The Tactics of the Prosperity Preacher and the Pedophile
There is a spectrum of evil. The most egregious acts involve an agent preying on the insecurities or unchangeable characteristics of a disadvantaged group for the agent’s personal gain. Child molesters fall into this camp. They prey on a child’s naivete. They take what they want and leave the child defiled, without innocence. Thanks to con-artists like Oral Roberts, a new species of Evangelicalism that uses the pedophile’s tactics has gained strength in the last fifty years. It capitalizes on believers’ gullibility and leverages its platform to siphon money from the faithful until they are left with nothing. It is a spiritual parasite that is deadly to the intellectually shallow and the financially vulnerable. The distributors of this pariah are some of the most detestable deceivers that I will ever discuss.
For more on Christian abuse, check out Creed Trumps Christ.
The evil that I am referencing is called the Prosperity Theology movement. Practitioners include Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Mark Burns, Robert Tilton, Jesse Duplantis and many others. They are the scum of the Earth. Their lust for money is only surpassed by their capacity for lies. They instruct critically or terminally ill patients to forgo medical treatment and send them money as “seed faith” instead. People have literally died from listening to these charlatans. There’s really no way to be nuanced about this. Many of these preachers claim advanced degrees from universities, but don’t cite where they earned them from. Several news reports have shown that many of these ‘pastors’ obtain degrees from one-story pill mills that aren’t accredited. These schools have names like Life Christian University. Have you heard of it?
The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil, but…
The Prosperity Gospel espouses that material wealth is a symptom of fidelity to God’s teachings and a reward for living a righteous life. Contrary to the mainstream Christian tradition, it does not view money as an offense to God or as an obstacle to the Kingdom of God. Their theology says that money is God’s way of saying thank you. Americans have managed to “capitalize” Christianity because it was impossible to “Christianize” capitalism. Mormonism made America a central part of its theology. The Prosperity Gospel movement has made the foundation of capitalism, unbridled greed, the foundation of Christianity.
Jesus said “It’s easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The scriptural basis for why this whole idea is ridiculous is so overwhelming, that it’s impossible to list all of it on a blog post. Jesus erupted into fury when money changers and merchants were doing business in the temple. That’s what these pastors are doing. They’re peddling lies for their personal profit and defrauding their congregations during every single sermon. They convince their followers to buy them multi-million dollar jets and then heap praise on themselves for the audacity of their faith.
Prosperity-pushers have built a religion on the notion that “the love of money is the root of all evil” is not meant to be taken literally. Of course, they say that they don’t love money. They say that they love God and money is a natural effect of their righteous love. It begs the question: if God said that the love of money is the root of all evil, why would he reward his faithful followers with such a morally precarious gift? It’s like a parent saying that the love of drugs are evil, but if you behave good, I’ll give you drugs…
Curiously, the pastors of these megachurches are the only ones that see titanic returns on their spiritual investments. These pastors create churches that prey on vulnerable people to suck as much money from them as possible, tax free. They drive luxury cars and live in multi-million dollar homes. Often, they put on fund-raising drives for such luxurious expenditures and they’re congregation pays for it. When they do this, they claim that God has instructed them to “bleed them for x million dollars.” They’re bleeding Christ all right, but not in the way that they say.
Just Like Trump, They Don’t Value the Truth
They also refuse financial transparency and have been investigated for fraud by Congress. Sadly, these people are embraced by mainstream Evangelicals because their message resonates with the conservative political base. These charlatans all have very similar profiles. Paula White gave the invocation at Donald Trump’s inauguration. She’s been divorced three times and has been criticized for predatory televangelism. She has no degree, of any kind, but somehow, she is considered a Biblical expert.
Mark Burns is a prominent pastoral surrogate for Donald Trump. He lied on his website about his religious credentials (he has none…nothing). Burns staunchly defended Trump when the President was accused of sexual assault. He supported the gun-toting pedophile, Roy Moore, and sympathized with the White Supremacists at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. His enthusiasm for prosperity is only matched by his silence towards sex crimes. He frequently appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX as a moral authority, which is ludicrous. But, since Trump was desperate to make it look like he values diversity, he gave the black charlatan a platform.
For more on the Christian Right’s treatment of women, check out 4 Reasons Why Evangelical Women Hate Themselves.
Donald Trump is the perfect embodiment of the Prosperity Gospel. He has no integrity, no knowledge of scripture, an addiction to materialism and a knack for preying on vulnerable and impressionable Americans. Christ’s antithesis is now considered a Godsend by the Evangelical Right. No longer is the love of money the root of all evil. Now, the love of money is the root of all virtue. As Trump, the Pope of the Evangelicals, would say, the Prosperity Gospel preachers aren’t evil, they’re winning. Trump’s Gospel is certainly easier to understand for intellectually and educationally stunted parishioners, but it’s also, shockingly, even more harmful.