Jimmy SwaggartBy the mid-80s, Jimmy Swaggart had become the world's richest and most famous hypocritical shitbag. His operation raked in more than $150 million annually. Every week, his television program "The Jimmy Swaggart Telecast" attracted eight million Jesus freaks. He had clawed his way to the peak of the televangelism racket, and now he had nothing to do.
So Swaggart turned to schadenfreude for his primary source of pleasure. He took great joy in 1986 for defrocking fellow Assemblies of God minister Marvin Gorman. Gorman had conducted an extramarital affair with one of his parishioners. And then the next year, when the PTL Ministry collapsed in around Jim Bakker, Swaggart was ecstatic. It was almost too good to believe. He went on CNN and told Larry King that Bakker was a "cancer in the body of Christ."
But if watching other people in misery was Swaggart's favorite thing, then his next favorite was probably looking at pornography and fucking $35-per-hour prostitutes in cheap motels. When the rumors started flying, Jimmy was doomed. Ironically, it was Marvin Gorman who nailed him.
In 1987 Marvin paid a private detective to take photos of Swaggart with his Louisiana hooker. It didn't take long. Reportedly Marvin tried blackmailing him, but Jimmy didn't follow through on the payments. So Marvin turned to the same church elders who had disgraced him two years prior.
When confronted by the Assemblies of God leadership, Jimmy had no choice but to confess. He told them that he suffered a lifelong addiction to pornography. It was probably no real surprise to them. All the signs were there. Swaggart had written an article in 1987 asserting that "pornography is now considered as addictive as drugs." And over the years he had campaigned for tougher anti-porn legislation.
The AOG had no choice but to reprimand him somehow. So they defrocked him for one year. The next week, Swaggart wound up crying his ass off on TV. In front of cameras and congregation, Jimmy seemed contrite: "I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God's forgetfulness, never to be remembered against me." But he made no specific mention of the nature of his transgressions, referring only to some vague "moral failure." Maybe he was following the advice of his attorney.
His empire foundered and never recovered. Three years later, more than 80% of their faithful viewers had stopped watching the telecast. Donations were way, way down and the ministry had racked up $4.5 million in debts. But Swaggart was still hanging in there, even though things couldn't get much worse.
In March 89, some woman named Catherine Campen gave an interview to Penthouse magazine, in which she claimed to have had an extramarital affair with the preacher. Between July 87 and January 88, they had met up on ten separate occasions. She mentioned beating him with a riding crop, but only after Swaggart convinced her to do it.
Then in July, Penthouse ran an exclusive interview with the prostitute, Debra Murphree. She claimed that Jimmy once inquired whether he could fuck her child:
He'd ask me if I'd ever let anyone screw my daughter when she was that young, and I said, "No, She's only nine years old." He asked me if she started developing or if she had any hair down there. [...] "I can picture my cock going in and out of a pussy like that," he said.
These revelations were a sales and marketing bonanza for Penthouse magazine and its publisher, Bob Guccione. While many people claim to love pornography, how many actually give back to the industry?
Finally, during a preaching tour of California, Swaggart drove his white Jaguar into the town of Indio. There he propositioned 31-year-old Rosemary Garcia, who promptly got in the car. Then they were pulled over by the cops for driving on the wrong side of the road.
Garcia told a Palm Springs TV news crew that Swaggart had picked her up, then inquired where they could find a motel with in-room porn. When the reporter asked why Swaggart had approached her, Garcia said: "He asked me for sex. I mean, that's why he stopped me. That's what I do. I'm a prostitute."
If anybody had still needed proof that Swaggart really loved hookers and porn, no further convincing was necessary.
On November 10, 2002 Swaggart denounced the Prophet Muhammad as a "pervert" and a "sex deviant." Which sounds reasonable, if you subscribe to the takes-one-to-know-one school of criticism.
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