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Jimmy Swaggart is in the news again, in a minor way lately. Above, he can be seen ranting that if a “homaseckshul” came on to him, he would kill him and tell God that he died. It’s an “abombnation”, in his humble opinion.
Poor Jimmy…Just Kidding!!
This is the guy who was caught in a Baton Rouge motel room jacking off in front of a prostitute, who was putting on her own little show. It was all just a family feud. His cousin Marvin(another jillionaire televangelist) was angry with Jimmy for denouncing him publicly. It seems Marvin had been besporting himself with his secretary at the time. Jimmy was just using good modern business practice, applying leverage to a hostile takeover attempt. Marvin resented this and put a private detective on Jimmy’s tail.
Incidentally, another cousin of Jimmy is Jerry Lee Lewis, the famous early rocker. He’s just barely managed to stay out of jail numerous times due to his penchant for prepubescent girls.
What a family! After Jimmy was busted in the motel room, he was caught twice more. Once he was riding down the road with a hooker beside him. Jimmy saw the state trooper’s vehicle and got nervous, attempting to stuff his porn magazines under the front seat of his car( Yes, Virginia, before the internet, porn came in magazines). This caused his car to start weaving erratically which drew the trooper’s attention, and then it all just sort of spilled out. The hooker saw her chance to make some real money and started squealing to everyone in sight. It was great.
Nowadays I believe his handlers keep him pretty much locked up when he isn’t preaching. That’s not uncommon with the really big “cash-cow” preachers. Aimee Semple McPherson was a staggeringly gifted and beautiful Los Angeles preacher during the 1920’s and ’30’s. She regularly drew bigger crowds than the President. She was friends with Charlie Chaplin, who helped her stage Broadway quality Sunday Night Illustrated Sermons. Unfortunately, she also liked to marry anything that wore pants. She lived in solitary confinement for ten years after her third divorce(one of the boys in the chorus) threatened to derail her Church based empire. She wasn’t mean or dishonest like Swaggart. She just had a lot of love to give, and she spread it around kind of thick, if you know what I mean.
No one has clear figures on Ms. McPherson’s empire because she didn’t even have a bookkeeping department, but Swaggart’s empire at the time of his downfall was pulling in about $250 million a year in direct cash contributions alone. That wasn’t counting the Bible School, books and records, television and radio, and the million and one little sweetheart deals on the side. The stealing was good in those days.
Nowadays when he preaches for TV in that huge 4,000 seat auditorium, they have to move all the people down in front to make the room look full. All 100 or so of them.
So Jimmy learned his lesson, right? He’s learned that humility and gentleness are the hallmarks of wisdom, surely.
Since the world has had no compassion for his many weaknesses, he’s learned to demonstrate compassion and generosity toward others. Certainly that’s the case. That’s simply learning from one’s mistakes. It’s something we can all do in order to grow and become better people.
In Jimmy’s case, evidently not…
It’s never too late, Jimmy.