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The ex-wife of televangelist Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye Messner, has made a name for herself over the years since the scandal collapse of Bakker’s PTL Club for her over-the-top make-up and personality that appealed, for inexplicable reasons, to both certain branches of Southern fundamentalists as well as portions of the gay community. But in the last few years, it has been her ongoing battle with cancer that has lead to numerous appearances on “Larry King Live” and other talk shows. Her deteriorating condition was even documented on her son Jay’s reality TV show “One Punk Under God.”

This week, Tammy Faye announced on her website that she weighs a mere 60 pounds and can hardly swallow. Because of these and other factors, she and her doctors have decided to stop treatment and let the inevitable happen naturally. The tone of her fan letter is almost unnaturally cheery and optimistic, and, unfortunately, whatever final inspiration she tries to impart these days will still be marred–at least in some people’s eyes–by scandals of the past.

However, as someone who remembers the Bakker’s heyday all too well and still cringes over the enormous damage that was done, I have to say, Messner’s brave battle reminds that the gift of grace should be extended to those we might judge to deserve it the least.

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