By Ryan Velez
Those who have been following the ongoing progression of president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony will note that there has been an unprecedented amount of difficulty in finding entertainment. In fact, many acts have come forward and said they have no interest in appearing at such a ceremony in protest against Trump’s views and past statements. One group that has not proven nearly as difficult to work with for Trump’s camp is the faith community. Six religious leaders will offer readings and participate in the invocation and benediction of the ceremony The Old Black Church draws attention to one such figure that may raise many eyebrows in the religious community: Paula White of the New Destiny Christian Church.
White will be joining several other figures including Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. “Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people,” Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman Tom Barrack said in a news release. “I am pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers at the swearing-in of President-elect Trump and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.”
However, in the case of Paula White, a white woman with a predominantly black congregation, her past history may be a bigger cause for attention than her faith. A past article from The Daily Beast notes that she has previously been investigated by the Senate for potentially running a scam. White’s church operates as a “prosperity gospel” church, where followers give the church money based on the belief that God will return this investment. The offering is called “seed.”
Trump and White have a relationship that has gone back several years. During her Senate investigation, Trump praised her in an interview, saying, “Paula White is not only a beautiful person, both inside and out, she has a significant message to offer anyone who will tune in and pay attention. She has amazing insight, the ability to deliver that message clearly, as well as powerfully.”
Shortly before the Republican National Convention, White also praised Trump, saying that ““I know Donald Trump. I know the strong leader he is,” she said. “I know how capable of a businessman he is. I know how compassionate he is. I know how smart he is. I know how he defends our values and the people whom he loves. I know how much he loves this country. I know how much he loves his children and how they admire and respect him.” White mentioned that the two met after he saw one of her sermons and reached out to her, and he also appeared on her television show.