Recently, televangelist Jesse Duplantis proclaimed that God told him he needed to purchase a 57 million dollar Dassualt private jet to help carry out his ministry. The conversation allegedly went like this.
GOD: Jesse, you wanna come up where I’m at?
DUPLANTIS: What do you mean?
GOD: I want you to believe in me for a Falcon 7-X.
DUPLANTIS: Well, how am I going to pay for it?
GOD: Jesse, I didn’t ask you to pay for it, I asked to believe for it.
Well, believing is nice and all, but something tells me the guys at Dassualt don’t consider prayers a negotiable instrument. Somebody’s got to lay out the cash. Who? You guessed it.
Duplantis is one of those “prosperity gospel” hucksters who preaches that if God loves you then you’ll be blessed with riches and heath. If you’re poor? Well, not so much. These preachers all seem to enjoy high powered lifestyles; huge homes, nice clothes, fat bank accounts, capped teeth, fancy jewelry, big hair and yes, private airplanes. Duplantis already has three. I guess he was sleeping when the “Eye of the Needle” thing got covered in in seminary school.
I have no doubt that Duplantis will get his plane. Creflo Dollar pulled the same stunt three years ago and, despite the hue and cry, still got his 70 million-dollar Gulfstream! That’s because these guys tell their congregations that tithing money to their churches is “an investment” and that God will pay them back sevenfold. And people buy into this malarkey and give until it hurts! Man, I’m in the wrong business. I should start the Church of Steve.
GOD: Steve, I want you to preach my word to all nations.
STEVE: Lord, how shall I accomplish thy will?
GOD: Buy a $5000 suit, wear a Rolex, slick back your hair and get on television telling people whatever they want to hear. Then convince them to give you money they can’t afford and that I, the Divine ATM, will pay them back sevenfold.
STEVE: Will you really pay them back?
GOD: Are you kidding? You’ve got mansions, jets and television stations to buy! Get cracking!
STEVE: Can I have a harem of smoking hot nubile acolytes?
GOD: Whatever floats your boat, Stevie.
So, without further ado, I present:
The CHURCH OF STEVE BUSINESS PLAN
- Get ordained online for $19.95
2. Learn to speak in forked tongues.
3. Cook up a theology of new age Gnostic magical thinking bullshit and back it up with out of context Scripture quotes.
4. Tell everyone God can’t balance a checkbook and that He only trusts me with the deposits. Accountants? Audits? Get thee behind me Satan!
5. Find a sports franchise screwing over their home city and buy a stadium on the cheap.
6. Get struggling actors to play cripples who’ve been “miraculously healed” and tell then an agent from CAA will be in the pews. “(I guess I’ll have to do this in L.A.)
7. Get my wife Botox injections and teach her to perfect that blank adoring “deer in the headlights” stare.
8. Slip MDMA into the communion wine.
9. Marry 5000 people in a mass ceremony with an Elvis impersonator parachuting into the stadium singing, “A Little Less Conservation.” Trust me, I don’t want anyone talking about what I’m up to.
10. Get a TV ministry going, something like Sábado Gigante. Sure, there’ll be lots of tits and ass – but it’s for Jesus.
11. Sell prayer clothes and tell everyone it’s God’s used hankie.
12. Recycle the grease from restaurant deep fryers and sell it as healing oil. Eco-concious and SANCTIFIED!
13. Start an orphanage in Belize and put those kids to work fulfilling E-commerce purchases!
14. Dance during services like my pants are on fire! They soon will be.
15. Get that plane! God is my co-pilot!
16. Bring back fully nude immersion baptism – but only for those with heavenly figures.
17. Write books titled Lotto Jesus, Cash and Carry the Cross and Suffering is for Suckers.
18. Develop an affinity for prostitutes and crack cocaine.
20. Rinse and repeat.
Praise the Lord! I think I’m onto something here. Do you have any ideas for my new church? Let me know in the comments section below!
P.S. John Oliver has a good piece on these “preachers” here.
Photo taken of me in the old chapel at Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine Florida. Maybe I still have that old ecclesiatical zing going on.