Friday, March 13, 2015

But God Needs a Gulfstream G650!

These days it's not that surprising to see evangelists using their position not just to make money, but to amass ridiculous amounts of it. What surprises me about this story is that the congregation of Atlanta megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar ever expected him to do anything else. I mean, the guy has "dollar" right there in his name.

On a recent trip, one of the engines on Dollar's private jet lost power. The pilot landed the plane safely, but Dollar apparently decided that this meant God wanted him to have a new one. And, of course, it also meant that God wanted his congregation to pay for it.

Dollar is the pastor of World Changers Church, International, a sprawling megachurch complex located in the hard-bitten south Atlanta suburb College Park. The pastor and his family, however, live in a $2.5 million mansion in tony Sandy Springs. Dollar — whose estimated worth is somewhere around $27 million — is one the top proponents of so-called “prosperity gospel,” which preaches that God rewards the righteous in this life with affluence, which His chosen children have an obligation to flaunt as a show of how richly the Lord has blessed them.

On Dollar’s website, he said, “We are asking members, partners, and supporters of this ministry to assist in the undertaking of an initiative called Project G650. The mission of Project G650 is to acquire a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace. We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality—and allow us to retire the aircraft that served us well for many years.”

A Gulfstream G650 is a top-of-the-line private jet that costs $65 million dollars, twice the evangelist's entire net worth, so it's no wonder that he has to raise the money from his followers. It seems that rather than evaluating the possibility of a more frugal replacement, God - that is, Creflo Dollar - deserves only the best. I suppose that a cheaper plane might undermine his whole "prosperity gospel" schtick, which is one of the most outlandish interpretations of Christianity that I've ever heard.

The thing is, the principle that "God rewards the righteous" only works when "the righteous" are good at getting other people to send them money. For everyone else it's far less reliable.

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