One of President Donald Trump’s favorite spiritual advisers has a dire message for you: Give her a month’s worth of your salary, or pay the “divine” price.
Televangelist Paula White, who is co-chair of Trump’s evangelical advisory committee, spoke to her followers in a video on her website about the importance of giving “first fruits” of the new year — in this case, their first incomes.
“January is the beginning of a new year for us in the Western world. Let us give to God what belongs to him: the first hours of our day, the first month of the year, the first of our increase, the first in every area of our life,” she said.
White promised her followers that by giving, they’re really planting the seed of their own blessings — an ideal that is central to a belief called “prosperity gospel.”
By giving directly to White, individuals would be laying down “the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life,” she explained. And if you don’t give to her? Well, it could mean bad news for you.
“When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience, there are consequences,” White elaborated.
In other words, if you didn’t plan to give to White after reading this, you’re doomed. But even if you didn’t know about this donation option, guess what? Your ignorance is no excuse — you are still doomed.
The “first fruit” you’ve earned belongs to God, according to White.
“When you keep for yourself something that belongs to God, you are desecrating what is to be consecrated to God,” she said.
Of course, White herself is apparently reaping the benefits of these donations, and it’s unclear how much is getting to God, if at all. White was one of many subjects in an investigation into questionable donations given to ministries across the country. Nothing concrete came from that investigation, Newsweek reported.
Still, it’s chilling to see an evangelical leader, who wields enormous influence over her followers, tell them that unless they give up to a month’s pay of their own income, that they’ll suffer consequences from God himself. Such commentary preys upon those who are seeking salvation, compelling them to do as she asks, which in turn fattens her own pocketbooks.
It is irresponsible for any religious leader to demand alms from their followers and threaten them for not doing so at the same time. Parishioners across the country are asked to give what they can — legitimate churches and places of worship do need help, too, from time to time — but condemning your own followers for not paying their first month’s salary is outrageous, and it warrants skepticism among those who listen to White’s sermons.