Friday, December 30, 2016


Back in June I posted an article about Paula White, Donald Trump's alleged "spiritual advisor." White is, of course, a "Prosperity Gospel" preacher, since I imagine there's nothing Trump would rather hear besides being told that his wealth means he's favored by God. So it should be no surprise that White will be speaking at Trump's inauguration in January.

But conservative blogger Erick Erickson is outraged at White's planned appearance - not because her ministry is likely just a big money-making scheme, but because she's a heretic. Not because she's a prosperity preacher - apparently, that's okay in Erickson's world - but because he managed to dig up a video of her appearing to suggest that human beings are children of God, just like Jesus.

Most people concerned about White’s appearance are criticizing her sleazy claims that people who give her money will magically receive divine blessings. That’s apparently not what really bothers Erickson, however. Instead, he’s concerned that she is a “trinity denying heretic” who allegedly doesn’t share the view of the divinity of Jesus that Erickson does.

Erickson found an old video somewhere in the bowels of the internet in which White appears to say that all humans are “begotten” of God, just like Jesus Christ. Based on that, Erickson went into high-dudgeon mode over the possibility that Donald Trump, a man literally no one considers to be a devout Christian, might give incorrect spiritual guidance to the American people:

“The President of the United States putting a heretic on stage who claims to believe in Jesus, but does not really believe in Jesus, risks leading others astray,” Erickson wrote on his personal blog. “Trump letting this heretic pray in Jesus’s name should offend every Bible believing Christian.”

So first, in my opinion there is no bigger Christian heresy out there than Prosperity Gospel. Jesus did not teach that the rich are virtuous according to God, but rather the exact opposite. He also taught that his kingdom was not of this world, and that those who believed and were baptized would be rewarded in Heaven - which I imagine has very little in common with the penthouse at the top of Trump Tower.

Second, White's statement from the video that so incensed Erickson is nowhere near as heretical as Prosperity Gospel, even if we assume that Erickson understood what she meant. John 10:34 reads (New International Version):

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are "gods"'?

Jesus here is alluding to Psalms 82:6, which reads:

I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.'

So it seems pretty obvious to me that White was offering her commentary on the meaning of these two passages, and while her interpretation sounds like it differs from that of fundamentalist Christianity, from the meaning of the text itself you can see pretty clearly that it isn't that much of a stretch - you know, when you actually read it.

Third, mainstream Christians need to start taking nonsense like this from the Christian right very seriously. They have no interest whatsoever in protecting the rights of Christians in general. They are only interested in driving all interpretations of their religion but their own from the public square, and in their minds other forms of Christianity are worse than minority religions.

Don't believe me on that one? Check out what Erickson actually posted:

I’d rather a Hindu pray on Inauguration Day and not risk the souls of men, than one whose heresy lures in souls with promises of comfort only to damn them in eternity. At least no one would mistake a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an atheist with being a representative of Christ’s kingdom.

Mainstream Christians, that's a target on your backs, not mine. I have no doubt that if Erickson and his ilk got what they wanted, my rights as a member of a minority religion would be threatened. But you need to understand that yours will be, too. Protecting the rights of "Christians" may sound okay at first, but what needs to be pointed out again and again is that in their eyes, none of you are actually Christian. You're just a bunch of heretics who need to be censured and marginalized.

I have no love for Paula White, as I find Prosperity Gospel flat-out abhorrent. My point here is that this incident reveals the true colors of the Christian right for all who will see, and clearly shows why we should never allow these folks to establish some sort of American theocracy. It's pretty clear that they will never rest until they are the only game in town.

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