James Bakker is back in the news. Bakker on his television show sold a cure for the coronavirus. In response the New York Attorney General sent a cease and desist letter. The Missouri Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Jim Bakker. This post looks at the situation and offers some feedback on a discredited televangelist.
“Typically, those committing fraud use psychological strategies to distance themselves from any sense of guilt. Criminologists refer to this as “neutralisation”. A common form of neutralisation is to view the victim as in some way to blame. Another is to depersonalise or belittle the victim. For example, the perpetrators of a series of frauds on eBay referred to their 3,000 victims as “the idiots”.”
Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, attributed, “Getting into the mind of a fraudster”, Raconteur, August 23, 2017
“Fraud is the daughter of greed.”
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT
This time in history is both stressful and frightening. The news related to the coronravirus which broke out of Wuhan, China and spread around the globe is most disturbing. Northern Italy is struggling with a large number of cases with the coronavirus and the government in Rome decided to shut down the country in an effort to contain the virus. The shutting down of schools, lines of communication and so much more will impact 60 million Italians. Seattle which is one of the epicenters of the coronavirus in the United States is in the process of becoming a ghost town. Local schools and the University of Washington have shut down and learning has moved online. In New York on the East Coast Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a mile quarantine of New Rochelle, New York. In the last 48 hours New York state experienced the tripling of coronaviruses infections. The states of North Carolina, New Jersey, Colorado and Massachusetts are declaring a state of emergency as the virus spreads. In this growing tragedy a huckster known for fraud and who was once taken down by the federal government tried to take advantage of people’s fears with a fraudulent cure.
Recalling Jim Bakker and his new “Silver Solution” for the Coronavirus
Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker are a household name. Jim Bakker wanted to create a Christian Disneyland. PTL Club was broadcast from 1974 until 1987. The theme part in South Carolina at the time became the third most popular theme park in the United States at the time. The Bakkers lived a lavish lifestyle. The FCC and the IRS investigated Jim Bakker. From 1980 until 1983 Jim Bakker allegedly misused 1.3 million for his own personal benefit. Jim Bakker was alleged to have raped Jessica Hahn and to have homosexual advances over the years. Jim Bakker turned over PTL to Jerry Falwell and PTL crumbled in scandal as the United States government prosecuted Jim Bakker for financial fraud. Bakker was convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison but he only served three. Tammy Faye divorced him and she eventually died of cancer in 2007. Jim Bakker eventually ended up in Branson, Missouri where he ended up on television in 2003 leading the Jim Bakker Show.
On February 12, 2020 Jim Bakker on his television show asked if a vile of silver solution, which is a concoction of metals, could be used against the novel coronavirus. His guest, Sherrill Sellman said, “It hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus, and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours. Totally eliminates it, kills it, deactivates it and then it boosts your immune system,” to which Jim Bakker said, “yeah, yeah!” Then the show started to sell Silver Solution as a cure for coronavirus. Four tubes of Silver Solution gel for $80.00 or Or, for $125, they could buy a variety pack of two bottles of Silver Solution liquid, two tubes of gel and three lozenges.
New York and Missouri Attorney Generals Respond
The New York Attorney General got wind of it and stated that Jim Bakker was engaged in false advertising. Lisa Landau who runs the health care division of the attorney general office said that she was “extremely concerned” and stated the following. “Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak. … Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combatting and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law.” Lisa Landau sent a cease and desist letter to the Jim Bakker Show and told them they had ten days to stop otherwise they would face legal action. The Jim Bakker Show defended the selling of silver solution and said that it has worked. Bakker has been selling his silver solution for a long time. The Washington Post was the first media publication to break this story. You can read it in, “N.Y. attorney general to televangelist Jim Bakker: Stop peddling unproven coronavirus cures.”
The Missouri Attorney General went much further and responded to Jim Bakker by taking legal action against him. On March 10, 2020 The Hill reported that Eric Schmidt sued Jim Bakker and Morningside Church Productions who are defendants. Schmitt said that Bakker and Sherill Sellman engaged in fraud when they falsely stated that the “Silver Solution” could be a cure for the coronavirus. The Missouri Attorney General stated the following in a letter to Jim Bakker. “The 2019 novel coronavirus poses serious consequences to public health, and consumers are concerned as to how they can best protect themselves and their families. Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak.” There is a permanent injunction and restraining order against Jim Bakker on selling any “Silver Solution.” You can read more in, “Missouri AG sues Jim Bakker for coronavirus ‘cure’ claims.”
In a Medical Crisis Don’t be Conned. Some Thoughts on this Dangerous Behavior by James Bakker
We live in a time where there is deep fear. Currently there is no vaccine or cure for the coronavirus. It is estimated that there will not be one for another year to two years. If you would like to read more about the challenges and issues of finding a vaccine against the coronavirus please read the following articles.
- USA Today, “Why a coronavirus vaccine is more than a year away, despite medical researchers’ progress.”
- Wired, “Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines.”
- ABC News, “Health experts warn life-saving coronavirus vaccine still years away.”
- Market Watch, “These nine companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines — here’s where things stand.“
- Business Insider, “The Wuhan coronavirus has now claimed more lives than SARS. Top scientists told us it could take years and cost $1 billion to make a vaccine to fight the epidemic.”
There is no vaccine now and there will not be one for a while. To sell one while claiming otherwise is engaging in fraud. Its disingenuous, manipulative and disturbing. This blog has no respect for Jim Bakker, and to play off people’s fears or concern is especially troubling. Having James Bakker “minister” on television is like having serial killer Ted Bundy run eHarmony or Plenty of Fish. Bakker has no business doing ministry. If you find this post while Googling James Bakker please don’t give him a dime. Bakker doesn’t deserve a dime. Likewise don’t feel sorry for him as he created his own problems when he engaged in fraud. Family members may need to intervene to make sure that someone who is not sick or ill engages in sending money to Jim Bakker. In this medical crisis there will be people who will profit off this crisis. They can’t be allowed to succeed, and we need to look out and protect the vulnerable. So if you read this post consider this a warning. Don’t give any money to Jim Bakker.