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The PTL Club (PTL short for "Praise The Lord" and "People That Love", and in parody as "Preachers Taking Loot" or "Pass The Loot") was a daily religious-oriented television series hosted by Christian televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The PTL Club, which adopted a talk-show format, was the flagship television program of the Bakkers' PTL Satellite Network. It was one of the first Christian broadcasts in the U.S. to deal with subjects such as AIDS/HIV and homosexuality.

The PTL Club was started in 1975 by Jim Bakker and his wife at the time, Tammy Faye Bakker. Due to his financial and sexual scandals, Bakker resigned on March 19, 1987, and Jerry Falwell then took control of the network and The PTL Club show ended.[1] It is noted that "Bakker arranged for Falwell to take over PTL in March in an effort to avoid what he called a 'hostile takeover' of the television ministry by people threatening to expose a sexual encounter he admitted to having seven years earlier with church secretary Jessica Hahn."[2] According to Hahn, on the afternoon of December 6, 1980, when she was a 21 year-old church secretary, she was drugged and raped for "about 15 minutes" by Bakker and another preacher, John Wesley Fletcher. Hahn stated she overheard Bakker say afterward to another PTL staffer, "Did you get her too?"[3]

The September 21, 1987 issue of Time noted that Jerry Falwell "plunged" fully-clothed down the "Typhoon" waterslide, a 163 foot "hellish" water slide at Heritage USA, in fulfillment of "a promise made during a fund-raising drive that netted $20 million for the debt-ridden PTL."[4] Photos of the event were selected as "The Best of Photojournalism" in the 1987 Pictures of the Year book presented by the National Press Photographers Association.[5] In September 1999, The Associated Press selected it as one of the top 100 national photos of the century.[5]

Ultimately, Bakker was indicted for directing millions of dollars of church funds for personal use. Much of the nation watched the court case to see the outcome of the 165 million dollar donations.[6]

On August 23, 1991, after the second and final day of his re-sentencing hearing, Bakker's original 45-year sentence was reduced to 18 years — 5 of which he actually served.

In February of 2009 Atlanta, Georgia area investment banker Ben Dyer announced his intention to auction off over 15,000 videotaped episodes of The PTL Club on March 27, 2009.[7]

See also


  1. ^ [Scencyclopedia: PTL Club (dead link)]
  2. ^ Steve Baker. PTL-Falwell Associated Press. July 21, 1987
  3. ^ Transcript of interview with Larry King, CNN, July 14, 2005
  4. ^ American Notes Fundraising. Time Magazine September 21, 1987.
  5. ^ a b Jerry Falwell: A Photo of the Century!
  6. ^ Jim Bakker
  7. ^ "Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's old shows up for sale". Associated Press. 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2009-03-01.  

External links



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