Tammy Faye and the Gays: an Unknown Story 

Few religious practitioners have aroused antagonism, ridicule, and revulsion among opinion makers to the same degree as Tammy Faye Messner -- from the time of her hucksterish TV ministry with then husband Jim Bakker to her spectral last appearance on the Larry King Show this month. Memphis gay leader (and atheist) Jim Maynard knew and respected another Tammy -- an open-minded, open-hearted follower of the gospel.

Here is Maynard's recollection:

While I am an atheist, I am also a former/ex-Christian who knows a little about the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I don't have much respect for most TV evangelists, and Tammy Faye and Jim Baker certainly "sinned" back when they enriched themselves on the "donations" of their followers, I really believe Tammy was sincere in her religious beliefs, even if she latched on to the mistaken belief that god rewards his followers with material wealth.

Well she lost all of that and I think learned the true meaning of "Christianity." It is not accurate to lump PTL and Tammy Faye with the "Christian Right." The CR is a political movement aligned with the Republican Party and has fought against social justice and equality for gays and lesbians among others. Tammy and Jim Baker were not part of that political movement. In fact, they embraced people with AIDS and gay people in their ministry.

Tammy Faye was one of the first "evangelical" Christians to embrace people with AIDS in the 1980s when Falwell, Reagan, etc. were demonizing gays and people with AIDS. In her later years, Tammy found support among many in the gay community and even traveled to gay pride events to share her gospel of love. It was shocking to see her on Larry King a few days ago, little more than a skeleton. She reiterated her faith and love for her "fans" and thanked the gay community for their support.

I may not agree with her religious beliefs, and she was not a "saint," but if anyone showed the true meaning of "Christianity" I think Tammy did. She made big mistakes in her life, and suffered greatly. But if you actually read the Bible it is filled with flawed people who made BIG mistakes ("sins"), but found forgiveness ("salvation") through their belief in a god of love. Jesus himself embraced people rejected by society and spent most of his time preaching against self-righteous religious fanatics ("scribes and Pharisees").

Tammy did that too, and her son formed a church in New York that reaches out to those who do not measure up to many "mainstream" churches: poor, punks, homeless, gays, etc. I doubt he will become rich or get his own TV network, but maybe he learned the true meaning of "Christianity" from his mother. RIP Tammy Faye, I hope you found peace. The way you lived in the end almost persuaded me there might be a god, or I hope you found something like that in the end.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • GOP’s Lee Puts His Hat In

      The 2018 gubernatorial field expands, with more likely on the way.
    • District 95 Showdown

      Ten aspirants for the state House seat vacated by Mark Lovell turn up for a TNA forum.
    • They’re Back!

      The General Assembly tackles two Shelby County hot topics: de-annexation and school vouchers.

Blogs

Fly On The Wall Blog

When Local News Isn't Local: A "Guns & Bunnies" Slideshow

Politics Beat Blog

Vouchers Bill Dead for 2017 Legislative Session

News Blog

Volunteers Paint RiverPlay Mural

News Blog

How to Turn Your Room Into a Wardrobe

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (April 27-May 3)

Beyond the Arc

Game 5: Spurs 116, Grizzlies 103: Home Cooking

News Blog

No New Taxes in Mayor's New Budget

News Blog

More Solar Power is Coming to the Mid-South

Music Blog

Eric Krasno Band live at Minglewood Hall

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation