Florida pastor refuses to give up millions of dollars stolen in a Ponzi scheme -- calling it 'God's blessings'

The American prosperity gospel is a uniquely capitalist interpretation of the teachings of traditional Christianity, which emphasize humility and service to the needy. In contrast, many U.S. evangelicals ascribe to the idea that great wealth is a sign of God's favor.

This philosophy has allowed Megachurch pastors to amass millions and lead lavish lifestyles, seeing no contradiction between their actions and the lessons of Jesus.

A pastor in Florida is stretching it even further, refusing to give up $1.7 million to the victims of a Ponzi scheme, calling the money “God’s blessings,” the Friendly Atheist reports.

"A federal judge has temporarily frozen the accounts of Winners Church and its top pastors, Fred and Whitney Shipman. In an unusual move, the father and son leaders of the 25-year-old Jog Road church are fighting efforts that would allow the money to be returned to hundreds of people who were lured into a far-flung diamond and bitcoin investment scam."

“It’s going to have a ripple effect in everything we do from this point on,” Bishop Fred Shipman told U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg, according to the Palm Beach Post. He added that it's not fair for him to have to return money stolen by one of the church’s directors who was involved in the scheme. “I don’t think it’s fair.”