1988: TV evangelist quits over sex scandalJimmy Swaggart, America's leading television evangelist, has resigned from his ministry after it was revealed he had been consorting with a prostitute.
In front of a congregation of 7,000 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he sobbed and confessed to "moral failure" without actually going into any detail.I have sinned against you and I beg your forgiveness
Turning to his wife, Frances, he said: "I have sinned against you and I beg your forgiveness."
Mr Swaggart's confession is all the more scandalous since he himself unleashed fire and brimstone against rival TV evangelist Rev Jim Bakker a few months ago for committing adultery with minister and secretary Jessica Hahn.
Rev Bakker was subsequently defrocked and fired from his multi-million-dollar Praise the Lord TV station.
This time it was Mr Swaggart's turn to repent after officials from the Assemblies of God church were given photographs showing him taking a prostitute to a Louisiana motel.
They were handed in by rival TV evangelist Martin Gorman who was also defrocked after Mr Swaggart accused him of "immoral dalliances" in 1986.
Mr Gorman, who ran a successful TV show from New Orleans, had launched an unsuccessful m law suit against Mr Swaggart two years ago for spreading false rumours.
He also suggested Mr Swaggart was trying to undermine rival TV shows.
TV evangelism is certainly a lucrative business.
The Jimmy Swaggart Hour is watched by up to two million families and donations raised amount to about 0m a year.
After the Bakker scandal, donations from the faithful dropped dramatically and the same is likely to happen to Jimmy Swaggart's show.
The resignation will also displease Republican presidential contender Rev Pat Robertson. He is currently trying to drum up support in the "Bible Belt" southern states ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries on 8 March.
Rev Robertson has threatened to sue anyone who calls him a TV evangelist and prefers to be described as a businessman.