CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two former Presidents and thousands of citizens have paid their final respects to Rev. Billy Graham, including the one time head of the Praise the Lord (PTL) club, Jim Bakker.
Bakker walked through the old Graham family homestead on the campus of the Billy Graham Library Tuesday, carrying flowers and pausing to pray at the casket that rested on a platform in the living room.
Bakker was familiar with the house, because it was once an attraction at his Heritage USA theme park in Fort Mill. Bakker and his then wife, Tammy Faye, built the 2,300 acre park that featured a hotel and a $12 million water park.
Rev. Graham himself once joined the Bakkers on a broadcast from the park. The Bakker empire collapsed in 1987 when Bakker admitted to having a brief affair with a church secretary named Jessica Hahn.
Not long after, Bakker was arrested on fraud charges and was convicted in federal court in Charlotte and sentenced to prison. Tammy Faye divorced Bakker in 1992, remarried in 1993 and died in 2007.
During his time in prison, both Rev. Graham and son, Franklin, visited Bakker behind bars, something Bakker never forgot. After his release, the Grahams continued to provide help and support for Bakker.
Bakker is back on TV again, but he now preaches about the end of the world and the apocalypse.