Preacher Jesse Duplantis may have thought his request for a brand new $54 million private jet would just be seen by his gullible followers, but once the internet found out, there was no stopping the coverage.
Everyone wanted to chime in on the Christian televangelist who already owns a private jet, but wanted a new one to avoid the pesky problem of stopping mid-flight for refueling.
Duplantis hasn’t said much to the media, but he recently issued a message to his followers in response to all the pushback. He celebrated the coverage, as if all news is good news, and reminded them that this isn’t a “scandal” since he’s up front about what he wants.
I’m including the full transcript below because it’s such a piece of work.
Hello partners and friends.
I guess you’ve noticed allllll the media that’s been coming, and all the different things that’s being said about me concerning this plane.
First thing I want to say this: they never started the story. I did. Why? Because I wanted to be completely honest with all my partners and friends, like you, who support and love this ministry all these years. I started it. They did not. And I wanted to be honest so you’d know that I’ve owned three planes. I don’t have four planes right now. I don’t have a fleet of planes. I have one plane, and I’ve had it for 12 years. This one. And we’re giving this one away, because we believe in God for the 7X to come in. [Note: The Falcon 7X is the type of plane he wants to buy.]
Now what’s so amazing about this, I had a partner write me, and I think it’s really wonderful. And I like to read what he said. He said, “I’m a longtime follow and friend of your ministry. I’m disturbed by the huge volume of negative press you are getting, reporting you’re trying to dupe followers into buying you a new plane. I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story. I’m not looking for a lengthy explanation, but can you help me figure out what to say to people who say you are doing wrong?”
That is great. Thank you for saying that. First thing first. I’ve never raised money for the plane. I put it in our magazine and said “Believe God with me.” There’s a vast difference between believing in God and asking for money. It takes money to run anything — that’s common sense — but the Lord told me many years ago, and some people don’t believe that when I say the Lord said it, so I’m going to say it, because I believe it. He said, “You don’t need to raise money for this. This will just come.” I’ve raised money for a lot of other things, and there’s nothing wrong with that, because religious organizations do that. But this one, He said, this one would just come.
Little did I realize that people would pick this story up, and you know, when you start picking up a story, people start adding things to it, taking things away, things of that nature, and it gets all mixed up. Let me just say it again: This is the truth here, because I’m the one that started this. First, I’ve always believed in you, and you’ve always believed in me. Many of you know that I’ve preached to 106 million households in the United States of America. Our total outreach of our ministry is 2.9 billion people worldwide, translated in 14 different languages. Why? Because the Lord should go in every available voice, every available outlet, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. And God has been so good.
So I wanted to explain it to this partner, so you can tell somebody, I’m not asking you to pay for my plane. The Lord said, “I didn’t ask you to pay for it, I ask you to believe for it.” That is what I said. So I’m believing and I want you to believe with me. But I have to say this: that a lot of people have called me and said, “I want to get involved in that new plane you’re believing for.” I said, “Well, that’s up to you. But I never asked you for it.” And there’s nothing wrong with asking you for it. That’s not the issue. But I didn’t, because I’m following the direction that the Lord told me. He said, “Just believe me,” and I will.
So I’m not discouraged. I’m not depressed. In fact, I am excited. I have never had this much press in my life! That’s negative. It don’t make no difference. My face is on all these different things! Who would have thought that I’d be on FOX News? On Good Morning America? Good lord! CNN! All these different things. My lord.
I mean, so I want to say, you know, I know you picked this thing up. And I know people thought I was doing something wrong. I don’t dupe nobody. I’ve always been honest. Forty years, I’ve been preaching this gospel, and I never had a scandal. And this is not a scandal. This, what I’m doing today, which you’ve heard, is to let you know the truth. To let you know what’s happening, and what I have done to keep my… to show you everything in my life. We’ve always been open and honest. And you know that.
So I just wanted to say that. Thanks, partners and friends. I’m praying for you every day, and I know you’re praying for us, and to all you other people that may not understand this, you have that right. I will not defend myself, because I didn’t do nothing wrong. And I mean that sincerely.
But if you believe that, and you think I have, you have that right. That’s what’s good about the United States of America. It’s called free speech! So thank you for listening to me today. And thank you to all those people that are praying for me, and let me tell you something: I am not depressed, not discouraged. I am happy that, my Lord, the Gospel is getting out!
So you have a wonderful glorious day. Okay? See you. Bye bye.
It’s telling that Duplantis sees negative publicity as a boost to his ministry because it means his message is getting out. That’s a slippery slope to all kinds of bad behavior.
It’s also troubling how he defends his money grab. He says he’s not asking anybody for money. He’s just trusting in God that he money will come. Like there’s a difference between the two. He knows damn well that his “believing for it” will lead to people throwing money his way. He even admits it’s happening! People are apparently telling him “I want to get involved in that new plane you’re believing for.” Duplantis, perhaps hiding a smirk, responds with a seemingly humble, “Well, that’s up to you. But I never asked you for it.”
It’s like a politician holding a rally in your town the month before a big election and saying, “I’m not asking for your vote. I just want to tell you how much I love this country.” It’s not that hard to read between the lines.
Finally, Duplantis insists this isn’t a scandal because he’s up front about what he wants. But that is, in itself, a scandal. It’s not that his request is illegal, or that he’s hiding his true intentions. The scandal is how he’s perverting a religious message in order to buy items on his wishlist. The scandal is how he’s twisting Christianity to suit his own needs.
Mitch Albom, the author and columnist for the Detroit Free Press, said as much in a recent article: “Scandals end. This is worse. This is an ongoing con job.” Albom also points out, correctly, that plenty of verses in the Bible preach humility. Jesus was no fan of the rich.
No wonder Duplantis isn’t citing the Bible to justify his demand for donations via the con of belief. There’s nothing biblical about this, unless the Bible is just your method of pulling a fast one over your fans.
“I don’t dupe nobody.” Never before has a double negative been so appropriate.