“One Punk Under God”
I watched the first episode of “One Punk Under God” and quickly became engrossed in it. I was a member of the PTL Club back in the 1980’s, when I was still a closeted Pentecostal zombie, and it was sad to watch Jay tour the grounds of Heritage USA, which are now decayed and weed-strewn. I wonder why no developer has bought the land and torn down all the rotting buildings. Of course, it may be a legal issue as to who actually owns the land. Jerry Falwell and his minions ended up with the satellite network, which is now nothing more than one of dozens of “Christian” networks on digital cable. (I resent the fact that I have to subscribe to all those channels in order to get the ones I want, like National Geographic, Logo, Sundance, BBC America, etc.)
The saddest part, though, was his father Jim Bakker’s estrangement from Jay, and Jim’s unwillingness to reconcile with his son or even return Jay’s phone calls. That’s not the case, of course, with Jay’s mother, Tammy Faye, who in recent years has become a gay icon, speaking and singing at Gay Pride events and fund-raisers for HIV-related charities. (Sadly, Tammy Faye is now in a hospice with cancer.)
Jay himself has come out as a gay-affirming minister, a decision which led to a conservative foundation (unnamed in the CNN news story) pulling thousands of dollars in funding for Jay’s ministry, Revolution. Jay Bakker rode in this year’s Gay Pride parade in Atlanta, distributing Revolution stickers (I still have mine) that read, “As Christians, we’re sorry for being such self-righteous, judgmental bastards.”
If the only thing Jay Bakker accomplishes is making people aware that there are other forms of Christianity besides the homophobic version espoused by James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and the Bush administration, then his ministry is well worth our support.