When Jim Bakker was sent to jail in 1988 for fraud I hoped that we had heard the last of him. No such luck. The memory of the easily led is very short. Jim Bakker counted on that to make himself rich again. Now, instead of selling condos, he’s selling survivalist supplies which he calls “love gifts.” He’s built quite the empire, with a new church and even an RV park.
How does he do it? Easy. He sells fear. Every time he gets in front of a camera to film segments for his internet broadcast, he presses that fear button. One favorite button is fear of persecution. Now, you and I know that Christians are not being persecuted in America. The very idea is absurd. But they equate being made to follow anti-discrimination laws — laws based on our Constitution — with being persecuted. Bakker says that he could tell you stories that would “curl your hair, if your hair is straight.” (Yes, he really added that last part.)
Jim Bakker knows (along with all the other pseudo-Christian doomsayers) that this particular button is primed right now and he uses it to sell his wares. In the clip below, from a show last week, Bakker tells his viewers that they should prepare for more persecution. Beheadings and (wait for it) starvation. Oh noes! There’s a good reason to buy his pre-packaged food. And the old, white people in his audience will do just that.
Bakker has a vivid imagination, too. He can whip up these fake scenarios out of thin air. Like he did with guest Rick Wiles, who incited viewers to civil disobedience to pray in schools. Bakker ran with that. Here is the exchange:
Wiles: So what happens if in that graduation most of the parents stand up and recite the Lord’s Prayer? What are they going to do? Is the judge going to come over and arrest you? Let’s get an uprising going.
Bakker: They would threaten to arrest you, they would threaten to mow you down with a machine gun.
Wiles: So what if they did? They’re going to come in and shoot 500 parents at a high school graduation for saying the Lord’s Prayer?
Bakker: Not right now. But eventually they will if we don’t stop it.
Let me get this straight… if people stand up and recite the Lord’s Prayer at a graduation, they will be mowed down with machine guns. Who would do that? Well, Bakker and Wiles blame “they” for everything. This is literally feeding an Us v. Them mentality.
If people did that, stood and recited a prayer during a public graduation ceremony, they might get fined. And these imaginary parents should know that they are willingly breaking the law if they did this. I don’t think Bakker’s viewers understand that. To them, the law persecutes them by not allowing them to pray in public. This is easy for Bakker and others to conflate into actual persecution.
Oh, and it makes it easier to sell his stuff. Which is all Jim Bakker is about. Too bad some folks still buy him and his stuff.
Here’s the video via Right Wing Watch:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbSXI0Rkm4k&w=640&h=360]
Featured Image via Screen Capture