Paula White was announced as one of Donald Trump’s selections to pray at his inauguration, and this has many Christians on both sides of the ideological aisle furious. But who is she, and why is this angering so many Christians around the country?
White has long been known as the personal pastor to Donald Trump and according to James Dobson, is the person responsible for leading Donald Trump to Jesus. She is also the person who put together Trump’s evangelical advisory committee during his successful run for the White House and now heads his evangelical advisory board.
Paula has been the personal minister to Darryl Strawberry and Michael Jackson and acted as Tyra Banks’ personal life coach. She was also honored at the 2009 Trumpet Awards. She also gave the closing benediction on the first day of the Republican National Convention.
So on paper, Paula White seems like just the sort of person who Christians would want representing them on Inauguration Day. But then there is this tweet by Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public face of the Southern Baptist Convention.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 28, 2016
What would make Moore feel this way about Paula White?
Paula White is a senior pastor at the New Destiny Christian Center and is considered to be a “prosperity gospel” televangelist. If you aren’t aware of what one of those is, it’s basically where the televangelist and his or her church make promises to those who donate “seed” money to them. In return for this donation, the church promises that their investment will reap gains that are many times more than what they gave. According to the prosperity gospel, God blesses true believers with not only salvation, but also material wealth on Earth.
Here is one of the seed programs that was reported on by the Christian Post in which watchers were encouraged to purchase a $1,144 “resurrection seed” that would provide deliverance with a blessing from God. Paula White also said that while she wouldn’t normally ask for such a specific dollar amount, God had told her that this was the amount she had to request from her followers.
“There’s someone that God is speaking to, to click on that donation button by minimizing the screen. And when you do to sow $1,144. It’s not often I ask very specifically but God has instructed me and I want you to hear. This isn’t for everyone but this is for someone. When you sow that $1,144 based on John 11:44 I believe for resurrection life. You say, Paula, I just don’t have that, then sow $144. I don’t have that. Sow $44 but stand on John Chapter 11:44”
Paula also said that people who chose to sow the seed would receive special prayer cloths that would be a point of contact between the sower and God.
Of course, White was also quick to point out that donors should not expect instant miracles because God is not a sugar daddy.
Russell Moore is not the only influential Christian to take issue with White’s role in the Inauguration ceremonies. Erick Erickson, a prominent Christian writer, opposes Paula White’s presence because of statements she made denying the standard Trinity belief that Christians hold sacred.
He even goes so far as to call White, “an actual, factual heretic who rejects the Nicene Creed.”
Paula White isn’t the only clergy member that Donald Trump has asked to be on stage. His Inauguration will have six clergy in total, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, Rabbi Marvin Hier, and the Rev. Franklin Graham and Samuel Rodriguez. White will be the first female clergy member to participate in an Inauguration event. President Obama had a female prayer leader during his 2013 Inauguration. However, Myrlie Evers-Williams was a layperson, and not a member of the clergy.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]