Dodgy pastor to pray at shady President’s inauguration
President-elect Donald Trump and Paula White have at least one thing in common: they are both hucksters who are dab hands at conning the gullible.
So it should come as no surprise that White, a “prosperity” televangelist, will will be praying at Trump’s inauguration.Whether her prayer will be uttered before or after a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is anyone’s guess.
Betsy Woodruff, of The Daily Beast, reports that White has been a Trump booster for years, and she helped organise a summit for him in the early days of his presidential campaign with other televangelists.
Her presence at the inauguration is a very strong indicator that Trump’s White House will be a safe space for the Christian right’s most controversial characters.
Think of Paula White’s ministry as the church version of Trump University. She preaches the prosperity gospel, an approach to Christianity that is, shall we say, unorthodox. Prosperity gospel preachers teach that God wants people to be rich, and that he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing and favor; the richer you are, the more God loves you.
Because, you know, Jesus wore wingtips and a Rolex.
These preachers also teach that the way to become wealthy is—you guessed it!—by giving them money. If you make a so-called “seed offering”—and the bigger the better—then preachers like White say the Lord will repay your generosity with bounteous riches.
White’s website promises that such seed offerings will help givers get immediate word from God.
When we receive your seed we have a very powerful Word from the Lord that we will send to you. We want to show our Gratitude to you and to help you grow in your Attitude of Gratitude.
The Word from the Lord, in this case, is delivered via Internet download, unless your seed is $50 or more, in which case you’ll get your Word of the Lord in the form of five DVDs.
If you think this sounds shady, you’re not alone. As ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley and his staff spent three years scrutinising the finances of White and a handful of other prosperity gospel-preaching televangelists. Investigators didn’t find any definitive proof of wrongdoing.
While Grassley was investigating White, Trump was praising her. CNN quoted him in a broadcast aired Nov. 26, 2007, describing her in glowing terms.
Paula White is not only a beautiful person, both inside and out, she has a significant message to offer anyone who will tune in and pay attention. She has amazing insight, the ability to deliver that message clearly, as well as powerfully.
White has expressed similar sentiments about Trump, once describing him as:
A diamond that reveals a new facet each time it is turned in the light.
And during Trump’s campaign, she vouched for his saintliness.
I can absolutely tell you that Mr. Trump has a relationship with God. He is a Christian, he accepts Jesus as his Lord and saviour.
As we detailed last year, the overlap between Trump’s and White’s message is glaring. One of the sermons for sale on her website is called “Why God Wants You Wealthy.” Trump, meanwhile, wrote a book titled Why We Want You to Be Rich. Trump and God both. Why aren’t you rich already?
Last month Donald Trump has settled three Trump University lawsuits for $25m (£20m).
The US president-elect was being sued by former students who paid $35,000 (£28,000) for real estate “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement:
Today’s $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.
Meanwhile, its reported here that an online petition objecting to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s plan to sing at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump is drawing wide support from Latter-day Saints and others. So far over 18,000 people have signed it.
The petition asks The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to decline an invitation for its world-famous choir to sing at the January 20 swearing-in at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, because doing so would:
Harm this spectacularly talented and beloved choir’s image.
Trump “does not reflect the values of Mormonism” nor represent the diversity of the faith’s 15.6 million members around the globe, the petition states. The choir’s participation also would wrongly suggest that the Utah-based denomination and its members support the incoming President’s “agenda, values and behaviours”.
An opposing petition has garnered just 63 signatures.