American Televangelism and Participatory Cultures

Fans, Brands, and Play With Religious "Fakes"

  • Denis J. Bekkering

Part of the Contemporary Religion and Popular Culture book series (CRPC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Denis J. Bekkering
    Pages 1-18
  3. Denis J. Bekkering
    Pages 19-46
  4. Denis J. Bekkering
    Pages 47-73
  5. Denis J. Bekkering
    Pages 151-186
  6. Denis J. Bekkering
    Pages 187-193
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 195-228

About this book


This book examines unintended participatory cultures and media surrounding the American televangelists Robert Tilton and Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner. It brings to light heavily ironic fan followings; print, audio, and video projects; public access television parodies; and other comedic participatory practices associated with these controversial preachers from the 1980s onwards. For Tilton’s ministry, some of these activities and artifacts would prove irksome and even threatening, particularly an analog video remix turned online viral sensation. In contrast, Bakker-Messner’s “campy” fans – gay men attracted to her “ludicrous tragedy” – would provide her unexpected opportunities for career rehabilitation.

 Denis J. Bekkering challenges “supply-side” religious economy and branding approaches, suggestions of novelty in religion and “new” media studies, and the emphasis on sincere devotion in research on religion and fandom. He also highlights how everyday individuals have long participated in public negotiations of Christian authenticity through tongue-in-cheek play with purported religious “fakes.”


Robert Tilton Tammy Faye Bakker Tammy Faye Messner George Whitefield Pastor Gas

Authors and affiliations

  • Denis J. Bekkering
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarCalgaryCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-00574-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-00575-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site