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Goodbye Tammy Faye

I certainly wouldn’t have wasted my time with any other evangelical leader or Bible thumping Christian, and had this been anyone else, I wouldn’t have given it space enough on my little Blog to trap an ant. But, it’s Tammy Faye. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve always liked her.

I know she probably doesn’t approve of me, or my life, or most of my friends (gay or straight) but I never got the feeling that she'd let me know that.

She raised millions of dollars for AIDS awareness groups.

She did constant charity work.

She liked the gays and had many gay friends…men and women.

And she never said a bad word about George Bush.

I don’t know….it just endeared me to her.

And through it all, through everything she endured, her faith never wavered. She never even questioned that there was a God and that she was going to Heaven. That was never a doubt. It was the one constant in her life and the one thing she clung to without reservation. I have to say, I have a lot of admiration for that. And maybe….a lot of envy. I believe in what I believe in, and I hold on to it, and I hold it dear, but I don’t know that if in the final days of a cancer that was ravaging my body and ripping me apart with its teeth that I’d still have the same conviction. I don’t know. I hope so, but I really couldn’t say for certain.

But Tammy Faye always, always knew. She said it to the people she trusted, and she said for nearly 30 years on National TV. To anyone who would listen. And in the last few days of her life, emaciated and frail, she went on Larry King and when asked if she still subscribed to her God, she said simply:

“Of course there is, Larry. That’s the *only* thing I’ve ever been sure of.”

4 days later she was dead.

I don’t know if she’s right. I don’t know if what I believe is the ultimate truth, or if what she believes was the ultimate truth. I honestly don’t know. And what I think is remarkable is not just Faye’s immoveable sense of peace and serenity, but the fact that she never judged anyone who dared take another spiritual road. All she ever wanted to do was talk about her faith and spread it around the best way she could.

Now that’s what being a Christian really is.

I’ll miss her. I’m really going to miss her.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
I saw the tail end of her Larry King interview last night. It was heartbreaking to look at her, but she didn't lose that indomitable spirit that made her so fascinating. She was a great, strong woman and more Christians should take a cue from her nonjudgmental attitude.
Jul. 24th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
Many years ago I was in Rochester MN for a few weeks and the PTL Club was on seemingly every darn channel. I don't care for those types of shows but, I came to know and appreciate Tammy Faye. She was bubbly and positive and seemed non-judgemental. I liked her too. RIP

Jul. 24th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
I've read very few critical takes on her life, but I have to wonder why so few take issue with televangelism's scamming of millions of people, taking hundreds of millions of dollars for "prayers." Sure, Tammy Faye was never a convicted criminal, yet she was a part of this scam for years. And never apologized or reckoned with it.

As I argue in a post on my site (http://theorymyculture.wordpress.com), she joins Nixon as one of those inexplicable "I really love her/him!" people, rehabilitated late in life. Can't understand it. Not at all. She took the money of so, so many people. Where's the reckoning with that scam? Indeed, to the extent that she's famous, she's famous because of that scam. I can't overlook it; it defined her life's trajectory.
Jul. 24th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
I remember that
I know she was wrapped up in that mess for many years. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say SHE wasn't the one who was brought up on charges, and she wasn't the one who went to jail.

She was investigated, like her ex husband, and scrutinized with a fine tooth comb, but was found to be just as duped as the public she preached to.

I don't know that she's completely innocent. I have no proof of that. But on the other hand, no one has proof that she's guilty either. My post was about remembering what I knew of her. To compare her to Nixon is a bit unfair, I think. I mean, isn't running a ministry and running the United States of America two different things?

Nixon was brought up on charges, Faye wasn't. Nixon resigned, Faye was pushed out. Nixon retired and assumed self prescribed Elder Statesmenship, Faye continued to do charity work and preach what she believed.

But I can see what you're wrestling with. I totally get it. I just don't happen to subscribe to it.
Jul. 28th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
Tammy faye
I had the pleasure in 2003 of meeting Tammy Faye at a GLBT themed Derby party in Louisville. I actually got to chat with her for a few minutes and we talked about faith. She was aware that i was trans, wished she was a tall as me and she said something to me that she repeated to the crowd a few momens later.

"Never let anoyone telll you that you can't be a Christian and that God doesn't love you, because He does."

Jul. 30th, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: Tammy faye
That's beautiful! Somehow that's how I always imagined her being...when I watched the PTL as a kid with my mom (frankly, we just tuned in at the beginning to watch her and laugh at her clothes!), I somehow got the feeling that she was the "better" person of the two. She was wacky and giggly and stuff, but she seemed genuine and nice. He always seemed smarmy. Even to her.
Jul. 29th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
I'm an evangelical Christian, and Tammy Faye's love and acceptance of everyone is what Jesus was all about, and what I strive for. He loved everyone, but when I read the gospels, I always get the impression that He enjoyed hanging out with the outcasts of society more than the self-righteous. I've never met a gay person I didn't like, but I've met many self-righteous Christians I couldn't stand. (Not that I think all gay people are likable, I just haven't met any who weren't. I loved your post when you met Harry Hamlin in the elevator. I still laugh at his reply, "I'm glad you loved my asshole." hahahaha)
Jul. 29th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
oops - forgot to sign my anon comment.
redfish (http://purplefishguts.blogspot.com)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )