Jim Bakker in 2017.
Jim Bakker in 2017.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a fine writer, but he was all wrong about one thing, at least: As it turns out, there is no shortage of second acts in American life if you're a complete bastard.

A mere 29 short years ago, Jim Bakker was a disgraced televangelist/entrepreneur, accused of drugging and raping his secretary Jessica Hahn, and serving a 45-year prison sentence for 24 counts of fraud that netted him $158 million. Bakker and his then-wife Tammy Faye were living personifications of the transparent sham of TV Christianity and strong arguments for the wobbly foundations of religious faith itself. A refresher course about their chicanery is below the jump, but this image might jog your memory.

Its the Bakkers, May 27, 1987
It's the Bakkers, May 27, 1987

Or Maybe this one?

Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman as the Bakkers on SNL, 1987.
Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman as the Bakkers on SNL, 1987.


It will probably not surprise you to learn that Bakker is not only out of jail—he was paroled after five years—but has been back on TV for 14 years, vomiting up a torrent of unforgivable lies designed to bilk gullible rubes from rural and Southern areas out of their pension dollars.

And as in the past, some of his meretricious poison is good for a chuckle.

RawStory posted this gem today, captured by the good people at Right Wing Watch, in which Bakker is seen to demand that people stop criticizing him, A) for being wrong about almost everything (though he does take credit for predicting 9/11—not too shabby); and B) at all, ever, lest we face the wrath of the almighty.

“If you don’t want to hear it, just shut me off. Especially you folks that monitor me every day to try to destroy me. Just go away. You don’t have to be there, you don’t have to hear it. But one day, you’re going to shake your fist in God’s face and you’re going to say, ‘God, why didn’t you warn me?’ And He’s going say, ‘You sat there and you made fun of Jim Bakker all those years. I warned you but you didn’t listen.’”

In short, the only major differences between Jim Bakker and Donald Trump are 1) that Bakker lives in Branson, MO and 2) Trump has not yet been fully busted.