End Times pastor Jim Bakker has been facing various financial and legal problems ever since he used a February episode of his television program to promote a silver solution sold by his network by suggesting it could possibly kill the coronavirus and heal those who have been infected
The Jim Bakker Show is suggesting that the silver solution it sells can kill the coronavirus within 12 hours. pic.twitter.com/kbUGnUp69m
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) February 12, 2020
Bakker is currently being sued by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt “for misrepresentations about the effectiveness of ‘Silver Solution’ as a treatment for 2019 novel coronavirus.” Yesterday, Bakker’s legal team issued a press release announcing that it had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against Bakker, who they claim “is being unfairly targeted by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air … This case is about religious freedom.”
The motion to dismiss contains a sworn statement from Maricela Woodall, who is Bakker’s adopted daughter and the Chief Operating Officer of Bakker’s Morningside Church ministry. Woodall asserts that Morningside considers Bakker’s daily television program to be a religious service and everything Bakker says on it to be a sermon directed at his congregation.
Woodall and Morningside insist that Bakker’s silver solution was “made available to this generation by God” for the benefit of their viewers and therefore any attempt to hold Bakker accountable for falsely promoting it as a coronavirus cure is an unconstitutional attack on Bakker’s religious liberty.
We consider each of the persons who view The Jim Bakker Show, or observe our other forms of mass media, to be members of our congregation and refer to such persons as our “partners” … In accordance with our religious beliefs, we consider the entire service, including the remarks of Pastor Bakker, pastoral staff, and guests, to constitute a sermon directed to each of our partners.
To us, the ﬁlming and broadcast of The Jim Bakker Show serves as an expression of our underlying religious beliefs, an effort to inculcate, and an important religious practice of itself.
Our sincerely-held religious beliefs require us to encourage our partners to prepare spiritually, mentally, and physically for the second-coming of Christ, and assist them in doing so by bringing experts to our broadcasts to teach how to accomplish this goal. An integral part of this expressive ministry and practice, as well as the doctrinal teachings of our religion, includes educating our partners concerning, and offer them, products, including Silver Solution, that we believe have been made available to this generation by God. We believe in providing practical tools and supplies to prepare for the end-times, in connection with the solicitation of funds for the ministry.
Each of the products offered on The Jim Bakker Show, including Silver Solution, are products that Pastor Bakker and Morningside feel divinely inspired to offer to the world. Such offerings are an integral part of Morningside’s mission and a vital part of how we interact with our partners to spread the Word of God.
Educating our partners concerning, and offering them, products, including Silver Solution, in connection with the solicitation of funds for the ministry serves as an expression of our religious beliefs, an effort to inculcate, and an important religious practice of itself.
Governmental action that penalizes, or prevents, or seeks to penalize or prevent, our offering of Silver Solution in connection with our commenting upon or discussion of current events, including COVID-19, during The Jim Bakker Show, or to censor or punish, or require additions to, the content of the sermons delivered by Pastor Bakker, pastoral staff, and guests, restricts our religiously-motivated speech, as well as our actions or refusals to act that are substantially motivated by our religious beliefs.