Imagine Janis Joplin’s “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a Mercedes Benz” but with the repurposed lyrics, “The Lord said, for you to buy me, a Dassault Falcon 7X” and performed by the proliferator of prosperity gospel himself, Jesse Duplantis.
Although Mr. Duplantis would have his parishioners believe that Jesus spoke to him of performing his devotional and Christian outreach using a 54 million dollar luxury private jet, isn’t it more likely that Duplantis’ real intent lies in the amassing of material possessions that imply he leads just as lavish a lifestyle as his Evangelical counterparts?
Not to say that Jesus’ taste in aircraft isn’t impeccable. French aviation manufacturer Dassault has developed and manufactured several impressive aircraft from the Falcon 6x to the Falcon 7x that Duplantis is lusting (sin) after, which is the largest in their line of luxury business jets.
This is in keeping with the premise of the song itself which essentially says you don’t have anything if you don’t have in your possession what your friends or neighbors possess as well or in a more biblical sense, “Thou must keep up with the Joneses.”
The “Jones” being Duplantis’ various other preaching peers who in recent years have each taken up a similar cause in asking their parishioners, who live infinitely more humble lives than the leaders of their flocks, to supply them with the means to purchase private jets.
It was only a few years ago that Creflo Dollar faced a firestorm after asking his followers to provide donations so he could purchase a 60 million dollar Gulfstream G650. And, earlier this year Duplantis joined fellow prosperity proponent, Kenneth Copeland in a video defending their need for access to private aviation as a means of travel. Copeland was quoted as saying that he is often asked for prayers from bystanders while traveling commercial and as a result of the prevalence of a dope-filled society, he couldn’t be expected to fly in a virtual tube with a bunch of demons. Therefore, it was only necessary to save him from coming in contact with said ‘demons”, he acquired a Gulfstream V jet from actor, producer, director, Tyler Perry.
Duplantis has said that the procurement of the Dassault Falcon 7X, which he says is necessary to take his outreach to global proportions, makes it possible for him to reach people in all corners of the world and that it wouldn’t necessarily belong to him, but the ministry itself. Which only makes sense, after all, they will have paid for it, but what do you think will happen when one or a group of them ask to take the luxury jet for a spin?
According to Duplantis, the roots of prosperity gospel lie in the hoarding of nice cars, million-dollar homes, and jets. All of which is evidenced by Duplantis own collection of private aircraft which includes, a Cessna Citation 500, an IAI Westwind II, and a Dassault Falcon 50. Owning these luxury items is indicative of God blessing people for living a devoted and faithful life.
However, is requesting parishioner donations in keeping with the humility and everything in moderation that Jesus tried to impart upon the world at large and essentially what his death is expected to have taught us? According to several churchgoers, tithing is a principle dictated in the bible that says one-tenth of annual produce or earnings, will be taken as a tax for the support of the church and clergy. And, that anything beyond that 10 percent is considered an offering. The tithe is to be given in the form of a monetary donation and is not to be confused with donating one’s time or efforts.
Given the state of the current economy is it reasonable to assume that if all of Duplantis’ followers gave 10 percent of their annual income he could purchase the jet? Or have they done this already and it been used to offset a cost elsewhere? Furthermore, in delivering this income to your church, wouldn’t you expect it to be used in a manner keeping with the teachings of Christ that say” Luke 12:33-34 English Standard Version (ESV) “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Additionally in Luke, 12:15 ESV, “And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Perhaps we are reading this incorrectly, but this seems slightly in converse to what Duplantis is trying to impart. Regardless, Twitter has decided to rake Duplantis over the coals regarding the outlandishness of his request. Some calling it an outright exercise in hypocrisy.
Duplantis has said that if Jesus were alive today, he would not be traveling by donkey. This is perhaps true as it would not feasible for Jesus to travel globally while riding an ass. However, he may be inclined to hitch a ride on one of Duplantis’ luxury jets in which case some would say he would be riding alongside one.