What the prosperity preacher’s recent comments actually reveal
Paula White is a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory council, and in the wake of Charlottesville she’s doubling down. Not only will she not resign as an advisor to the President, she’s hellbent on convincing you that he’s been raised up by God:
Appearing on “The Jim Bakker Show,” White said Trump’s victory in November was akin to Esther becoming queen in the Hebrew Bible because both were unconventional choices for the roles they received.
Esther, as the story goes in Jewish and Christian scripture, was an orphan hand-picked by the Persian king to be his new queen at a time when Jews were persecuted. In her position she was able to stop a plan to kill all the Jewish people in Persia. The Bible says Esther was placed there by God for this purpose.
“Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority it is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down,” White said on the show.
Now, there’s an obvious hypocrisy here: namely, that White’s invocation of Daniel 2:21, just like others’ invocation of Romans 13:1, conveniently skip the fact that the passages imply all kings and governing authorities are set up or instituted by God. Funny, we didn’t hear all this Bible quoting about God raising up President Obama.
But here’s the thing: I think Paula White is telling the truth.
She’s not telling the truth about Trump being chosen by God uniquely “for such a time as this”—a dude version of Queen Esther sent to deliver White American Evangelicals from the apocalyptic religious persecution to come. She’s not telling the truth about the Bible either—her godforsaken exegesis and application speak for themselves.
But she is telling the truth about American Christianity.
American Christianity is obsessed with the empire’s power, wealth, and privilege, and those who hold to this nationalist religion will continue oppressing the Other for as long as they possibly can in order to have their White, Capitalist, Discriminatory cake and eat it too. Folks like Paula White are simply revealing American Christianity for what it is: which is as far from the Jesus revealed in the Gospels as it could possibly be.