A Georgia lawmaker is raising some eyebrows after presenting a bill to rename a highway after her "prosperity gospel" pastor who wanted parishioners to raise $65 million so he could have a personal luxury jet.
State Sen. Donzella James (D) proposed renaming Old National Highway to honor her World Changers Church International pastor, Creflo Dollar, WDBTV reports.
"This is a church that's doing things in the community to make things better," James told WDBTV. "They have a food bank, they have a clothing bank. They give to anyone, you don't have to be a member."
But Dollar is better known for asking not what he could do for his community, but what his community could do for him.
Dollar, who subscribes to the controversial and counter-intuitive "prosperity gospel" idea that God shows his favor by lavishing wealth, came under fire last year for asking his followers to donate money so he could fly in a Gulfstream G650.
"We are asking members, partners, and supporters of this ministry to assist in the undertaking of an initiative called Project G650," Dollar wrote on his website. "The mission of Project G650 is to acquire a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace. We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality—and allow us to retire the aircraft that served us well for many years.”
Dollar was one of the preachers mocked by comedian John Oliver last year in a segment accusing prosperity gospel leaders of cynically manipulating their followers and bamboozling vulnerable people out of money to help them live luxurious lifestyles.
James told WSBTV she made the proposal not because she recently joined Dollar's flock, but because her constituents asked her to. But the residents interviewed by the station emphatically did not support the idea.
"Oh Lord have mercy, good God almighty, Lord no," one man exclaimed when the news was broken to him by the station. He then added, “He's not meeting the whole community needs, in my opinion, in order for this right here to be named after him."
Another young woman said Dollar may have an impact on members of his church, but not the community at large.
Watch the segment, by WSBTV which includes the reactions of residents, here: