Tammy Faye Stops Cancer Treatments

Things aren’t sounding good for Tammy Faye Messner, who has been battling lung cancer. Yesterday she posted a letter on her website, which read, in part:

Tammy_faye“The doctors have stopped trying to treat the cancer and so now it’s up to God and my faith. And that’s enough! But please continue to pray for the pain and sick stomach. My precious daughter, Tammy Sue, and her wonderful friends are staying with me while Roe builds churches. They don’t want me falling down the stairs. I am down weight wise to 65 pounds, and look like a scarecrow. I need God’s miracle to swallow. To those of you who are suffering as I…..”don’t give up”!! Make up your mind you’re going to LIVE !! That is NOT EASY! The path gets so long. I look at young people and wish with all my heart for just one day of ‘feeling great’. You see, God gives out his promises, they do not lie, they do not fail. We do not have to BEG him for them, they are FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

We send our prayers to Tammy Faye, and salute her courage.

Letter from Tammy Faye [official site]

(via popbytes)


  1. pacificoceanboy says

    Her husband was a crook and she is a holy roller who wears way too much make up, BUT I have to give her props for being there with sympathy for HIV + positive people back in the day when everyone even our own community were running and hiding from those suffering. She came out and said that it wasn’t her place to judge, her place was to provide comfort and support.

  2. Brian says

    I don’t agree with her fundamentalist Christianity, but it sure is nice to see a prominent religious conservative who admits to having faults and who treats other people with heartfelt kindness and respect. Poor lamb. I hope they can keep her comfortable.

  3. stephen says

    I have no idea who she is (bit before my time i suppose)

    but i admire her strength and faith

  4. Acolyte says

    I don’t think she’s as fundamentalist as a) she used to be, b) everyone thought she was, or c) both. She’s one of those rare jewels to emgerge from the dung-pile of televangalistic fundotardalism. She briefly wrote an advice column for XY magazine. If you haven’t yet seen “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” (narrated by RuPaul), you must.

  5. cd says

    thanks Andy for saluting someone who was so welcoming of gay people, yes, easy to make fun of but very sincere in her beliefs.

  6. Dan E says

    She’s hardly your typical fundamentalist. She’s actually been a friend of the gay community, and her son, who is a preacher, has come out in favor of gay marriage.

    She’s an odd bird, no doubt about it, but a good soul and her passing will be a loss.

  7. Rey says

    I grew up thinking Tammy Faye was a horrible woman for being involved with the whole evangelical thing. I only started looking at her differently after her divorce and especially when she and JM J. Bullock had that talk show together.

    My partner grew up the son of a preacher in Pennsylvania where they actually had Jim and Tammy over for dinner every once in awhile. His parents even invested in that horrible “Heritage” scheme.

    We both watched _Eyes of Tammy Faye_ when it was in theatres and both felt we learned a lot about this woman.

    She may be a bit naive, and perhaps a little simplistic, but she comes across as a very loving soul – and as a person who will not judge others despite how easy those with a similar faith have made it. The unafraid work she did with HIV+ folks was groundbreaking at the time and so counter to the mass shunning people of all faiths engaged in. For that alone, she deserves some kudos.

    Her son, who is now a preacher as well, has been losing a number of members of his church since embracing gay people and refusing to speak out against them. I have to think his mother played more than a small part in allowing him to feel comfortable expressing his faith without dogpiling on gay people.

    I’m sending good thoughts Tammy Faye’s way. Not only is she a decent and loving person, but I’d love for her to have a little more time to sing a dorky tune and spread her love and cheer to other people who could really use it.

    Come on, Tammy. There are a number of us rooting for you!

  8. says

    If only *our* community had as much love for ourselves as Tammy Faye does. She’s a damn good soul and mocking her appearance only reinforces how trite and superficial our community can often-times be.

  9. says

    BTW, Dan – Your comment doesn’t even make sense. The cosmetic industry is praying for the looming death of Tammy Faye?

    I wouldn’t wanna be around you, that bad karma you got must be oozin’ outta yo’ pores!

  10. JLS says

    If her faith was so strong, she should look forward to the “eternal paradise” that Christianity claims to offer. Religion really is quite the silly delusion.

    That being said, I am sorry for her suffering.

  11. Zeke says

    Those who are calling Tammy Faye a fundamentalist are speaking from ignorance. She is FAR from a fundamentalist. Tammy Faye is a kind, compassionate, loving and non-judgmental woman of faith. She has been a very open, visible and tireless supporter of the gay community for many years.

    She has a son who is a progressive, gay supportive, marriage equality supporting Christian minister in Atlanta, where such a thing is unheard of. He maintains the gay supportive aspect of his ministry in spite of the fact that he has taken a lot of heat for it.

    God bless Tammy Faye. I pray that she finds comfort and ease of mind in her final days.


  12. JL says

    It is rare to find someone in evangelical Christian circles who has been as loving, accepting, and non-judgmental as Tammy Faye. I applaud her faith, for she seems to be someone who is actually LIVING it, and heeding the words of Christ to love her fellow man. Many others from her background can only accuse and condemn. I’ll be praying for her suffering to be eased as she goes through what sadly seems to be the final battle. Heaven will be brighter and infinitely more fun when she arrives!

  13. Jeff says

    Thank you for your support of us Tammy Faye (and your support as well Jay) We love you and yo are TRULY an inspiration. You are in my prayers. Much love!

  14. Daniel says

    I’m an athiest and have a pretty low opinion of religion in general, but I think Tammy Faye is a remarkable and loving woman. Especially considering her background it’s amazing that she could be so loving. Even with her idiosyncrasies she is a truly good person. An example of what’s right with religion in a world with so many examples of what’s wrong.

  15. anon says

    Lung cancer is a horrible way to go. Don’t smoke! Gay men rant and rave about all the abuse they suffer, then go out and smoke and drink too much, which is clearly much worse on a regular basis. I’m beginning to think it’s evidence of neurosis to take up the habit.

    Tammy’s Ex may have well been on the down-low as well, which explains the compassion. It’s amazing she was never implicated in the fraud of her husband. Did anyone in the 1980’s think her constant flow of tears were genuine? PT Barnum all over again.

  16. Brian says

    I take back my description of her as “fundamentalist”… I should have said “evangelical”, or something else. Tammy Faye always seemed to me to be a little out of place among the Jim Bakkers and Jerry Falwells of the world, but is still often thought of in her PTL incarnation initially. A little further inspection of her life since her divorce from Bakker shows a wacky, eccentric, but honestly kind and loving woman. She shows that you can have very conservative faith, while still treating others with huge kindness and respect even if they might not agree with her on a religious standpoint. If only more Christians could be a little more like that… the world would be a kinder and safer place.

    It’s sad to hear that she’s suffering. I’ll send a little love her way.

    Namaste indeed.

  17. mark m says

    It’s easy for a cynical atheist to dismiss Tammy Faye (along with most Christianity) as a joke.

    Try to see it this way…

    Tammy’s faith is what allows her to be TRUE to the teachings of Christianity, which, when followed as they should be, allow for compassion, love, acceptance, non-judgment, all of which benefit all people, but especially gays and lesbians.

    Rather than focus on the futility of her belief in the divine, I choose to focus on how it has shaped the way she treats others.

    Tammy, you have my prayers.

  18. Dan E says


    A small correction: her son moved his church to Brooklyn when his wife got into grad school at NYU; one of my best friends here in the city is actually buddies with him, and says he’s a great guy.

    That being said, his church is also still present in Atlanta, with a different minister.

  19. says

    Tammy is really a beautiful emotional human being. Angels always get taken early from this planet.

  20. 000000 says

    Naturally, smarmy bastards start in on her husband and her makeup. Fame is truly the opportunity for those without it to cope with ennui.

  21. Cory says

    This news makes me sad. I do not pretend to know the exact details of her life, but I do know that Tammy Faye has shown genuine compassion to all walks of life and has attempted to preach the true meaning of religion: love, acceptance and understanding. Tammy Faye and her family’s embrace of the gay community and of HIV patients at a time when the world shunned them away speaks volumes of their compassion and love for mankind. I wish the rest of the organized religion world would take a lesson from her and realize that life is too short for the hatred they preach. May she prove everyone wrong and show us that there is hope and survive this terrible diagnosis.

    …and Mark M, once again you are a voice of reason, I enjoy reading your posts.

  22. Zeke says

    Mark M, once again you hit the nail on the head my friend.

