Swaggart Says Bakker Has Yet To Repent With AM-Evangelists Feud
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart says his fallen rival, Jim Bakker, has yet to fully repent of the sexual encounter which led to his resignation.
Swaggart also accused Bakker’s successor, the Rev. Richard Dortch, of being involved in a cover-up and said he should step down as the new president of PTL.
Swaggart, who was beginning a three-day crusade here Friday, said he personally approached Dortch before the scandal broke and that Dortch assured him ″there was nothing to it.″
″Richard Dortch was involved in a coverup,″ Swaggart said. ″I think he should step down.″
Swaggart said he is familiar with a deposition by church secretary Jessica Hahn, the woman involved in the 1980 encounter, and he took issue with Bakker’s reported statements that put the blame on her.
″When someone repents, and I cite a biblical example, David never blamed Bathsheba,″ Swaggart said. ″David said ‘I alone have sinned.’ ... Jim Bakker has not done that yet.″
Bakker resigned as head of PTL, which stands for ″Praise the Lord″ or ″People That Love,″ on March 19 after revealing he had committed adultery. He claimed he had been blackmailed and that the incident was being used in an attempted hostile takeover of PTL, one of the larger television ministries in the country.
Bakker’s attorney, Roy Grutman, accused Swaggart of masterminding the takeover.
As he has done on several past occasions, Swaggart denied that he had designs on PTL but was candid about his disdain for Bakker and his wife, Tammy.
″It was like a soap opera played out in the open ... with the extramarital activities and the Betty Ford Clinic. It was not a good presentation. It’s embarrassing,″ Swaggart said.
He was referring to the Bakkers’ announcement on March 9 that Tammy Faye Baker had checked into the Betty Ford Center in California for treatment of addiction to prescription drugs.
Swaggart said he played no role in Bakker’s resignation as head of the PTL and he prays for Bakker. But, he said, ministers must hold themselves up to a higher standard of conduct than other people.
″The Gospel is not entertainment,″ he said. ″It’s very sober. It’s not amusement parks. It has no place for amusement parks.″
He said that promotion of such activities as the Heritage USA Park that PTL operates in Fort Mill, S.C., amounted to ″foolishness.″