Friday, December 30, 2016

The perfect pastor for a Trump inauguration -- a suspect televangelist who seems all about money

According to the talk going around, the Trump team has been having trouble coming up with A-list entertainers to perform at the inauguration.   Originally, they billed the headliners as a 16 year old girl who was runner-up on America's Got Talent competition (when she was 10) and Andrea Bocelli, the popular, cross-over classical/pop tenor.   Then Bocelli announced that he had never agreed to perform and wouldn't be able to.

Now it seems that maybe it's also not so easy to get any clergy to come give their prayers over The Donald.  There's been no mention of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University that was founded by his late father.   He would seem the obvious choice, given that he's been a big Trump supporter, even saying that God had chosen Donald Trump to be our next president.    But there was no mention of him in the current news that says Paula White, the popular televangelist has been invited to pray at the inauguration.

Well, I guess that's OK, given that she and Trump seem to be cut from similar bolts of cloth -- and I'll leave that to your imagination as to how they match up.   But here are a few hints, gleaned from a Huffington Post article by Sebastian Murdock.

Paula White's popularity is due to television.  She has been criticized for preaching the "prosperity gospel," which is often interpreted as wealth being considered a reward for living a good life -- or that God is happiest when his followers are rich.

She actively promoted Trump's campaign on her television show, where she assured listeners that Trump "accepts Jesus as his Lord and savior."  She also encourages her followers to "get closer to God by sending money to her."

According to Murdock:  "In 2007, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) launched a congressional probe into the spending habits of White’s ministry, along with five other pastors. Grassley had questions regarding the televangelists’ use of church-owned airplanes and luxury homes. The Senate inquiry was eventually dropped, in part because White refused to cooperate with investigators.

"Years later, White declared bankruptcy on the church she initially ran with her then-husband that had been the subject of the probe, Politico reported.  But whatever fortune she’s amassed has been due in large part to her followers, who give her money to get in God’s good graces. On her website, she refers to sending money as giving a 'seed' to the almighty Himself:
I feel impressed of the Lord to ask you to do something that I believe will create a memory in the mind of God and this will change your future. I want you to give a seed offering that I call a “Gratitude” seed. This is an extremely powerful seed for you… especially at this time in your life. This seed will do two things for you. 
This seed will get God’s attention. Remember, God sits high and looks low. He is looking for faith on the earth. This seed will require strong faith.  This seed will be seen as a “Gratitude” offering. Gratitude always produces favor and favor will cause you to receive in a moment, more than some do in a lifetime!
"It’s a tactic that other religious leaders frown upon. Earlier this year, Southern Baptist leader and Trump critic Russell Moore tweeted out his distaste of White, Politico reported.  'Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe,' the tweet read.

"White denied the assertion that she’s only trying to grift money in an interview with the publication.  'Do I believe that God is a sugar daddy? Not at all,'  White said."

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There you have it, folks.   Central casting could not have come up with a more perfect type-casting choice to play Donald Trump's pastor to bless his presidency.    When a Southern Baptist leader calls a preacher a charlatan, we should listen.    And, if the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Jr. does not appear, after all his promotion of Trump the candidate, then I will want to know why.   What changed his mind?    I don't agree with his theology;   but I do not think he is a charlatan of the same order as Paula White.   If he has turned against Trump -- after saying he was God's choice -- then we should look at why.  And at what he knows that we may not.

But, if you want a first hand account of this show on January 20th, you'll have to watch for yourselves, dear readers.   I just don't think I can bring myself to watch what promises to be a vulgar display of a caricature of a presidential inauguration.


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