Disgraced televangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart are among the leaders of religious organizations that received loans through the government's COVID relief program, according to an analysis by the Guardian.
- The publication reported that Bakker’s Morningside Church Productions in Missouri received between $350,000 and $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government.
- The Guardian noted that Bakker “was defrocked by the Assemblies of God after a highly publicized sexual encounter with a church secretary; was imprisoned in the 90s on dozens of fraud and conspiracy charges surrounding his church fundraising; and now promotes emergency survival products.”
- The televangelist was also sued by Missouri’s attorney general this year for selling a fake “coronavirus cure.”
- Meanwhile, Swaggart’s Family Worship Center in Louisiana received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP loans.
- Swaggart “was defrocked by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in the early 1990s after being implicated in sex scandals.”
In all, more than 10,600 religious organizations received at least $3 billion in loans through the program, according to the Guardian’s analysis, including churches, synagogues, temples and private religious schools.