Monday, July 23, 2007
Tammy Faye 1942-2007
When Dale first told me that Tammy Faye was going to do a live interview on Larry King while she was very sick, I laughed and made some kind of joke about her clown makeup.
Today I decided to YouTube her and watch the interview, which as it turns out took place less than 24 hours before she died.
Oh my God, am I a mess.
Let's just say that if I wore Tammy Faye's flavor of eye makeup, I'd have black streaks a mile long down my entire face.
I've always considered myself a reasonably good judge of character. Although I'm sure it's mostly just an "opposites attract" kind of thing, I usually feel drawn to good people. I've never met Tammy Faye in person, but I've always kind of liked her - mainly because she comes across as so genuine. Satan himself would probably have grown tired of faking all that emotion over the years.
Now as every Gentle Reader of this blog surely knows, I derive a substantial amount of enjoyment in poking fun at Kristians (see the footnote to this post for a definition of that term.) But despite the fact that Tammy spent too much of her life in bed with the Kristians, namely her ex-husband Jim Bakker, I don't think she was much of one herself.
For one, she didn't hate fags and dykes nearly enough to be a Kristian. Even way back during her televangelist days in the 1980s, she asked her viewers to stop picking on the gays and urged people to start showing some sympathy and compassion. Tammy even hosted people with AIDS on the PTL show and encouraged Kristians to pray for the sick. ("Sick" as in having a physical disease, not "sick" in the Ted Haggard sense of the word.)
Further, Tammy later developed close friendships with several gay men and even co-hosted a TV talk show with one for a short while. When asked by one of Larry King's viewers why she had chosen to embrace gay people, she replied that they were the ones who showed her the most support during her lowest periods, and that she would always love them for it.
(Ok, so she didn't realize most of this "support" came from the throngs of drag queens and fashionistas out to mock her criminal sense of style. But that's all water under the bridge.)
In short, Tammy Faye was a nice lady. Yes, she was flawed. Yes, she got mixed up with the wrong people for much of her life. Yes, she made a lot of terrible mistakes, some of them bordering on the felonious. Yes, she could have done more to relieve suffering as a devout Christian might be wont to do. And yes, she seemingly acquired her make-up application skills directly from an overfed court jester.
But through it all, she was nice. And that has to count for something. A lot, if you ask me.
Even though Tammy Faye aligned herself with Kristians for too many years, I believe she was always a Christian because she concerned herself with such novel concepts as compassion, trust in the Lord, and the love of Christ. Those are the kinds of things Tammy Faye talked about when discussing her faith. Unlike too many of her Kristian cohorts, she searched for ways to practice her religion without obsessing over whose dick belongs where.
Just think what the world would be like if every Kristian decided to take Tammy Faye's approach while preaching the Gospel.
Rest in peace, Tammy Faye.