APia 06/29 2218 PTL--Pat Boone IC IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Entertainer Pat Boone said he

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APia 06/29 2218 PTL--Pat Boone IC IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Entertainer Pat Boone said he would hesitate to get involved in the scandal-plagued PTL ministry because of the hostile feelings that many people now harbor toward TV preachers. "I don't want to be on a sinking ship," Boone said. Boone was in Iowa City Sunday and Monday for the Amana VIP golf tournament. Boone became the most recent player in the ongoing PTL scandal last week when Melvin Belli, lawyer for former PTL President Jim Bakker, said the singer should temporarily lead PTL while its members decide between Bakker and the Rev. Jerry Falwell. "He has no ax to grind," Belli said. Boone said that while he'd consider the position, he does not think he'd accept the ministry if it were offered to him. "I'm already too busy with my own work," he said. Boone first learned about Belli's proposal through a television report. "I heard it on the TV news in Los Angeles," Boone said as he drove a golf cart across Finkbine Golf Course on Sunday. Despite Belli's remark, Boone has not been offered the ministry. "And I don't think it's going to happen," he said. Before he would even consider such a career move, Boone said he would insist that the job be more than temporary. "I wouldn't want to step in for two or three weeks," he said. He said he would want to stay at least two or three years to make sure the ministry got back on its feet. Bakker, who co-hosted the PTL television program with his wife, Tammy Faye, turned his ministry over to Falwell in March after he confessed to an extra-marital sexual encounter. Falwell has accused Bakker of financial impropriety and of homosexual encounters. Bakker has accused Falwell of trying to steal his ministry. Boone said he does not think that Bakker is a homosexual. "I think those are wild, unsubstantiated charges." PTL, which stands for Praise The Lord or People That Love, is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Bakker has said that if he can't return to PTL, he will start a new ministry elsewhere. Boone said he hopes Bakker returns to TV evangelism. "People are very forgiving," Boone said. "He's repented. He's been chastised. And I don't think he'd make the same financial or moral mistakes again." Boone said he would be happy to appear on any new program the Bakkes hosted. "I'd do anything I could to help them," he said. Boone said that despite his recent mistakes, Bakker is a good Christian and a good minister. "I don't know anyone who hasn't made mistakes. I have been part of many wonderful things that he has done -- Jim Bakker is that kind of guy. He is very selfless. He is very generous." Boone said the controversy has one positive side: It is forcing TV evangelists to come clean. "It's necessary. Even the most solid and valid ministries need to be shaken sometimes." Boone said he thinks that the controversy also has been a heavy burden for Falwell. "There is probably not a day that goes by where Jerry doesn't regret taking on the ministry. But he did it because he thought it was a ministry worth saving." Boone said he thinks that PTL will survive. "And I think Jerry Falwell will get a lot of due credit for taking on a nasty assignment and doing good with it." Last page !


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