In 2007, TV preacher Paula White got investigated by the U.S. Senate for her shady fundraising practices.
Ten years later, she will pray at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
White is a televangelist with a huge audience and a knack for stirring controversy. She’s been a Trump booster for years, and she helped organize a summit for him in the early days of his presidential campaign with other televangelists. Her presence at the inauguration is a very strong indicator that Trump’s White House will be a safe space for the Christian right’s most controversial characters.
Think of Paula White’s ministry as the church version of Trump University. She preaches the prosperity gospel, an approach to Christianity that is, shall we say, unorthodox. Prosperity-gospel preachers teach that God wants people to be rich, and that he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing and favor; the richer you are, the more God loves you.
Because, you know, Jesus wore wingtips and a Rolex.
These preachers also teach that the way to become wealthy is—you guessed it!—by giving them money. If you make a “seed offering”—and the bigger the better—then preachers like White say the Lord will repay your generosity with bounteous riches.
White’s website promises that such seed offerings will help givers get immediate word from God.