A Court Evangelical Exposed: *Heat Street* on Paula White

Paula_WhiteIf you want to understand one of the few female Court Evangelicals, check out Jillian Kay Melchior’s piece at Heat Street on prosperity preacher Paula White, pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida.

(By the way, she is married to the guy who helped write this song).

Here is a taste:

The most politically influential Christian in America is a controversial Florida preacher many evangelical Republicans may never have heard of: Paula White, a Florida televangelist.

“Inside this little blond Barbie package is a pit bull!” White recently said of herself. And that pit bull, who has known Donald Trump for about 15 years, is now chair of the president’s Evangelical Advisory Council—a powerful board of Christian leaders advising the administration on everything from political appointments and judiciary nominees to legislative priorities.

White has led prayers at both the Republican National Convention and the inauguration. When Trump met in February with prominent conservatives to discuss appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, White sat at the president’s immediate right. She also opened a Rose Garden ceremony last week and stood behind the president as he signed an executive order on religious liberty.

White rose to this prominent position despite decades-long concerns from Christian leaders, religious watchdogs and journalists.

Those critics claim White uses her pulpit to emotionally and spiritually manipulate her congregants, who are mostly black and low- to middle-income, aggressively pressuring them to donate to the church. Congressional investigators have also looked at her lavish lifestyle, which includes million-dollar properties, fancy cars and frequent travel.

Unlike the Obama Administration, Trump will not release visitor logs, so it’s unclear how frequently White has met with the president and his staff. But in January, she described herself as “a person that can walk into [Trump’s] office pretty openly and freely and pray over him.” Last week, on the eve of the National Day of Prayer, White sat at Trump’s table at an intimate private dinner with religious leaders, also presenting the president with a framed page of the King James Bible from 1611 A.D., a gift from the Museum of the Bible.

White has insisted her behavior is ethical, saying disgruntled former employees slandered her. But she did not seem to want Heat Street looking into these allegations.

In response to my questions, White turned to the law firm of Martin Singer, a bare-knuckles lawyer whose A-list clients have included Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen and Bill Cosby. In a letter, White’s lawyers threatened a lawsuit against not only Heat Street and Dow Jones but also “Ms. Melchior, personally,” writing that “all those involved will be liable for tens of millions of dollars in damages.”

Read the rest here.