In its airing on May 24, the television magazine Inside Edition explored the opulent lifestyles of six different megachurch preachers, all accused of mishandling the donations of their congregants and all under investigation of a special U.S. Senate committee. The show attempted to interview the pastors formally (all of whom declined), but an IE correspondent followed Creflo Dollar, founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International (WCCI) in College Park, Georgia, and asked him about his travels via private jet and his mansion in Atlanta. Dollar had no comment. The report said one of the pastors, Kenneth Copeland, owns a fleet of jets and a private airport in addition to his mansion and waterfront boathouse. When asked, Copeland said his life “follows Scripture” and he’s never asked anyone for money. “We give. We believe we’re open.” Kenneth Copeland’s ministry website includes a page explaining their financial accountability and their donation management process. IE interviewed a representative of the Trinity Foundation, a church watchdog group, about large, prosperity-oriented ministries like Dollar’s and Copeland’s: “Televangelism is a $2 to $3 billion industry, untaxed, unregulated,” they said.
What do you think? Does the media have it out for popular ministers, or is there a degree of truth to the unbalanced lifestyle of wealthy evangelists?