    This is probably going to be my greatest “That’s so gay” moment EVER since I’ve been a Towleroadie but here goes:

    “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” was an INCREDIBLY inspirational movie to me. It inspired me as a human, as a man, as a gay man, as a husband, as a father, as a neighbor, as a friend, as an adversary and as a Christian. I’ve watched it twice and cried like a baby both times.

    How frickin “GAY” is THAT?!

    I feel that I am better in each of my life roles and I am a better person because of the inspiration of this woman. She inspired me, not by pushing herself or her beliefs on me and not by beating me over the head with a Bible, but simply by exemplifying love, kindness, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness in her words and actions every day, EVEN when she was going through personal conflicts and physical pains of her own that would break most people down and make them angry, selfish and bitter.

    That kind of Christianity will get you burned at the stake as a heretic in Christian America today. However, Tammy Faye has had the spirit and the courage to proudly and unapologetically live it and proclaim it anyway.

    I try to do the same. I guess that makes me a Big Gay Tammy Faye Christian!

    My atheist friends here are gonna have a HEY DAY with that! :)

  23. says

    Tammy Faye is an angel. Her faith and love are reassuring in this often overly cynical world. I find it disheartening when those in our community trash anyone who has a strong relationship with God (in the Christian sense). This spontaneous reaction to Christians and Christianity is just as bad as the knee-jerk reaction many on the religious right have to gays; shouldn’t we be better than that? It’s people like Tammy who have helped me make peace between my spirituality and my sexuality, and even find strength in my faith.

    In her later years Tammy has preached love, acceptance, and forgiveness. All we can do now is pray for her. My heart goes out to her and her family, and I pray for those who don’t yet know the loving God that has given us a gem like Tammy.

  24. Bill H says

    Wow! I’m so encouraged to read all the good thoughts and prayers being sent Tammy Faye’s way. I’m not a person of faith (in the strict religious construct), but I do believe in true Christian values such as love, compassion, and strength of spirit. I seek to follow the highest tenet of Christianity which is to love thy neighbor as thyself. I can only hope to be as good as dear Tammy Faye in this regard. She’s a remarkable woman who will be missed when her God calls her home.

  25. pacificoceanboy says


    then color me smarmy

    Truth is truth.

    I gave the girl props if you read my post. i also slamed our own community because tammy was out there giving our HIV member sympathy when dicks like you were probably bitching and hiding off in a corner.

    I gave her props. But truth is truth. her husband was a crook. She wears too much make up. truth is truth. AGAIN I state “BUT I have to give her props for her sympathy and compassion towards HIV+ people when many even OUR OWN community ran and hid”

    Zeke, Mark and gang. I would say that Tammy, You zeke, etc are all nice and compassionate despite your religions. I don’t think a case can be made to equate your kindness with your religion. Even if the lot of you were human sacraficing pagans you would be the nicest and most compassionate human sacrificing bloody pagans out there. :-)

  26. sparks says

    I’m not a religious person in any sense of the word, but I admire Tammy Faye as perhaps one of the truest and finest humanitarians our generation has known, and further admire her as someone who practices what she believes, and embodies warmth and kindness EVEN when faced with challenges that would break anyone else down.

  27. Dean says

    Yes, Tammy Faye had scandal and probably wears too much makeup. So what??!! She’s human. Being Christian doesn’t make you perfect. It does, however, give you the tools to help deal with imperfection.

    I think Tammy Faye is one of very few public “Christians” who actually deserves the name. She talks the talk, but- more importantly- she tries to walk the walk.

  28. ramal says

    Those eyes which bled mascara for so many years when she and Jim had their television show were permanently tattoed years ago to resemble mascara. Now that took guts!

    She is living proof that age does bring wisdom. May your passing be quiet, dignified and pain free and may you find peace on the other side, whether it be the “streets of gold” scenario you so fervently believe in or just the big sleep, which is far more likely.

  29. Zeke says

    I think DEAN hit on something VERY important.

    Christianity is a tool used by millions of people to guide their lives. It’s like a hammer. Some people use them to build up, while others use them to tear down. In fact the very SAME hammer can be used to build up AND tear down. It’s not the tool that is corrupt, in and of itself, it’s who uses the tool and how the tool is used.

    [God I sound like an NRA ad!]


    I understand that some people feel that those who need spiritual tools to help them be better people are weak minded and delusional. Perhaps they’re right. But as long as the result is a person who treats others with love, respect, compassion and justice, why should we care from where they get their inspiration?

    POB and others seem to feel that religion is the source of all evil. I sometimes think they are right. But it does no good to attack a tool. You can beat a hammer with a stick until you’re blue in the face, it won’t change the way it’s used by the next person who picks it up.

    I believe that people who are so frustrated by people of faith, and the horrible things that are done in the name of religion, would be much more effective if they focused more on challenging the abuse and misuse of spirituality (which is the definition of “religion” in my book) and less on trying to convince people that they are fools for being spiritual or demeaning them for feeling that they need spiritual tools to get through the perils of life.

    We ALL, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Wiccan, Agnostic or atheist, have life tools that we use to motivate us, challenge us and inspire us. Everyone, spiritual or not spiritual has people, stories and life experiences that inspire them. That inspiration is a tool. As long as a tool is used to build up and not tear down, we should celebrate it, WHATEVER it is. When ANY tool is misused to bring pain, injustice or oppression against ANYONE we should doggedly challenge those who are misusing it.

    I may be an overly simplistic person but to me it’s as simple as that.

  30. Theres says

    My heart is breaking for her kids. I thought that she was a freak until I saw how non-judgmental and kind hearted she was on Surreal Life. All of my most positive and good thoughts to her and her family.

  31. Daniel says

    Mark M., since I’m the only one who admitted to being an athiest here I guess you’re referring to me. I’m confused as to why–I didn’t mock Tammy Faye in any way.

  32. says

    I was a guest on her show with Jim Bullock years ago — Tammy was sweet and kind, and funny as hell. I don’t care what religion she is, no one should have to go through the torment of dying from lung cancer. I send her my best wishes.

  33. holdensf says

    what the hell is wrong with you Dan? you’re as bad as the bible thumpers who cheer when gay men die of AIDS. shame on you.

  34. el polacko says

    this world will be a less loving place when we lose tammy faye. if only more so-called christians would follow her example.

  35. pacificoceanboy says

    zeke :-)

    Your nice. I would say that even if you worshiped a pink polkadotted elephant that danced on the moon you would be one of the nicest worshipers of the pink polkadotted elephant that dances on the moon.

    You weren’t some evil demon child till the age you were old enough to understand the words of a preacher and or read the bible. Your niceness has roots that go way deeper and farther back than that.

    You and Tammy Faye are nice people who just happen to also be christians. Said faith like a tool (wink) might shape the expresion of that niceness, but is not the source there of.

    Anyway; someone should slip tamy faye some medicinal herb to ease the pain of cancer, and zeke keep on being you = nice in spite of being surrounded by mean curmudgeouns like me :-)

  36. Becks07 says

    This is really sad — she wasn’t nuts, she was just being herself. And she gave a helluva good example of how to be a Christian. God bless her and while I don’t exactly believe in Heaven, if there is one, she’s gonna be rockin’ a “Tammy’s House Party” up there soon.

  37. Carl says

    No one should experience such suffering! I pray she may soon have peace.

    As for her so called gay friendliness, she’s the poster child for the “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” wing of the religious right which is in some ways more dangerous to LGBTQ people than the outright gay haters.

  38. James Chapaman says

    Hey everybody
    Im james, and Tammy faye is my grandmother
    She is amazing and is very thankful for all the support and plez she is very sick and It really hurts becuz I live with her
    so try not to make Jokes cuz its reall not funny

  39. Chris says

    I heard Tammy Faye speak here in DC once. She is a wonderful person. Thanks for the smiles and the laughter and the support. My prayers are with you.

  40. Rich says

    Tammy may God hold you in his hands and comfort you. Keep you free from pain and suffering as he waits at the garden gate to greet you. God speed.

  41. Rich says

    Tammy may God hold you in his hands and comfort you. Keep you free from pain and suffering as he waits at the garden gate to greet you. God speed.

  42. Mike says

    It is sad to see some of the sarcastic comments about Ms. Tammy Faye. Remember, back in the mid-1980s she was the ONLY person of the evangelical ilk who was helping to set up care hospices for HIV patients and she was supported by her then husband, Jim Bakker. For all his, and her, faults, they were very good people with much more compassion towards “the other” than they have been given credit for. I know what Jim Bakker did was wrong (and he has paid his dues on that one), but never forget that the whole scandal was instigated by Jerry Falwell, who has an absolute HATRED for gays and lesbians and was very critical of the Bakker’s AIDs hospices. Falwell was of the mind that gays are being “punished” and to do anything to help them was interference with God’s “vengeance on homosexuals and their deviant, sinful lifestyle”. I pray for Tammy Faye every day. She’s a wonderful lady and she deserves to have at least 20 more years of living.

