Saturday, 8 September 2012

Talk To Me!: Tammy Faye Bakker Interviews Steve Pieters (1985)

Okay, it may seem absurd to some people that I am adding this 3 part interview to my blog, but I'm doing so because I just watched a fascinating documentary about Tammy Faye Bakker (Messner) this morning called "The Eyes Of Tammy Faye" and became enamoured with her story and the kind of woman she was.

I have to say that I wasn't really familiar with Tammy Faye's story before watching that documentary. She was always just this kooky, heavily painted lady that I remember seeing on tv occasionally as a child (and in the immortal words of Sharon Needles, "I didn't know she was selling me Christianity, I thought she was selling me makeup.") But now that I know about her personal struggles and the kind of inclusive and compassionate work she did as a televangelist, I have to say that I'm a fan. (Just as a sidenote: I'm not a Christian in any way, shape or form, but I do have respect for anyone, religious or otherwise, who simply believes in being a good person).

So, after the documentary, I naturally went on youtube to watch even more moments throughout her life (listening to her singing, watching various interviews and looking at many tribute video's) but the above interview struck me the most because (as the disclaimer says at the beginning) it was quite groundbreaking. For a televangelist to sit down for a 30 minute interview with an openly gay pastor who was living with AIDS in 1985, during the early days and the pandemonium of the AIDS epidemic, and not pass judgement, but rather, show compassion and empathy and support.... that is a rare person indeed. I believe she was not only the epitomy of the term "Good Christian Woman" but also simply a Humanist!

Naturally she asks Steve a few questions that in this day and age may seem embarassing or cliche, but remember, this was 1985, everybody was asking and wanting straightforward answers to these questions at that time.

Tammy Faye passed away in 2007 after an 11 year battle with cancer, but her son Jay Bakker continues to spread his mothers message of love and acceptance of all people within the Church.

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