Christian evangelist scandals

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A series of scandals resulted in the destruction of the reputations of several famous Christian evangelists. Some of the more famous happened in the 1980s with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart.

Most scandalized televangelists continue preaching, though with a far diminished viewership. Despite their respective scandals, they each often retain a core group of "faithful" followers.

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[edit] Jim Bakker

After receiving millions in salary and bonuses from his PTL televangelism network, Jim Bakker was forced to resign in 1987 following threats of the revelation of payoffs to former secretary Jessica Hahn, to whom Bakker's staff members had paid $265,000 to keep secret her sexual services to him. A later investigation into financial irregularities at PTL and its Heritage USA Christian-oriented theme park led to Bakker additionally being indicted on federal charges of fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering.

[edit] Ted Haggard

On November 3, 2006, Ted Haggard resigned his leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals<ref>Template:Cite journal p. 42.</ref> and temporarily stepped aside as pastor of his church because of allegations by former prostitute<ref>Harris, Dan. "Evangelical Leader Denies Accusation of Paying Former Gay Prostitute for Sex", ABC News, 2006-11-3. Retrieved on 2006-11-05.</ref> and masseur Mike Jones that Haggard engaged in sex with him for three years and used methamphetamine. Haggard at first claimed he did not know his accuser.<ref name='NYTdeny'>Banerjee, Neela. "Accused of Gay Liaison, Head of Evangelical Group Resigns", The New York Times, 2006-11-3, pp. 1. Retrieved on 2006-11-04.</ref> He later admitted receiving a massage from Jones but denied having sex with him. He also admitted buying methamphetamine but asserted he never kept it and denied ever using it. On November 4th he was dismissed by the church for "sexually immoral conduct." <ref>"US pastor admits sex 'immorality'", BBC News, 2006-11-05. Retrieved on 2006-11-05.</ref>

[edit] Benny Hinn

A current fraud scandal involves televangelist Benny Hinn, famous for his televised faith healing.

[edit] Kent Hovind

On November 2, 2006, Kent Hovind and his wife, Jo, were found guilty by a jury in Federal court in Pensacola, Florida of numerous federal tax and tax-related offenses. Hovind is currently in prison, awaiting sentencing on January 9, 2007. He has been ordered to forfeit $430,400 and faces a maximum of 288 years in prison.<ref>"Dr. Dino, wife guilty", Pensacola News Journal, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-03.</ref><ref>"'Dr. Dino' guilty on all counts", Pensacola News Journal, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-04.</ref>

[edit] Peter Popoff

Prominent 1980's-era faith healer and televangelist Peter Popoff was publicly exposed by noted skeptic James Randi working together with popular TV host Johnny Carson, when it was discovered that the apparent healing miracles and prophetic acts performed by Popoff were in fact part of an elaborately stage-managed setup including planting of audience members and broadcasts to an in-ear radio receiver.

[edit] Oral Roberts

In 1987 Oral Roberts addressed his television audience telling them that God had told him to raise $8 million (£4.5 million), if he did not God would “take him home”. He raised $9.1 million. By 1989, due to financial difficulties, he had to close down the City of Faith Hospital Complex. Former employees have alleged that he used ministry funds to buy clothes, jewelry and fund travel in a private jet.

[edit] Jimmy Swaggart

Jimmy Swaggart admitted sinning against God and his wife in 1988 after being caught on film taking a prostitute to a motel. He built his ministry into a $150 million-a-year (£65m) concern. The following year after allegations of a 10-year(?) affair his television audience of two million turned their backs on him.

[edit] Robert Tilton

By late 1980s Robert Tilton was pulling in $80 million (£45 million) a year through his Success-N-Life television program. In 1991 ABC’s Primetime Live announced that prayer requests sent along with financial donations to Tilton's organization were being thrown away without being read. Primetime Live also did exposés on two other televangelists: W.V. Grant and Larry Lea. Tilton's infomercials have been recently (as of 2006) airing on BET.

[edit] Jim Whittington

Jim Whittington spent 10 years in prison for money laundering, mail fraud, conspiracy, and interstate transportation of stolen property from his evangelist crusades and direct mail business in the 1980s.

On November 2, 2005, U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard ordered the Rev. Jim Whittington to pay $5,500 a month. Whittington, who had expensive high-speed boats and a Rolls-Royce, owed wheelchair-bound Valeria Lust $848,532.

[edit] References

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Christian evangelist scandals

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