Comedian and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight John Oliver slammed televangelists on Sunday for their greed and extortion as they enjoy mass wealth as a result. To mock the government’s absence of regulation, Oliver started his own church, called “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” naming himself “megapastor” and CEO.
Looks like Oliver struck a nerve. On Wednesday, Christian minister Jennifer LeClaire said Oliver shouldn’t “mock what you don’t understand,” calling him a “false reverend.”
LeClaire, who operates the Awakening House of Prayer, admitted there are abusive churches. But she does believe in the concept of “seed faith” — the idea that giving money to a church will result in returns for the giver.
“[W]e have to be careful not to paint everyone who believes for an airplane or sows a seed to get out of debt as a heretic,” she writes.
Oliver’s segment hilariously skewered preachers whose fantastic displays of wealth come at a large cost to parishioners who they compel to donate what little money they have. They tend to believe in the conveniently self-serving idea of prosperity as a sign of God’s favor.
“I do believe in supernatural debt cancellation,” LeClaire writes. “And I don’t believe we should mock so-called prosperity preachers, even if we don’t believe they hear from God. Nor do I believe we should insinuate that God is cursing at them, as Oliver did.”
These preachers, like Robert Tilton, Mike Murdock, Todd Coontz, Henry Fernandez and Creflo Dollar, live in multi-million dollar houses, take lavish vacations and own private jets while they instruct followers to go beyond their financial means to give them donations.
In a seven-month correspondence with Robert Tilton, Oliver was able to reveal that the church was basically a predatory financial scam.
Watch John Oliver’s segment on televangelism here: