Donald Trump’s pastor, Paula White, was recently appointed to head the Faith and Opportunity Initiative at the White House. The 53-year-old televangelist preacher espouses a “prosperity gospel” message, which is rooted in the belief that God blesses financially for devotion.
The prosperity gospel message alone is controversial, and White is taking heat for continuing to sell religious-themed items while she works for the White House, Newsweek reports. Melissa Rogers, who served as executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under former President Barack Obama’s administration, says what White is doing is “simply wrong.”
“White continues to hawk religion-themed items, including items she promises will reward buyers spiritually and materially. This is simply wrong.”
Although a White House spokesman claims that White is a part-time government employee and allowed to “maintain separate employment,” Rogers doesn’t appear to believe this matters.
“No matter what formal ethics rules say, or how they are interpreted by this White House, it is simply wrong for the White House adviser to the ‘Faith and Opportunity Initiative’ to do these things,” she said.
CNN reports that White’s appointment to the White House came as she was promoting her latest book, Something Greater: Finding Triumph Over Trials. In interviews about her new government gig, White reportedly plugged her book and highlighted its references to her relationship with Trump, which goes back many years.
White previously spoke out about the attacks on her belief system, which some Christians believe is in conflict with the Bible’s teachings. According to White, such attacks are part of a “political ploy” to harm Trump and the “great faith agenda” that he is pushing.
“Anyone that’s ever listened to my message knows very well, that I believe in very solid biblical beliefs. So, this is not anything new.”
White recently made headlines when she offered a prayer alongside Christian leaders like Dave Kabul, Cindy Jacobs, and Dutch Sheets. During the prayer, she suggested that Trump’s opponents use “sorcery and witchcraft.” Before the prayer, she was in the news for the revelation that she and the president previously planned to create a glass cathedral, although the plan never came to fruition.
The president’s spiritual adviser has taken on quite an active role in his life. White has publicly defended Trump from the Russia investigation and impeachment and has joined him at campaign rallies. According to White, her bond with Trump is the work of God.