We have been following the dubious work of Rev. Jim Bakker after his release from prison, including pitching “cures” for the corona virus. There is now an interesting twist. While Bakker is being pursued by the government for possible fraud for selling fake cures for Covit-19, the government just gave him a loan to help him continue his work during the Covit-19 pandemic. Ironically, Bakker begged supporters for money to help him fight off the government. The government appears to have responded.
According to the Associated Press, Bakker was approved for an amount between $650,000 and $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds. That is useful support since he is being pursued by the Federal Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission as well as the New York and Missouri attorneys general. While PPP loans are meant to go to specific uses like paying wages, the infusion of money can only help Bakker who was calling for supporters for emergency support.
As we discussed previously, Bakker has been shilling for a variety of products, including doomsday supplies. However, his “Silver solution” pitches drew the ire of government officials.
However, here is a broadcast on February 12th with Sherill Sellman:
Bakker: This influenza that is now circling the globe, you’re
saying that silver solution would be effective.
Sellman: Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the
coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.
Sellman: Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it.
Sellman: And it boosts your immune system so then you can
support the recovery, ‘cause when you kill the virus then the
immune system comes into action to clear it out, so you want a
vibrant immune system as well as an ability to deactivate these viruses.
Sellman: Silver Sol has been proven by the government that it
has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on
including SARS and HIV.
Bakker used broadcasts like this to pitch Silver Sol products to viewers for
donations such as $80 or $125.
The fact that Bakker is offering a fraudulent cure as part of a religious pitch does not insulate him from civil or criminal laws. If that were the case, criminals could simply adopt religious forums to defraud people with false investments, cures, or products. This is precisely the type of conduct that led me to write an academic work entitled “Laying Hands On Religious Racketeers” some thirty years ago.
The PPP loans could add a twist to the fraud investigation since applicants seeking PPP loans were asked to certify they are not engaged in any illegal or fraudulent activity under federal, state or local law. However, the government does not appear to be actively making eligibility determinations before forking over money as part of its rush to get money out to the public and businesses.
Of course, if this is a cure or Bakker has not engaged in fraud, this will be left in God’s hands. For the moment, Bakker’s prayers may have been answered. Bakker declared on his show: “SOS, save our station, save our ship, help us stay on the air. We’re asking people to give an offering, and we need a miracle.”
“Your products are going to come to you. Every one of them will come to you, come right to your house, and if we can’t, we are going to refund. I will sell the buildings, parts of the buildings at Moringside in the long run if you give me a chance. Don’t let me have to file for bankruptcy . . . We need money to say on the air. I am just saying it bluntly,” he said. Bakker and his wife asked for people to buy their books or send in donations . . . They’re already bleeding us to death, and now we’re going to have to pay lawyers that will bleed you to death.”
As stated in Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” At least until the government comes knocking with a search warrant and seizure order.