakker’s involvement is closely vetted by lawyers and tax accountants to make sure he doesn’t again wind up doing crossword puzzles in an orange jumpsuit.
His newfangled hybrid of religion and retail—which one might fancifully dub a mutant strain of PTL and QVC—may call into question what percentage of Bakker’s enterprise is tax-free (under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code governing charitable organizations), and which is subject to federal tithing requirements. Although Bakker does occasionally tote and quote from the New Testament (which he also sells on his website, in various versions and color schemes), most of the broadcast is dedicated to hustling hard goods that can be actually bought for 50 cents on the dollar at competing survival-minded websites.
And according to a retired IRS investigator, customers/parishioners who “donate” funds in exchange for Bakker’s giant buckets of “creamy potato soup” and the like can write off only the amount exceeding the fair market value of the goods received. Those hoping to deduct the entire $9,660 purchase of, say, the Time of Trouble Italiano Marinara Offer (that’s seven years or 7,728 servings of pasta) should look again at the fine print. As for the taste? Well, you can watch a professional chef prepare and (attempt to) eat the stuff here.
Then again, if you bought such stuff for
less, you wouldn’t benefit from the daily parade of bug-eyed pessimists whom Bakker features on his show. One such guest, a rabbi named Jonathan Cahn, author of The Mystery of the Shemitah, regularly discusses end-time events, while hosting guided tours of Israel on the side. And of course, DVDs of these boondoggle/pilgrimages are for sale on the show! The Bakkers are front and center, alongside right-wing kook Joseph Farah of World Net Daily (Cahn’s publisher). More recently, the couple are shown cavorting about St. Kitts and Nevis, where Bakker claims he’s in talks with the prime minister about erecting a shortwave transmitter.
“We can’t do it alone, people,” Bakker repeatedly says in his plea for more money, citing the need for a hilltop chapel, a new grand piano or a home for pregnant teens. Thus, there’s always a new product on the hustings to breathlessly hype, followed by nightmare-inducing tales of the coming terrible times. (Bakker loves to bring up the dreaded “electromagnetic pulses,” which he promises will kill up to 95 percent of humanity, while destroying the grid and world financial system simultaneously.) Cream of potato soup, anyone?"
Disgraced Preacher Jim Bakker's New Doomsday Pitch
By David Weiss On 3/27/16 at 1:38 PM