Monday, March 19, 2007

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...


A story in the Des Moines Register reminds us that it was twenty years ago today (thus the Sgt. Pepper cover) that Jim Bakker's empire fell. Here is an excerpt. For the whole story, click the Register link, above:



After PTL Scandal, Evangelists Water Down Message

By STEPHEN WINZENBURG


It was 20 years ago - March 19, 1987 - that television evangelist Jim Bakker's PTL scandal shook the religious world.

It became a turning point for American Christianity and inadvertently made Bakker one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the 20th century.
....Newspapers won major awards for their coverage of the resulting scandals. ABC's "Nightline" scored its highest ratings in history when Ted Koppel did the first Bakker interview three months after the story broke.

Polls showed the public ranked media ministers at the bottom of the trustworthiness scale, alongside lawyers and politicians.

Critics said it was the end of television evangelism. But here's a startling reality check: 20 years later, nearly every one of those TV ministries is still on the air.

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