Jim and Tammy Faye’s good guy son

I’d been avoiding “One Punk Under God”:http://www.sundancechannel.com/onepunk/?PHPSESSID=157c3e0944b76a7d29d0bb58baea051c — an ongoing series on the Sundance Channel about Jay Bakker, the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

I mean, I’ve always thought of the Bakkers as little more than a joke. Tammy Faye’s makeup. Jim’s unreal smile (and televised break-down after his empire crumbled).

But when I watched the show the other night, it was kind of touching. Jay Bakker (that’s him) is a tattoo-covered, “punk” minister who is still trying to come to terms with his parents’ celebrity and long, slow downfall. He seems very genuine, a lost-puppy sort.


On the show I watched, he visited the ruins of Heritage USA, his parents’ Christian theme park that opened in 1978 and became a sensation. Only two years later, Jim met Jessica Hahn and…you know the rest.

The Bakkers eventually divorced. Jim, somehow, started a “new TV show”:http://www.jimbakkershow.com/ in 2003 with his new wife, Lori. “Tammy Faye”:http://www.tammyfaye.com/ has been very sick with cancer, but appeared on the WB’s Surreal Life.

Anyhow, it was moving to see Jay walking through what’s left of his childhood.

Even worse was to watch him leave several messages for his father, who would not return calls to his estranged son.

Jay Bakker leads a congregation called “Revolution.”:http://www.revolutionnyc.com/ They meet on Sundays at Pete’s Candy Store in, of all places, Brooklyn.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.