About two years ago, Inside Edition aired a segment in which reporter Lisa Guerrero looked into televangelists and their greed. It followed years of people like Jesse Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland bragging about their decisions to buy private jets.
The show reported that Duplantis used his private plan for a one-hour flight from Fort Worth to New Orleans. That jaunt cost about $14,000. A regular flight would’ve been under $200. Guerrero also found that, contrary to Duplantis saying the plane was all about spreading the gospel to more people in less time, he had used the plane for 16 personal vacations to Hawaii. Damning stuff.
But the part of the segment that got the most attention online was Guerrero’s confrontation with Copeland, when she asked about how he wanted his congregation to pay for his $54 million private jet.
Okay, people online also loved this image:
But back to the segment. Here’s what aired on TVs across the country:
The show pointed out that Copeland had used his (two!) planes for visits to “a vacation ski resort in Colorado at least 143 times since 2000.”
Copeland, who infamously said he needed a private jet in order to avoid flying like everyone else in a “long tube with a bunch of demons,” denied making that statement, too (even though it’s on video).
“No I do not and don’t you ever say I did,” Copeland responded. Copeland said the jet is important to his ministry. “If I flew commercial, I’d have to stop 65% of what I’m doing.”
“How much did you pay for Tyler Perry’s Gulfsteam jet for example?” Guerrero countered.
“Well, for example, that’s really not of your business,” he replied.
“Isn’t it the business of your donors?” she asked.
“Listen, he made that airplane so cheap for me, I couldn’t help but buy it,” Copeland said.
I, too, enjoy buying my private jets at a discount…
Whatever the cost was, it was undoubtedly tens of millions of dollars on the low end. Remember that Copeland later tried to raise $2.5 million from his followers for upgrades — and even more for storage space.
If you need millions of dollars for upgrades, the base price is bound to be many multiples of that.
Now here’s the thing about that segment: We only saw that conversation with Copeland for about 30 seconds. It obviously lasted longer in person, but the show had to edit it down for time. But a month later, Inside Edition released the full-length interview… and it was nearly 12 minutes.
That version included even more batshit crazy statements… in addition to lines that just come off as creepy:
COPELAND: It takes a lot of money to do what we do. We have brought over — the latest figures just came out — 122 million people to the Lord Jesus Christ. [Note: Citation needed.]
COPELAND (to Guerrero): I love your eyes.
GUERRERO: Do you ever use your private jets to go visit your vacation homes, for example?
COPELAND: Yes I do.
COPELAND (explaining the “demons” comment): People get pushed in alcohol. Do you think that’s a good place for a preacher to be and prepare to go preach to a lot of people? When somebody in there is dragging some woman down an aisle, it made me so mad to see that on television, I wanted to punch the guy out myself! I can’t be doing that while I’m getting ready to preach!
COPELAND: I am a very wealthy man.
COPELAND: My wealth doesn’t come from offerings alone.
GUERRERO: Because you sell things — books and DVDs.
COPELAND: Yes, and I have a lot of natural gas on our property… Didn’t know that, did you, baby?
GUERRERO: Now I do!
COPELAND: Yeah you do! Ain’t that wonderful?
GUERRERO: It’s wonderful for you…
COPELAND: If you go into the Old Covenant, do you think the Jewish people believe you should be broke?
GUERRERO: Are you saying that Jewish people appreciate money more than…?
COPELAND: They believe in wealth.
So why bring all this up now?
1) Because there’s never a bad time to watch Copeland make a fool of himself.
2) Because Copeland referred to that segment over the weekend during a sermon.
Somehow his recollection of those 12 minutes is very different from the conversation we just saw. He told the audience that he welcomed the interview because it gave him a chance to preach the Gospel to a wide viewing audience. And that wouldn’t have happened unless he bought that super-expensive plane. (See?! Justification!)
Now, sometime last year, I walked out of this building really doing well, and got outside there, and just about to get in the car.
And I looked up. Normally, I just get in the car and go, because somebody had a camera out there. But I had this catch in my spirit that said, “Answer her.”
So I said yes!
She walked over there and said, “We are with Inside Edition.” I said, “Glory to God! You mean to tell me I made Inside Edition?” I mean, hey, this is one of my wife’s favorite programs! Well, it used to be. I didn’t lie. We just hadn’t watched it in a long time.
You know what got her attention? My airplane. Sound like anything familiar to you?… I had an opportunity right there on Inside Edition to talk about Abraham and his wealth, to talk about the curse of poverty… and it just went out everywhere because I own a big airplane.
Now [imitating his critics] “Why, Brother Copeland… you own a $45 million airplane!” Yeah, but you don’t know what I paid for it! Nowhere near that, but it’s the same airplane! And Gloria designed a new interior for it… sonny boy… and a lot of you partners put us in it, but she didn’t know that!
Literally zero viewers saw the short or extended version of that interview and decided to convert to Christianity as a result of Copeland mentioning Abraham. (Prove me wrong.) The segment exposed Copeland as a greedy Christian fraud, not a vehicle for the message of Jesus.
By the way, Guerrero herself had a brief response to Copeland’s sermon:
— Lisa Guerrero �� (@4lisaguerrero) April 12, 2021
Later in the full sermon, by the way, Copeland laments about how his Wikipedia page is being edited to make him look bad — changing his net worth from $700 million to $300 million in a matter of seconds — but he doesn’t dispute even the lower amount.
Copeland is rich beyond belief, yet it never seems to dissuade his followers from giving people like him even more, no matter how frivolously he uses the cash for personal reasons. The public has no way of knowing how much his ministry takes in or spends because ministries aren’t required to report that information. And it’s all tax free.
(via Christian Nightmares. Portions of this article were published earlier)