About a half-hour into Tammy Faye Bakker's first show since her televangelist husband went to prison, she began to cry the tears familiar to her longtime viewers.
"I wish Jim were here tonight," she said Friday at a half-full theater in Wichita, Kan., for what she said might be the start of a national tour. "He wishes he could be, too."The crowd of about 500 paid $18 apiece to hear Bakker sing, preach, joke and rail at supermarket tabloids, which have prominently featured the couple's woes. She got a standing ovation when she entered the hall.
In 1989, Jim Bakker was convicted of bilking followers of the PTL ministry out of more than $158 million. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Mrs. Bakker blamed the devil for the failure of the ministry and its companion religious theme park, Heritage USA. The Bible promises that what the devil takes he must give back seven times, she said.
"Wouldn't it be great to have seven Heritage USAs?" she asked, drawing applause and cheers from the crowd.