Televangelist Jim Bakker wants money from his followers. That’s nothing new–but this time he needs real, physical currency, cash.
The 80-year-old End Times evangelical who pushes the theologically suspect concept of the pre-tribulation rapture as well as a suite of survival prepper-themed products, was recently cut off from portions of the international payment system after he tried to sell a cure for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on his eponymous TV show.
“You can’t use credit cards if you do give to our ministry at this time because there’s a situation,” Bakker said recently, according to the Kansas City Star. He told his flock that government officials said: “’You sold products that we didn’t approve of,’ but that’s not what we did.”
Two states, however, say that’s exactly what he did.
Missouri Attorney General Eric S. Schmitt (R) recently filed an application for a temporary restraining order against Bakker alleging as follows:
Defendants Jim Bakker and Morningside Church Production, Inc. [doing business as] Jim Bakker Show Ministry have violated or are violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by falsely promising to consumers that Silver Solution can cure, eliminate, kill or deactivate coronavirus and/or boost elderly consumers’ immune system and help keep them healthy when there is, in fact, no vaccine, pill, potion or other product available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Schmitt’s application contains an exchange between Bakker and Sherrill Sellman–who was identified as a “naturopathic doctor” and “natural health expert” on the show.
“This influenza that is now circling the globe, you’re saying that silver solution would be effective,” Bakker said.
“Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours,” Sellman replied.
“Yeah,” Baker replied.
“Totally eliminates it, kills it. Deactivates it,” Sellman insisted.
“Yeah,” Baker said again.
“And it boosts your immune system so then you can support the recovery ’cause when you kill the virus then the immune system comes into action to clear it out, so you want a virbant immune system as well as an ability to deactivate these viruses,” Sellman continued. “Silver Sol has been proven by the government that is has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on including SARS and HIV.”
The segment was followed up by a pitch from Bakker for viewers to obtain the product by making a donation starting at $80.
The Missouri attorney general’s restraining order application also notes that Bakker’s website played up the use of Silver Solution within the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic–and contained multiple references to the Bakker-Sellman exchange.
New York Attorney General Letitia James also sent Bakker a cease-and-desist order over the claimed curative powers of Silver Solution.
“Your show is hereby advised to immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims regarding the Silver Solution’s effectiveness,” James’s early March letter reads.
Now Bakker says his ministry is on the brink of extinction.
“SOS, save our station, save our ship, help us stay on the air,” Bakker said this week. “We’re asking people to give an offering, and we need a miracle.”
“I will sell the buildings, parts of the buildings at Morningside in the long run if you give me a chance. Don’t let me have to file for bankruptcy,” he implored the faithful. “We need money to say on the air. I am just saying it bluntly.”
“They’re already bleeding us to death, and now we’re going to have to pay lawyers that will bleed you to death.”
In 1988, Bakker was convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. He served five years in prison.
[image via screengrab/The Jim Bakker Show]
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