By the mid-80s, Jimmy Swaggart had become the world's
richest and most famous hypocritical scumbag. His operation
raked in more than $150 million annually. Every week, his
television program "The Jimmy Swaggart Telecast"
attracted eight million. 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 doing $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 butt 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
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
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 have sex with her child:
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
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.
|15 Mar 1935
||Jimmy Swaggart born,
of God Church.
|19 Aug 1984
declares that "Sex education classes in our
public schools are promoting incest."
|22 Sep 1985
declares: "I believe Armageddon is coming,
Armageddon is coming. It is going to be fought in
the valley of Megiddo. It is coming. They can sign
all the peace treaties they want. They wonít do
any good... It is going to get worse... My Lord! I
am happy... I donít care who it bothers. I donít
care who it troubles. It thrills my soul."
decrees in an article that "Pornography is now
considered as addictive as drugs."
||Denounces New Orleans
preacher Marvin Gorman (extramarital affairs.)
Gorman is defrocked.
|25 Mar 1987
denounces PTL minister Jim Bakker for committing
adultery, calling him "a cancer in the body of
photographed with prostitute Debra Murphree outside
the Travel Inn in Lake Charles, LA.
|21 Feb 1988
tearfully begs God's forgiveness on his TV show,
bawling "I have sinned against you, my
Lord." The exact nature of the transgression he
never explains, referring only to a vague
|25 Feb 1988
disallowed from preaching for three months by local
leadership of the Assemblies of God.
|20 May 1988
rejecting an imposed two-year television ban,
declares: "If I do not return to the pulpit
this weekend, millions of people will go to
hell." For his refusal to abide by their
decision, Swaggart is defrocked by the Assemblies of
|30 Jan 1989
||Jimmy Swaggart calls
a press conference to refute Catherine Campen's
allegations of extramarital sex made in the March
issue of Penthouse magazine.
accused of having conducted an extramarital affair
with Catherine Campen in her Penthouse
||Marvin Gorman sues
|11 Oct 1991
||Police in Indio, CA
arrest televangelist Jimmy Swaggart in a red-light
district for driving on the wrong side of the road.
Swaggart's passenger is avowed prostitute Rosemary
|10 Nov 2002
televangelist, and confessed pornography addict
Jimmy Swaggart calls the Prophet Muhammed a
"pervert" and a "sex deviant."
|12 Sep 2004
||"I get amazed. I
can't look at it but about ten seconds, at these
politicians dancing around this, dancing around this
-- I'm trying to find a correct name for it -- this
utter, absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men
marrying men. I've never seen a man in my life I
wanted to marry. [Laughs.] And I'm gonna be
blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that,
I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died. Case
anybody doesn't know, God calls it an abomination.
It's an abomination. It's an abomination!
These ridiculous, utterly absurd district attorneys
and judges and state congress. 'Well, we don't
know.' They oughta -- they oughta -- they oughta
have to marry a pig and live with them
forever. I'm not knocking the poor homosexual, I'm
not. They need salvation just like anybody else. I'm
knocking our pitiful, pathetic lawmakers. And I
thank God that President Bush has stated we need a
Constitutional amendment that says that marriage is
between a man and a woman. All right."