Dallas-bred documentarian Jeremy Simmons (“Transgeneration,” “Gay Hollywood” and the MTV “True Life” episode about the Walt Whitman Community School) unveils a new reality series on Wednesday: “One Punk Under God.”
For six-episodes, he follows the scion of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker little “Jamie Charles,” the boy who stood to inherit the gospel theme park Heritage USA. That dream died in 1988 when daddy Jim was busted in an adulterous affair, charged with fraud and sentenced to 45 years in federal prison.
Now covered with tattoos and piercings, Little Jamie is all grown up and goes by the name Jay. And his parents are divorced.
Living in Atlanta, Jay leads the non-denominational Revolution Church. His barely communicates with his father anymore. But he’s close to Tammy Faye, who’s been diagnosed with stage four cancer. It’s hard not to like the perky Tammy Faye, and watching her slowly suffer is very sad.
While Tammy has been a friend of the gay community, she still says she has “a problem” with gays. Don’t believe me? Just watch “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” again.
In the second episode of “One Punk Under God,” Jay visits the gay-affirming church Open Door. He also meets with some transgenders, who were kicked out of their church. Then Jay attends a lesbian wedding. As the brides start crying while trying to recite their vows, Jay just melts.
He’s forced to re-examine his beliefs about sin and homosexuality. He anguishes over Romans: Chapter 1. And he comes to a decision that being gay is not a sin.
Jay delivers a sermon about taking a gay-affirming stance and immediately loses funding for Revolution Church. It’s an awesome episode. Even Ted Haggard would have to be proud of the courageous Bakker boy.
Series premieres Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. on the Sundance Channel. Gay episode airs Dec. 20.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 20, 2006.