And on the eighth day, they bought private jets…
Coined in 1958, the term televangelism is sure to evoke an emotional response in many Americans.
Whether such programs are always on your TV or whether you change the channel as soon as one comes on, it’s still a fascinating glimpse into an inherently American “soul business,” born from the destitution of the Great Depression as traveling preachers came into vogue before tapping into technology to spread their message to the masses.
Often unconnected to actual churches or establishments, televangelists have been criticized for fraudulent schemes and downright unchristian values, such as promising viewers material and financial success and prosperity. When it comes down to it, there’s no better way to see how their message holds up than by checking if these televangelists practice what they preach.
Two famous televangelists went on the air a few months ago to defend why they had private jets, and their excuses don’t exactly sound like the Word of God…
Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis are two famous televangelists of the Charismatic Movement that share a mutual love for the Bible and private planes.
Both men are founders of their respective ministries, religious organizations that enjoy special tax law treatment. Kenneth Copeland Ministries came under a United States Senate inquiry in 2008 regarding its tax-exempt status, and has since been widely criticized by the likes of John Oliver and other ministers for its private financial records and earnings.
Duplantis is also a strong promoter of the prosperity gospel, the belief of some Christians that it is God’s will for them to be wealthy and live in abundance.
Aside from their large homes and lavish lifestyles, in no way is the prosperity gospel these men preach more obvious than in their love for flying and private jets.
Copeland became a pilot after growing up near an Air Force field; Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) has its own airport and owns three private planes. Duplantis also owns a private plane.
A few months back, both men appeared on a segment for KCM’s BVOV network in which they very casually discuss their planes, which they repeat several times that “God so graciously gave [them].” Copeland takes advantage of an anecdote of Duplantis’s to defend himself and a handful of other televangelists who fly private by claiming they couldn’t possibly hope to fly commercial in such a dead and sinful world.