Copeland Cornered By Reporter Over His Luxury Lifestyle

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We have previously discussed televangelist Kenneth Copeland and his bizarre claim for a divine purpose in buying luxury planes. While Copeland’s followers appear undeterred by his copious appetite and enrichment, a new videotape shows precisely how unhinged the minister becomes when you raise the issue of his three private jets. Yes, three. Copeland, 82, grew angry when Lisa Guerrero broached the subject of his opulent lifestyle.

Copeland was estimated to be worth $760 million in October 2018 and last year purchased a Gulfstream V private jet for $3 million. There is also a question of Copeland opulent house. It is reportedly worth six million dollars. Copeland and other ministers are allowed to live tax free in homes worth up to $3 million.

The interview got weird after Guerrero asked Copeland about his last explanation of the need for owning luxury jets because he had to avoid the “demons” flying commercial.

Copeland comes across as a cornered con man who swings wildly from anger to flattery. You be the judge.

41 thoughts on “Copeland Cornered By Reporter Over His Luxury Lifestyle”

  1. FLYING COMMERCIAL IS AWFUL!

    good for Copeland he doesn’t need to fly commercial. it is like being packed into a tube with demons! he’s right! and it stinks like hell and is noisy and cramped and awful.

    WOW I am really starting to hate reporters.

    I am not a fan of Copeland at all but pick on something serious.

    I guess he is kind of amusing, just listen to him.

  2. My first wife and I attended a 1978 Copeland revival held in Peoria, Illinois. She was 22, I was 21, and both immersed, well, actually brainwashed, in the extreme Pentecostal belief system (we divorced decades ago. I divorced myself from the cult earlier.)

    Copeland and his ilk live a fraud far worse than the typical snake oil salesman’s dollar bottle of cow urine and fly specks guaranteed to cure cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. They prey on the sick, the hopeless, the uneducated, the gullible.

    Many of the prosperity gospel faithful are lonely, desperate people seeking acceptance. Mail your love gift offering to Reverend Copeland, and he will write you frequently, tell you how God will bless you for your sacrifice to his ministry, and remind you just how wonderful you are. Sadly, the sacrifice gift to his ministry too often represents a true sacrifice/hardship for the believer and the believer’s family. People neglect their health, their diet, their children and their relationships, going without food and medical care- even worse, their children doing without necessities so that Copeland can purchase another jet.

    Gloria Copeland speaks on the Oliver tape of cancer patients giving to Copeland instead of seeking medical care. God forbid that one of the Copelands face that horrible disease- but I and certain that they would seek the best available medical care without regard to cost and fly on their private jet to wherever the treatment was located.

    A few months ago I discovered my tax returns from 1978, 79, and 80, at the height (or depth, depending on the perspective). I worked in a warehouse at the time, my ex stayed at home with our 2 very small children. I grossed about $8,000 each year, and each year I gave 20% of our income to the Pentecostal church we attended. I committed a terrible sin- I placed the church above my family. The thoughts haunt me daily of what I denied my family, and I am overwhelmed by just how stupid I was.

    In 1981 we lost everything in a house fire. As renters and believing that “You don’t need insurance!” we had no insurance. No one from the church contacted us, except a few people we knew well calling as individuals. I recall one of the first nights in the rental unit after the fire. We slept on used mattresses that kind friends had given us. Late one night our toddler son, so proud before the fire that he could use the toilet and no longer needed diapers, awakened in the middle of the night, and confused as to the new living arrangements, peed in the hallway.

    The ex and I served as self-supporting missionaries from 1984-88. I worked full time in a job to support us while pastoring full time. I again gave roughly a quarter of my income. I finally burned out, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

    I looked back today and think, “How could I be so gullible? So stupid? How could I neglect my family for selfish people? Is this the meaning of the life of Jesus?”

    Yes, truly sincere and accountable organizations exist and help those in need. The Salvation Army. Catholic Charities. Martha’s Table. I don’t, however, give to organizations anymore. The lady with her child begging at the Metro entrance in the cold? You bet! Here’s $40, it’s all I have. Maybe she’s a con, I doubt it. She for damn sure isn’t buying another Gulfstream. Maybe she will treat her daughter to a hot meal at McDonald’s and maybe a pair of warm boots, God I hope so.

    1. FarOutWest,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I am very sorry about the suffering which occurred in your and your family’s life.

  3. It’s not a home, it’s a parsonage! Anyway, why are millionaire preachers like the late Reverend Ike considered just cute, while guys like this are considered a public menace? Because they’re white? He doesn’t hide his wealth from his contributors. If they want to throw their money away, then they’re consenting adults.

  4. I admit I think this preacher has bodies in his basement but overall his words and his congregate’s actions made me very sad. Religions are mostly a function of the society they come from. Most societies, including ours, teach people to derive a sense of worth from the amount of money they make, how expensive their various things are and how prestigious their circumstances appear to others. In this respect, our society, which often makes claims of being christian, has rejected the message of Jesus and embraced the message of social conditioning.

    While the bible contains many contradictions because it was written, codified and revised over hundreds of years, there is one truly consistent admonition by Jesus to actively reject accumulation of wealth. Just to point out a few of his consistent teachings: When the rich man approached Jesus and said what should I do, Jesus said to give everything he had to the poor and come follow me. The beatitudes are very clearly stated as is the statement quoted by the reporter about the eye of the camel. One simply cannot preach accumulation of wealth and be a true follower of the life of Jesus. Clearly both the preacher and his followers reject this fundamental teaching of Jesus.

    This strikes me as a congregation of abusers/abused people “lead” by an abuser. Why do I call them abusers? Because the admonition to be rich involves the rejection of the dignity and worth of all classes of human beings. That is one reason why this preacher, quite unlike Jesus himself, considers that he cannot be in the presence of those who he believes are beneath him. While Jesus deliberately ministered to the poor, the sick and to social outcasts, this preacher calls such people “demons”. He dishonors the words and life of Jesus by not respecting all classes of people. He says he cannot be near the great unwashed because he needs to be ready to preach. If he was like Jesus he would preach by helping the very people he despises, as would his congregation. The money they have gathered together is great. It could help many people.

    If all things are possible with god, then I say it is possible for this preacher and his congregants to repent.

    1. Jill,
      I agree with some elements of your assessment, particularly regarding his desire to not fly with ‘demons’. I do think it is unseemly for preachers to be living a life of opulence. However, there is a balance. Being a preacher does not mean taking a vow of poverty. It might but not necessarily.

      I also hesitate to take the passages about leaving wealth literally. There is danger in taking the Bible literally. The context around the ‘eye of a camel’ passage seems to be more about ‘love of wealth’ and misrepresenting oneself.

      It is complicated. Should the focus be on the historical Jesus and his literal message, or, should the larger context of the Bible as a whole be taken into consideration? I think it is the latter.

      Mark 10:17-25 is an interesting passage. The man is presumptuous and rather forward, in a flattering manner no less, in asking Jesus ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life’.

      Jesus responds, “18“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus replied. “No one is good except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat others, honor your father and mother.”

      20“Teacher,” he replied, “I have kept all these from my youth.””

      Those aren’t all the commandments, they are out of order, and, Jesus inserts one that is not actually listed in the Ten Commandments. The man does not pause to wonder why all of the commandments were not listed, nor does he catch the one Jesus added. It is pretty audacious, then, to state he has kept all the commandments since his youth.

      I think the last comment by Jesus was a bit barbed, pointing out that the man was not behaving in a way that would honor his father and mother. And, with the ‘do not cheat others’ it seems Jesus has noticed that the man is not representing himself accurately.

      There is one thing the man lacked–service to the poor, uplifting and thinking of others. He loved his wealth more than people. He was focused on himself and his own salvation, rather than looking to how he could uplift others. By living out the Word, by embodying its Truths, salvation would take care of itself; he need not focus on whatever checklist he had in his mind to inherit eternal life.

      Money is a very useful tool to do good in the world. Loving money more than people is the sin.

      1. Prairie Rose,

        Actually, we agree on many things. I was trying to point out that the bible is a very inconsistent document. One glaring example is this: while killing is supposedly prohibited by the 10 commandments, god and his followers both ordered and were rewarded by god for mass murder. People can make the bible say anything they want because it pretty much does say a lot of contradictory things. There are also justifications that christians have made over the years for doing one thing or another by claiming some passage really means something for this reason or that. Therefore slavery has been sanctioned by some christians (there were slaves in the bible) and other christians pick different bible verses in their quest to abolish slavery.

        I did not say that this preacher or his congregants must take vows of poverty. I said they, in preaching the gospel of money grubbing are: 1. not following the clear words of Jesus about wealth and 2. more importantly to me, are not honoring the dignity and worth of people of all classes.

        Money can be an excellent tool in the world, although it seldom is used for the greater good. I wish people would practice what I call, radical generosity. This does not require any money. It is the open hearted willingness to help others who need help, no strings attached. Money can be used for this purpose but action of any kind is just as valuable.

        1. Jill,
          Thank you for the thoughtful response (as always).

          Yes, we are often in agreement. I enjoy your posts.

          “I was trying to point out that the bible is a very inconsistent document.”

          What kind of consistency are you looking for? It is a collection of stories, historical accounts, poetry and hymns. I do not think we are meant to agree with everything that happened; we are to try to learn something from it, learn to be better ourselves. Jacob horribly tricked Esau, then played favorites amongst his wives and kids. That sure as heck isn’t positive; we ought to learn to not repeat the same mistakes.

          “One glaring example is this: while killing is supposedly prohibited by the 10 commandments, god and his followers both ordered and were rewarded by god for mass murder.”

          Murder is prohibited, not killing (the commandments are often written up translated as killing, but it is murder, actually). What verses are you thinking of here? The battle of Jericho?

          What are the take-aways from this? Perhaps there was no Abraham to challenge God, asking Him, “Will not the Lord of all the Universe do what is right?” I would be interested to know what a Rabbi would say about those verses.

          “People can make the bible say anything they want because it pretty much does say a lot of contradictory things.”

          I think when people do that they are often rationalizing or have not placed the verses in larger contexts. What contradictory things are you thinking of?

          “There are also justifications that christians have made over the years for doing one thing or another by claiming some passage really means something for this reason or that. Therefore slavery has been sanctioned by some christians (there were slaves in the bible) and other christians pick different bible verses in their quest to abolish slavery.”

          True, but I do think those are cases of willfully misrepresenting the Bible and the spirit of its text.

          “I did not say that this preacher or his congregants must take vows of poverty. I said they, in preaching the gospel of money grubbing are: 1. not following the clear words of Jesus about wealth and 2. more importantly to me, are not honoring the dignity and worth of people of all classes.”

          I did not mean to put words in your mouth. Sorry about that; I misread you.

          Does Jesus mean to not accumulate wealth for the sake of accumulation, like Scrooge, making the acquisition of wealth the most important thing in life (more important than people, making it an idol, more important than God)? Or, does he mean to not accumulate it at all?

          I agree that Copeland’s emphasis on money (especially if it is given to him!) is not expressing the spirit of Jesus or God’s Word (which does honor the dignity and worth of people of all classes).

      2. ‘Being a preacher does not mean taking a vow of poverty.’
        You are correct. A preacher who struggles between his calling and his finances will do neither any good. But an immense chasm exists between a ‘vow of poverty’ and more money that the GDP of many third world nations.

        1. A sketchy report of his net worth puts it at $760 million. The only countries in the world with an annual domestic product that low are some tiny insular states (in the South Pacific, bar one), none of which have a population over 200,000.

  5. GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW TO ACT WHEN CONFRONTED

    Preacher Copeland gives a highly instructional response here on: ‘How to act when confronted by reporters’.

    Copeland smiles warmly, seems earnestly interested in the reporter, then shows humility and humor at not having a ready answer. In this response he completely disarms said reporter. She winds up softening her tone while almost sympathizing with the elderly subject.

    1. Actually, he responded to her with so much sexism I do suspect sex abuse by him. She continued to ask him tough questions and in no way backed off of those. I wish reporters would do that to our political class!

      1. Yes. She sees his flashes of anger, knows she’s dealing with a crazy person…, and uses de-escalation techniques, in order to be able to continue the interview. (She didn’t want him to cut her off and walk away.)

        (The guy’s a skeezy predatory creep.)

  6. News Flash for the judging judy airhead “reporter”: Baptists and televangelists don’t take a vow of poverty.
    ( Tell me again the $ worth of the Vatican’s art collection while Venezuela starves?)
    I love the way she proof-texted the scriptures, but forgot “Judge not, lest ye be judged”.hmmmmmm.😊
    Our culture generally hates white, uneducated Christians with Southern or “hick” accents. Period.
    When I was a little girl in the early 50’s, Angel and Homer Martinez, 2 evangelist brothers from San Antonio, came to our house………..they drove up in a flashy red convertible that was so blinged out it was blinding to look at. They were wearing flashy clothes and slicked back hair like James Dean. Evangelists did this, and still do, like male peacocks, and males of other species, to draw attention to themselves.
    Then when they draw a crowd, they preach.
    I was taught it’s a sin to ridicule and judge someone preaching the Gospel, but that’s just my Southern upbringing.

    1. “I was taught it’s a sin to ridicule and judge someone preaching the Gospel” might be the stupidest thing I ever read. So many religious hucksters and you are ok with all of them because it’s a sin doncha know.

      1. Brother YNOT/ Tony………I don’t make the rules.If you want to judge, you have every right…..but no mortal can see what’s in another person’s heart .
        Sorry, kid.

    2. Cindy,
      The pastor of my church is appalled by this man.

      “I was taught it’s a sin to ridicule and judge someone preaching the Gospel”

      It depends upon how they are preaching the Gospel.

      He may preach a good sermon, but his explanation for the need for multiple private jets sounds self-serving.

        1. Prairie……..I didn’t mean to be terse….but I was taught that it is not right to ridicule another Christian with whom you disagree, who says they are preaching the gospel, etc. My mother said you never know who is being helped, and unless the guy is an abuser or breaking the law, what he does to minister is between him and God. My dear conservative Southern Bsptist mother would attend our very liberal gay friendly Baptist church in Austin, and never break character. She didn’t agree with one word of the gay affirming sermons but never ever was critical.or judged. She would just say, God moves people in His own way and we sre not to interfere.

  7. As you all discuss this, can someone tell me why Mr. Miracle Water — Peter Popoff — is not sitting behind bars?

    1. RSA,
      I disagree with most of what Mr. Hill writes here, but he can’t be jailed merely for exercising his First Amendment rights.

  8. I am not so sure I agree with the article. Most ministers that lead a very busy schedule need a jet to travel to their speaking engagements. They can’t really fly on the schedule that commercial flights provide. He is wealthy, but he has written hundreds of books, sold hundreds of tapes, and wisely invested in real estate. As he pointed out he has made a lot off of oil and gas as well. There is no reason that a minister should not be able to invest just like other people. I am sure there are many wealthy ministers. T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyers are also very financially successful. It is also true that the Catholic Church is quite wealthy. Will they question the Pope next? It is also important to note that millions are given in helping the poor by all of those ministers and organizations. A fair article would have looked at that aspect of the ministry. Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse are always one of the first to respond during natural disasters. They couldn’t do that if there were no financial resources to do so. The same can be said of Operation Blessing which travels all over the world assisting those in need. Poverty is not necessarily a help in ministries that are trying to support and aid others.

    1. Catholic clergy seldom have much personal property and those in the religious orders have aught but a few chattels permitted by their rule. They have claims on pensions and the like and the use of real property owned by their parish or diocese, typically a car.

    2. “Poverty is not necessarily a help in ministries that are trying to support and aid others.” (Lucy Hooker)

      Who said anything about “poverty”? At issue here: extreme wealth and decadence.

