July 21, 2024

Fraud, private jets and a Lamborghini: 10 televangelists who have faced controversy

In the past year, televangelists – including Kenneth Copeland, who recently went viral for an inflammatory “Inside Edition” interview, and Franklin Graham, son of legendary evangelical preacher Billy Graham – have been embroiled in controversy, one way or another.

Copeland, a Texas evangelist, came under fire for a viral “Inside Edition” video in which he defended his three private jets. But he’s not the only one to make headlines.

From buying a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV as an anniversary gift to reportedly turning away hurricane evacuees, these 10 televangelists have caught flak for their actions and sermons.

Kenneth Copeland

Copeland justified his jet-setting by saying that he could not evangelize without the aircraft. “If I flew commercial, I’d have to stop 65% of what I’m doing,” he told journalist Lisa Guerrero.

Guerrero then pressed Copeland on a statement he made in 2015 in which he compared flying in commercial class to getting “in a long tube with a bunch of demons” to fellow televangelist Jesse Duplantis.

“No, I do not, and don’t you ever say that I did,” he responded, pointing a finger at the journalist.

He owns an airport close to his Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth.!

Jesse Duplantis

Louisiana minister Jesse Duplantis, who himself was implicated in Copeland’s jet scandal, has been in hot water for his own jet-setting lifestyle. He claims God told him he needs a private jet – specifically, a Falcon 7X, capable of carrying 12 to 16 passengers at speeds up to 700 mph.

“Now, some people believe that preachers shouldn’t have jets,” Duplantis said in a video posted in 2018.

“I really believe that preachers ought to … have every available outlet to get this Gospel preached to the world.”

In the same video, he showed off a photo of the three planes owned by his ministry that bore the caption “It’s not about possessions, it’s about priorities.”

Gloria Copeland

Kenneth Copeland’s wife, Gloria, is a preacher herself. She co-founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries with her husband and served as one of President Donald Trump’s evangelical ministers.

In a video published on the ministry’s Facebook page, she proclaimed that children do not need a flu shot because Jesus had already “bore our sickness.”

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