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TOUR THE WORLD FAMOUS yloi keW 4c “ORLEAWIlpo Si o iSTOR6 C UV ALIAS UM READINGS RITUALS CRAFTS SUPPUES LECTURES TOURS ons-eats DOLLS 724 Demise Nem Orlesee,, Tell& 1611*~/D rellairille lb. Cram Mode Lemma SINCE 1972 it C-411; 4 4 i l t ‘ gf r aM A Offers ‘_ y l atio the most intriguing and exciting tours. guaranteed NOT to be a run-of-the-mill experience. P.” \(OVA VIP Mel o ni -10011ettin wet 514/MIMI/UP MO. VOODOO WAUUNG TOUR VOODOO TOUR VIA VEHICLE VOODOO RITUAL SWAMP TOUR APPOIX VMS balm castanited bog Owls Canis Armload to the meticulous JULIA AUSTIN GRAPHIC DESIGN ‘luta Stagg Ruta Maya Coffee Is grown by a cooperative of Mayan farmers In the highlands of Chiapas. Ruta Maya Coffee Is 100% shadegrown. organic coffee, certified by the OGA. 21 Wet Fourth street Autlin TX 78701 512 472 9637 / 800 510 CUM cubicom / ruturs6yanet with for-profit ventures. Competing for airtime and the checkbook loyalty of millions of followers, the Swaggarts often undermined and even launched full scale attacks on other missions. Critical of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s gaudy personal styles and their television show’s pandering to the world of entertainment, the Swaggarts kept a file on them, and took every opportunity to speak ill of them, according to Seaman. But it was a far less visible figure in the evangelical world, New Orleans preacher Marvin Gorman, whose history with Swaggart was instrumental in his eventual defrocking. Gorman, who was a friend of Jim Bakker, had been a rising star in the televangelist world until 1986, when he was summoned by the Assemblies of God hierarchy to answer charges of adultery. Though he confessed to a moment of weakness with a distraught female parishioner and denied having intercourse, Gorman received extremely harsh treatment and suffered catastrophic professional and financial losses. He didn’t forget that Jimmy Swaggart had been instrumental both in making sure the church leaders heard about his lapse, and in handing down the punishment. A little over a year later, in the fall of 1987, it was Gorman who set up the camera in the room across the courtyard from the one where Jimmy was meeting Debra Murphree. Seaman reports that Gorman was willing to make a deal with. Swagultimately Swaggart was too arrogant, spurred on by his steely wife Frances, to keep his end of the deal. Gorman took his information to the church brethren, thereby assuring Swaggart’s defrocking and financial collapse. Seaman’s theory is that Jimmy Swaggait is at least partly a victim, that his weakness for prostitutes is the inevitable result of a loveless childhood, the sexually repressive doctrines of the church, and a domineering wife. I suspect many readers will, like me, find this thesis less than convincing, for a couple of reasons. First, even if we were inclined to accept a “victim” excuse, there is insufficient evidence. Why does some unspecified childhood interest in pornography \(which could hardly be account for his behavior with a prostitute decades later? And second, it’s inconsistent with Seaman’s overall characterization of Swaggart as autocratic, charismatic, and relentlessly ambitious. His acts with Murphree seem to be simply about power, domination, and sexual acting-out all pretty ordinary forms of human misbehavior. Together, Ann Seaman’s Swaggart and Rod Davis’s American Voudou offer a rare view of two sets of religious practices and beliefs that at first glance couldn’t be more different, but which, paradoxically, also seem to grow from some common and uniquely Southern roots. Swaggart’s “demon obsession” would have made perfect sense to the priests and priestesses in the world Davis conjures. Perhaps if the Reverend Swaggart had simply made ebo more often, he never would have found himself in a pitiful Baton Rouge motel room, asking Debra Murphree to dance naked for him. Austin writer Elisabeth H. PiedmontMarton last appeared in these pages with an essay on Rachel P. Maines’ The Technology of Orgasm. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Join the Texas Civil Rights Project $25 a year. Volunteers needed. 2212 E. MLK, Austin, TX 78702. for more information, JULY 21, 2000 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25