      John Oliver lays it all out nicely:

      1. From the Oliver video: “…Oliver highlighted with a video of Gloria Copeland saying that doctors give patients “poison that will make you sicker” and that the church is an alternative to medical treatment: “Which do you want to do? Do you want to do that,” Copeland asked of the doctor’s “poison” treatment, “or do you want to sit here on a Saturday morning, hear the word of God, and let faith come into your heart and be healed?”

        Wikipedia:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Copeland

        Kenneth Copeland and his wife, Gloria Copeland, were featured in a 2015 episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that gained media attention. Comedian John Oliver criticized the Copelands for using tax laws to live in a $6.3 million mansion as the parsonage allowance for their home is not subject to income taxes,[33] for using church donations to buy a $20 million jet that was used for trips to a ski resort and a private game ranch, and for promotion of healing through faith and skepticism of medicine, which Oliver highlighted with a video of Gloria Copeland saying that doctors give patients “poison that will make you sicker” and that the church is an alternative to medical treatment: “Which do you want to do? Do you want to do that,” Copeland asked of the doctor’s “poison” treatment, “or do you want to sit here on a Saturday morning, hear the word of God, and let faith come into your heart and be healed?”

      2. Anonymous…….. just read an article about John Oliver using a tax loophole to hide the purchase of a $9 million NYC penthouse.
        Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
        Oliver makes $millions to ridicule Southern/Texas preachers about being wealthy. I guess Muslim supreme religious clergy/leaders are poor, right……and not worthy of his ire? LOL!!!!!

        1. Cindy B.,
          There are all kinds of limousine liberals who are theoretically in favor of higher taxes ( for others).
          The “others” are those who don’t spend a fortune on CPAs and tax lawyers and look at every possible way to avoid taxes.

        2. @Cindy Bragg

          Honeylamb,

          The demon is in the details. (Refer to the update, below.)

          And I doubt that Oliver is telling people to skip chemotherapy and send money (and/or tune into his show), instead of getting medical treatment — even though some people say that “laughter [really] is the best medicine.

          https://www.salon.com/2017/05/11/is-john-oliver-a-hypocrite-on-taxes/

          Update 2017-05-15. In a response to this story, a representative for Oliver emailed the following statement:

          “The apartment was purchased through a trust, solely for privacy reasons – the trust confers no tax benefit whatsoever. As for the 421a tax exemption, the rate at which the city taxes the building in which Mr. Oliver lives was the result of the building developers applying for that exemption before construction years before he took up residence. It was not the result of any action or decision taken by Mr. Oliver.”

          1. Anonymous………Oh, Oliver’s representative did the explaining???. Well then, nevermind. I’m sure he’s as honest as Oliver. 🤣

            Btw, sugar dumplin’, Miss Guerrero’s CV is packed with, well, mainly cleavage, and her history is especially impressive, if you’re a jock with a double digit IQ.
            She was a cheerleader for the L.A. Rams….That is MAJOR sis-boom-bah, is what that is.
            Also she was Entertainment Director for two other NFL teams…….as well as being an actress.
            So we can assume two things:
            1) She is well-off
            2) She is not allergic to penicillin

            P.S. as far as her “gotcha” eye of a needle scripture for Brother Ken………..Christ did not say “rich preacher”…….he said ” rich man”, like Obama, Bill Clinton, John Oliver. Oh, Jesus didn’t like d-i-v-o-r-c-e , which Miss Lisa is guilty of.

          2. Censor Smith (or someone) is at it again. There was another comment posted to Ms. Bragg, but it’s gone, gone, gone. I saw it earlier.

    3. Well said, Lucy.

      I agree that ministry does not necessarily have to be a vow of poverty.

  9. Ann Althouse recently had a succession of posts about a controversy which had erupted between Natalie Portman and some musical performer who goes by the moniker ‘Moby’. That and this calls to mind what GK Chesterton said about journalism, that it consisted of saying ‘Lord Jones died’ to people who had no idea Lord Jones was ever alive.

    1. L4D says–Go to the linked article at The Daily Mail. The fourth screenshot down the queue is Exhibit A in the case for the demonic possession of Kenneth Copeland.

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