Televangelist Kevin Copeland got defensive when a reporter confronted him about his claim that flying commercial was like “getting in a long tube with a bunch of demons.” He angrily brushed off criticisms about his opulent lifestyle, and dismissively referred to the female reporter as “sweetheart” and “baby.”
What’s the background?
Copeland reportedly spent $3 million to buy a Gulfstream V jet that had previously been owned by actor, comedian, and producer Tyler Perry. The pastor has been frequently criticized for his extravagant lifestyle by people who don’t believe this is an appropriate way for a preacher to live.
“Inside Edition” reporter Lisa Guerrero confronted Copeland about how he justified the expense of the private jet and why he compared flying commercial to “getting in a long tube with a bunch of demons.”
Copeland angrily denied that he had ever made that comment. He also claimed that his private jet was a necessity. He said his ministry had “brought 122 million people to the Lord Jesus Christ.” If those people were a country (according to the CIA World Factbook), they would be the 12th most populous country in the world. He said that without the plane he would “have to stop 65 percent of what” he was doing.
He also claimed that Tyler Perry had made the private jet “so cheap” that he “couldn’t help but buy it.”
When Guerrero tried to bring up the comment about commercial flights being filled with “demons” again, he deflected saying “give me a chance here, ‘Inside Edition,'” adding, “I love your eyes,” pointing at Guerrero’s face and smiling.
Confronted a third time by Guerrero about whether he believed “human beings are demons,” Copeland got even more defensive. “No I do not, and don’t you ever say I did,” he said, wagging his finger at her. “We wrestle not with flesh and blood,” he continued, quoting Ephesians 6 after an angry pause, ” but principalities and powers.”
When she interrupted him to again ask for clarification, Copeland shot back, “If you give me a chance to talk, sweetheart, I’ll explain this to you,” clearly tired of being asked that question. He said that he didn’t think a commercial airline was a good place for him to be when he was getting ready to preach, suggesting that it wasn’t the people but their problems that he was avoiding.
He insisted that his luxurious lifestyle was not at odds with his ministry, adding that in addition to revenue from book and merchandise sales, he also had natural gas on his land. “Didn’t know that, did you, baby?” he quipped to the reporter.
What else did they talk about?
Copeland said that people who preached against the prosperity gospel (the belief that God will make Christians wealthy if they follow him) had a “misunderstanding of the Bible.” He pointed to the Old Testament and asked, “Do you think the Jewish people believe you should be broke?” He also asserted that Jesus’ disciples were wealthy men.
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