Tammy Faye Messner, 1942-2007

The evangelist Tammy Faye died yesterday and her remains were buried today. Let her rest in peace.

I didn’t much care for the ministry she conducted with her first husband Jim Bakker. I didn’t and don’t understand her makeup fixation. I don’t pretend to know what role she might have had with Heritage USA, the Christian-themed leisure facility, or what even to make of it. The less said of The Surreal Life the better.

But when I heard her speak of her faith, her frailty and her longings, I believed her.  Many of you might not know the special, even honored, role she had in the gay community in her last years.

Last night, by which point she had already died, I saw a clip of her last interview — two days ago — on Larry King Live where she affirmed her certain hope of life in heaven after death. I’m not embarrassed to say I wept a little while watching the interview. I noted how she prepared for God’s blessings and didn’t engage in one of those pained “God’s going to help me beat this” bargains which speaks of someone who probably won’t have a peaceful passing.

Of course, Universalist I am, I am also certain of her reward. So again, Tammy Faye, rest in peace.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I also saw Tammy’s last interview with Larry King, and was deeply moved. I see Tammy Messner and Jim Bakker as two of the sweetest evangelicals I know, even though they have gone astray in their lifetimes (as I have).


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