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Joel Osteen built a cult-like empire by giving desperate Americans ‘an empty box of hope’

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A feature in the Houston Chronicle published Thursday called “Preacher’s Son” charts mega church pastor Joel Osteen’s path to building a million-dollar multi-media empire.

Osteen doesn’t bother with complex theological questions. He also avoids contentious issues like abortion and gay rights.

Instead, the article notes, he shills a vague, sunny optimism that’s irresistible to Americans grappling with everything from illness and divorce to problems at work.

A sampling of Osteen’s preaching, broadcast from the stage of Houston’s Lakewood Church, the biggest church in the country: “God is arranging things in your favor. You have a backbone made of steel. All you have to do is believe.”

Osteen’s media empire includes a television show—watched by 10 million Americans—websites, podcasts, self-help books, CDs, DVDs, a 24-hour Sirius XM station. He has 8.58 million Twitter followers and this morning he advised them that, “We all face challenges, but we don’t have to get discouraged, God controls the universe. He won’t allow anything to happen unless He has a way to bring good out of it.”

Some religious scholars object to Osteen’s vast wealth and luxury life style, the Chronicle notes.

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“There’s always the question of how much money is too much for a pastor to earn,” Carl Trueman, a pastor and professor of church history at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, told the paper. “When you’re looking at his lavish private lifestyle, I’d say that’s too much.”

Others pointed out that Osteen’s message wrongly sells an unwarranted optimism that might be dangerous for his audience.  “All you get is an empty box of hope for a better life someday,” another critic noted.

Osteen is not concerned.

“I’ve outlasted the critics and figured out what I feel like I’m supposed to do,” he said in one of two lengthy interviews with the Houston Chronicle. “If you have a message to get out, there has never been a better day.”

The  reporter, who attended one of Osteen’s sermons, observed that “From the first word to the last, he never stops smiling.”

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Trump thinks he can create his own healthcare law that will take the issue off the table for Democrats

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One of the significant issues Republicans lost on in 2018 was their nearly decade-long crusade to unmake the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

This week Trump will announce that he's running for president again, and he promises a surprise announcement while there. While it's unclear what he intends for the surprise, one thing he is talking about is a better healthcare law than the Democratic one.

According to The New York Times, Trump is "vowing to issue the plan within a month or two, reviving a campaign promise with broad consequences for next year’s contest."

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Donald Trump whines: ‘My life has always been a fight’

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The full interview with President Donald Trump finally aired on ABC Sunday, revealing the shocking way that he views his life.

Trump lamented that he's had such a hard life, as the son of multi-millionaires who paid to get him out of trouble multiple times.

"You're a fighter. You, you, it feels like you're in a constant kind of churn--" host George Stephanopoulos began.

"Yeah, uh, my life has always been a fight," Trump said. "And I enjoy that I guess, I don't know if I enjoy it or not, I guess -- sometimes I have false fights like the Russian witch hunt. That's a false fight. That's a made-up, uh, hoax. And I had to fight that."

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The right-wing scored more in years of Trump than eight years of George W. Bush: report

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President George W. Bush oversaw eight years that restricted rights, banned LGBTQ equality, appointed anti-choice judges and so much more. But under Donald Trump's presidency, social conservatives have managed to roll back any progress made by President Barack Obama's leadership.

A new Axios report listed out any anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-poor policies.

“He campaigned saying that he would be a good friend to LGBT people,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told VOX. "Actions speak far louder than words. And what he's done has been a wreck."

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