Kürzlich war Pastorin Paula White in den amerikanischen Medien stark vertreten. Beim Wahlkampfauftakt zu Donald Trumps Kampagne für die Präsidentschaftswahlen 2020 trat Paula White auf und betete für Trump (zu sehen hier). Unter anderem bat sie Gott darum, Trump vor den “dämonischen Netzwerken” – gemeint sind die Medien, insbesondere TV-Sender – zu schützen und Trump dabei zu unterstützen sein “Schicksal” (“destiny”) zu erfüllen.
Dies war aber nicht der erste Auftritt von Paula White an der Seite von Donald Trump. Neben ihrer ohnehin populären Kirche, erreichte sie besondere Bekanntheit, als sie bei Trumps Angelobung 2017 ein Gebet sprach. Seitdem gilt sie als Trumps “spiritual adviser”.
Paula White ist eine Vertreterin des so genannten Prosperity Gospel, einer speziellen Richtung des Pfingstchristentums, über das ich meine Masterarbeit 2017 geschrieben habe. Ganz kurz gesagt ist das Prosperity Gospel eine Form des Christentums, das daran glaubt, dass man Gesundheit und Wohlstand durch spezielle Formen des Gebetes, andere rituelle Handlungen und festen Glauben positiv beeinflussen kann. Ich habe ihr damals zwei Seiten gewidmet, um die Bedeutung des Prosperity Gospels in der heutigen USA zu unterstreichen. Der Artikel ist zwar 2 Jahre alt, verrät aber dennoch ein bisschen was über diese Frau.
In her daily life she [Paula White] is the senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida. Like many other preachers, the beginning of her religious story is a tragic one. When she was a child she suffered a personal loss—her father committed suicide. That resulted in a troubled childhood, in which she also had to endure abuse. However, when she was 18, she finally was introduced to the Bible and everything changed: “Soon after she gave her life to God, and received a vision that she was to preach the gospel of Christ around the world.”
Before she founded her own ministry in 2001, she preached in Washington DC as well as Los Angeles, including in multiple megachurches. Paula White-Cain especially emphasizes the humanitarian side of her work and personality. Her work includes food donations in the United States and overseas, providing help after Hurricane Katarina and after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, as well as being an example for women who want to pursue a career and a life for God. Her television program Paula Today potentially reaches 2.3 billion people worldwide, according to her website. Additionally, she serves as the chairperson of the Evangelical Advisory Board to President Trump as of 2017.
Concerning her beliefs, it is not clear when looking on her website whether she propagates the prosperity gospel. The section “What We Believe” for instance has no clear reference to it, but rather focuses on Pentecostal values in general.
However, there are plenty of references to her beliefs elsewhere. There is an explanation of the typical prosperity gospel doctrine of first fruits on her website: “God wants to see you succeed, and He has put a system into place based on the principle of ‘First Fruits.’ It is so important, the Bible references first fruits or first things or devoted things no less than 32 times!” She goes on to explain that sowing a seed at the beginning of the year will ensure a harvest for the rest of the year. “Give your very best as a first fruits offering and watch God’s unlimited blessings pour into your life and your family.” This very simple formula; to give something in order to receive is typical for the prosperity gospel.
The products she sells and endorses support these claims. In the CD set My Praise Produces she promises “examples of God’s desire to release supernatural blessing into your life through the power of your praise!” In the download Equipped to Win she introduces the three tools giving, fasting, and praying in order to “Get ready to win and release thirty (30), sixty (60), and one hundred (100) fold harvest in your life.”
One a side note, although not really linked to prosperity gospel as such, Paula White-Cain also believes that Donald Trump was elected president for a higher reason. She says it is important to be “loyal to Trump because it is what God wants. If God hadn’t intervened in the U.S. elections, she said, religious liberties would have eroded to such an extentthat people would have had to pray in an ‘underground church’ within five years.”