  43. MIke says

    I believe in Christ but don’t go to church. There’s parts in the bible that rail against homosexuality, but also against even thinking about sin is as bad as doing it. To hate someone, make you guilty of murder…. ect. So by that standard none of us are perfect, so for any preacher to judge gays is wrong. That’s between them and God. Personally I found some of the biggest hypocrites and judgmental people when I went to church. It was almost like some kind of contest of who could pretend to be the most pious, while in real life they were screwing over people in business, and stealing from family. I find it funny that Christ didn’t talk about gays at all.Instead what he railed against was the Church Proifiteers, like the TV Preachers nowadays that have $100 DVD. whos shows look more like an infomercial, than a place to bring people to a closer relationship with God.

    I kind of became bitter afer a family member who would never help me, donated 19000 to a TV preacher, and didn’t even offer to give me the portion of that money that was mine. (From a fire that burned up my test equipment).

    Since then I keep it simple. Just treat others as you would have them treat you, and try to believe with out seeing anything supernatural in my whole life. It’s hard to believe, after seeing loved ones you look up to die and suffer, and never once getting a sign of the afterlife. I would love to have the faith of a chld again.

    So with all this, who am I to judge anyone?
    I can’t, and I won’t. And when Im feeling down, I do something nice for someone worse off than me, and that’s something I see in Tammy. She is a good person. A sweet person, and it saddens me to see her sufffer. I prayed for her healing, but I wish my faith was strong enough to move mountains, becasue if anyone deserves to live it’s her. But so do a lot of good people that die.

  44. Zeke says

    Mike, I REALLY understand where you’re coming from.

    If you are at all interested in joining others who share your spirituality, AND you’re frustration with religion, check out your local United Church of Christ (UCC) congregation. NOT to be confused with the Church of Christ.

    You can find more information about UCC and where to find a local congregation at GodIsStillSpeaking.org.

  45. says

    Guys, how about scrapping all that? HHmmmm? The lady is wasting away, her cancer treatment aborted; and her offspring by her side watching Mommy die before their eyes. She won’t be here much longer. Time to go “home”. I really hope for her that this new home is a nice place. And that’s that. When someone leaves, don’t you give them a hug before they go? Stop bitching and give her a hug.

  46. anon says

    I see Towleroad made the Google News headline page with this story!

    James: your grandparents swindled the life savings away from hundreds if not thousands of poor folks who didn’t know what they were getting into, which is also not really funny either. One may suspect that the wealth you now enjoy is from that take. May God forgive your grandmother for her sins.

  47. TomA says

    Is the Tammy Bakker who along with her Christian husband Jim controlled the PTL Club gave themselves $200,000 each per year with $4,000,000 bonuses. The same Bakkers who bilked tens of thousands of retired believers out of tens of millions of dollars from their life’s savings. Is this the heavy smoking Tammy Bakker who was directly involved in these schemes? Should we be sorry that she has non-treatable, self induced lung cancer? Perhaps, but remember, she smoked a huge number of cigaretts to induce this cancer, she had a lot of choices in the matter.

    Should we forgive her for screwing all those people out of their money… perhaps not, many of them are still suffering by the loss caused by Tammy & her husband / business partner, Jim.

  48. KW says

    Toma – she never smoked. Her cancer began as colon cancer years ago, was treated into remission, and then metastasized to her lungs a couple years ago. I think we can all assume that your accounting is as spurious as your assessment of her medical condition.

  49. Nicole says

    I don’t know much about you Tammy Faye but God is going to heal you today! I hope you are reading, there is hope in your plate!

  50. says

    It brings saddness to me that Tammy is suffering. Nonetheless, as a Television producer and Pastor; I know that to be seen in proper lighting on camera it does take make up. so, lets rest that.
    People may not have liked Tammy, but She never ever judged anyone for their life.
    She brings joy to millions and I am surely one of them.

    feel free to write me at LHMI@ hotmail.com
    or call 206-736-9688