In the past, I’ve said that every now and then, the internet gives you a gift. And, often, that gift is amazing. Generally, those gifts come in the form of some celebrity Christian saying or doing something unintentionally funny. A lot of the time, it’s a comment that accidentally ironic and reveals things they really don’t want out in the open. Today’s offering is of the latter variety. But, even after watching it several times, I’m still not sure I believe it’s real.
Last month, Kenneth Copeland and his
partner in crime pal, Jesse Duplantis, were chatting on The Believer’s Voice of Victory (Copeland’s television show) and a rather startling bit of information came out. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what they said, so watch it for yourself:
That’s right, beloved, these two glorified carnival barkers claim God gave them and their pals private jets because you can’t talk to the Almighty on a commercial airline. Damn.
But, wait, it gets worse. You see, not only do these multi-million dollar private jets allow these “men of God” (and, I use that term with all the sarcasm I can muster) to commune with God, they offer sanctuary. Copeland, in attempting to justify what may the most blatant reward from his years of bilking folks out of their hard-earned dollars, said that people in his position really can’t fly commercial anymore, as they’re so famous that people want meet them and pray with them. Copeland described flying commercial thusly: “… you get in a looong tube, with a bunch of demons. It’s deadly!”
In another incredibly clueless statement, Copeland claims that “We’re in the soul business, here. We got a dyin’ world around us, Jesse. We got a dyin’ nation around us. And, we can’t even get there on no airline!” Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve flown. Hell, it’s been awhile since I’ve even thought about flying, but I’m pretty sure that there aren’t many places in the United States that you can’t get to on a commercial flight. At the very least, you can get to within decent driving distance of ones that don’t have an airport. So, yeah.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Copeland and his prosperity gospel pals (here and here, for example), but this story brings up a question that is troubling. On viewing this video, a friend of mine (who happens to be an atheist) asked: “How can progressive Christians dispute this when they boldly proclaim ‘God is still speaking’?” My answer was “Easy, when we say ‘God is still speaking’, we don’t mean a disembodied voice that tells us what we want to hear. We believe that God speaks through people like Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Merton and others who give voice to the true nature of the Gospel: love”.
Yes, the message of these religious snake oil salesmen can drown out those alternative voices. But, much like the Doctor chipping away at the Azbantium wall in the “Heaven Sent” episode, we keep working to be God’s voice in the hope that, eventually, people will see the message of people like Copeland for what it is: a perversion of the Gospel. I just hope it doesn’t take 4 billion years to get there.