Bible belt brouhaha [Photos]

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There was just 13 channels in those days.

No Internet.

No Netflix.


So, sometimes cruising the couch on a Sunday morning there was little else to watch but the comedy show that was the PTL (Praise the Lord) Club.

It was a Bible-thumping hootenanny of hilarity.

Creepy, squeaky-clean Jim Bakker and his wife, Tammy Faye, whose false eyelashes, runny mascara, heavy rouge and bright lipstick were defiant of good taste.

And if Jim and Tammy Faye weren’t your cup of tea in the televangelist sweeps, there was always hooker-loving Jimmy Swaggart or the greasy Ernest Angley.

They wanted your money if they were going to do the serious business of saving your soul.

“You can educate yourself right out of a relationship with God,” Tammy Faye once helpfully offered.

I hadn’t thought about the devout duo in decades until I saw a story this week about a TV show revisiting the collapse of PTL and Jim’s conversion from preacher to jailbird.

At its peak, PTL was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. An empire of evangelism that included a TV network, a theme park called Heritage USA and much more.

The Bakkers lived like royalty as if it was ordained by the heavens themselves.

But doing the Lord’s work can apparently trigger lusty thoughts in even the most devout.

Enter Jessica Hahn.

A leggy, gap-toothed, 21-year-old redhead, Hahn served PTL as a church secretary. Jim Bakker took notice.

Church pooh-bahs sent her to Clearwater, Florida, on a special mission with this advice: “They said to me, ‘Jessica, I need you to make Jim Bakker feel better.’ Jim Bakker came along. He said, ‘Jessica Hahn, listen. You’re a virgin’. As God as my witness. He said, ‘We need a girl that we can trust.’”

She added: “Jim Bakker ripped off the bedspread and said, ‘my wife doesn’t make me feel like a man anymore.’”

Hahn would later say it was rape, the 77-year-old Bakker always insisted it was consensual.

But when Hahn tipped off the Charlotte Observer about the hormone-charged hijinks at PTL, the Bakker’s empire began unraveling.

One of the charges was that Bakker had paid off Hahn to the tune of $279,000 and fleeced his followers out of more than $158 million.

And there was more: Bakker was a closeted bisexual who had been caught enjoying a steamy sauna orgy with three much younger slabs of beefcake.

Tammy Faye allegedly engaged in carnal capers herself, pathetically throwing herself at shocked church help and knocking down pills like they were going out of style.

In 1989, Bakker was found guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud and sentenced to 45 years in the big house. He served just under three.

Tammy Faye eventually divorced him and remarried. She died of lung cancer in 2007.

Hahn faded into obscurity after an appearance in Playboy.

Jim Bakker? He soldiers on with a new Tammy Faye flogging books, pendants, Bibles and all manner of religious tat.

As Bakker once wisely said: “When you come to Heritage USA, remember to bring your Bible and Visa card — because the Bible is the holy truth, and God doesn’t take American Express.”



A threesome-loving Texas teacher has been jailed for 10 years for engaging in a slew of sexual trysts with her underage students.

Heather Lee Robertson, 38, admitted having sex with at least six high school students in Lufkin.

The boozy blonde bombshell made the first moves, engaging the boys in sexual banter over Snapchat. Eventually, Robertson invited one to her apartment for sex.

Cops say the boy asked if he could bring a pal and the former kindergarten teacher gave it the green light. She invited the boys into the bedroom, stripped and had three-way sex with the pair.

And her amorous antics continued — until cops figuratively threw saltpeter on the proceedings.



Anthony Pietrzak allegedly used his pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend as a punching bag.

But she told her dad and begged him to even the score.

And Dearld Ray Peal Jr, 46, did just that.

Pietrzak was found dead in a back alley in Tulsa, Oklahoma Thursday night.

Cops say he had been beaten to death in his home, hog-tied and tossed in the back of a pick-up truck.

“It’s very horrific,” Det. Jeanne MacKenzie told the Associated Press. “Just beating someone to death, there’s no other way to describe it.”

Dearld Ray Peal Jr. and an alleged co-conspirator are being held in jail. 

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