Georgia televangelist Creflo Dollar wants his followers to give him $65 million to buy a private jet so he can fly around the world to spread the gospel. The overly-extravagant endeavor has been criticized as greedy and unnecessary.
“Let me tell you something about believing God,” said Dollar to his stadium-sized church. “I can dream as long as I want to. I can believe God as long as I want to. If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me. You cannot stop me from dreaming.”
Sixty-five million dollars isn’t the going price for an average, run-of-the-mill private jetliner. Dollar wants to live up to his name and purchase the Gulfstream G650, which is like the Bentley of Gulfstream jetliners. “The G650 is the biggest, fastest, most luxurious, longest range and most technologically advanced jet – by far – that Gulfstream has ever built,” according to a Flying Magazine review of the plane.
For a modest man of God, Dollar sure is looking to enjoy the lap of flying luxury. To help buy the plane, Dollar asked his 200,000 followers to donate $300 a piece in March. However, he also said “Your love gift of any amount will be greatly appreciated.” The congregation that pays together, stays slaves together.
When the Christian Post reported that he asked his followers to buy the plane for him, Dollar received tons of backlash for his extravagance and he removed the fundraising page from the internet. Like all crazy Christians, he blames the backlash on the devil.
“The enemy has got to discredit the voices of faith and grace and truth because he don’t want you to know that you can walk on the water if you can look at Jesus,” said Dollar. “I’ve got to discredit that man before he starts showing people Jesus.”
Dollar shares company with evangelists like Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn who preach what is known as “prosperity gospel.” This specific gospel has become popular among the poor, wrote Chicago Sun-Times religion columnist Cathleen Falsani.
The prosperity gospel hustle is simple: tell the poor people that if they donate to the church, then God will return the donation many times over. Many preachers have gotten filthy rich by making empty promises to poor, struggling families.
“Told that wealth is a sign of God’s grace and favor, followers strive for trappings of luxury they can little afford in an effort to prove that they are blessed spiritually,” wrote Falsani.
Creflo Dollar is a common hustler. He preys on people’s desperation and yearning for spiritual enlightenment with the goal of fattening his bank account. His name, Dollar, should be the first clue.