Will the Prosperity Gospel Benefit Under the Trump Presidency?

Pastor Paula White delivers the benediction at the close of the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Pastor Paula White delivers the benediction at the close of the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Donald Trump’s inauguration, and even his presidency, is likely to be a shot in the arm for the prosperity gospel.

“Oh, for sure,” said Andrew Gardner, an expert in American religious history, an opinion writer with Baptist News Global and author of the 2015 book Reimagining Zion: A History of the Alliance of Baptists.

Gardner isn’t the only observer predicting the rise of the prosperity gospel — which preaches that God provides financial wealth to those with strong faith — under Trump.

The president-elect’s choice of Florida televangelist and prosperity gospel promoter Paula White, some say, signals his approval of mixing faith and big money.

And politics can be added to the mix with the selection of Franklin Graham to pray at the Jan. 20 inauguration.

“Taken together, [Graham and White] have embodied Trump’s embrace of the twinned ideologies of Christian nationalism and capitalist Christianity,” author and Princeton University history professor Kevin Kruse told Christianity Today.

Another four clergy selected for the inauguration offer a touch of religious and ethnic diversity.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced recently that Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Wayne Jackson, bishop of Great Faith Ministries International, also are scheduled to participate.

Missing from the list are ministers from mainline traditions, which represent Trump’s own (Presbyterian) background.

“His Protestants are evangelicals,” John D. Wilsey, author of American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion, told Christianity Today.

Those pastors represent the voting bloc that elected Trump in November. But prosperity gospel Christians also heavily supported the New York billionaire.

The Washington Post reported that “Trump has received endorsements from lesser-known prosperity gospel pastors who admire his business acumen.”

Those include Jackson, one of the ministers invited to pray at the inauguration.

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global
Jeff Brumley