Evangelist and popular television show host Jim Bakker, 80, received a boost to his recovery from a recent stroke in the form of good news on two major fronts. The FDA has closed its investigation, and officials from more than one state have backed down following a federal lawsuit.
According to a July 8 close-out letter from the FDA, The Jim Bakker Show has addressed the concerns raised in its March 8 warning letter regarding The Jim Bakker Show and its promotion of Silver Solution. Attorneys for Bakker say this decision followed a recent evaluation of his immediate corrective actions in response to the letter.
According to the FDA's procedure, "A close-out letter may issue [only] when, based on FDA's evaluation, the firm has taken corrective action to address the violations contained in the Warning Letter. A close-out letter will not be issued on representations that some action will or has been taken. The corrective actions must actually have been made and verified by the FDA."
The FDA sent the original letter as part of its nationwide effort to prevent the sale of certain natural products and supplements that the government believes do not cure COVID-19. It issued warning letters March 8 to The Jim Bakker Show and six other companies for the reported sale of fraudulent coronavirus treatment products, according to CNBC. This followed the promotion of a colloidal silver supplement called Silver Solution on the show Feb. 12 via the appearance of Dr. Sherill Sellman, a board-certified integrative naturopathic doctor.
Bakker himself has taken the supplement personally for more than a decade, said his attorneys. But the mention of COVID-19 in connection with Silver Solution raised a storm, and Bakker's enemies were quick to attack on social media. The FDA warning letter quickly followed.
"Pastor Bakker never said Silver Solution would cure COVID-19, but we understand the FDA's difficulty in responding to such a fast-moving public health crisis," said former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Bakker's attorney. "We are grateful the FDA has recognized Pastor Bakker's immediate compliance with their request."
But the FDA warning was not the only battle Bakker faced in a situation that quickly escalated. In fact, Bakker's wife, Lori, wrote on Facebook that his stroke came "after the most vicious attack he has ever experienced," referring to the controversy and a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt against Bakker, saying Bakker's guest implied that Silver Solution could be used as a cure for COVID-19. A similar lawsuit from the state of Arkansas followed.
In addition, three California jurisdictions and the state of Arkansas demanded Bakker's Morningside Church hand over its records, including names, addresses and giving records of members of his congregation. Bakker's attorney responded by filing a federal lawsuit on his behalf, saying in a statement that such "heavy-handed demands by government officials could have broad and sinister repercussions for churches across America," adding, "Which ministry you donate to and how much you put into a church offering plate is your business—not the government's."
"No court has ordered Pastor Bakker and his church to hand over the personal information of any of their member-partners," a statement from Bakker's attorneys said. "When those requests came to the church, Pastor Bakker recognized an unprecedented and dangerous attack on religious freedom and filed suit in federal court to block that effort. In that lawsuit, the Arkansas attorney general and California officials, we believe, had no choice but to back down from that clear intrusion and, as the federal judge acknowledged, agreed to drop their request for the specific names of church partners. Pastor Bakker will continue to fight for religious freedom on behalf of Christians across America."
Bakker, whose co-host and wife, Lori, has been hosting his television show in his absence, made a July 8 appearance on the show to share updates on his recovery and challenge viewers to return to the Lord. He also announced the launch of a new Voice of the Prophets network, which means that "we can now be seen 24 hours a day in selected markets around the nation," he told viewers.
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