Trump’s spiritual guide urges congregation to prioritise church donations before paying bills

Louise Hall
Washington Post

Donald Trump’s pastor is telling Florida worshippers to prioritise giving money to the church, before paying their own mortgages.

Paula White, the controversial televangelist who serves as Mr Trump’s spiritual guide, warned thousands of congregants in Miami to put God before their own financial needs.

During the sermon she urged attendees of the mass to pay their monthly donation, or tithe, to the church before they had payed other necessary personal expenses such as electricity or their mortgage.

"So let's just say I get paid $1,000 and I pay my mortgage first or I pay, what's the electric company here? FPL. I pay FPL first instead of bringing the first tenth to the house of God every week, which clearly is instructed throughout the word of God," she said.

Ms White continued to encourage members to contribute large amounts of money to the church.

"You can't just bring a gratitude offering. It has to be a First Fruits offering! If it is one week's salary, if it's a month. If it's a day, it's got to be the whole of something. Quickly! Bring it up—do you need an envelope?" she said.

Ms White is known for her self-proclaimed rags to riches narrative, having worked her way up from rural Tupelo Mississipi to the White House, often citing a close relationship with God and Donald Trump as her driving forces.

A tithe is one tenth of monthly earnings expected to be paid as a contribution to a religious organisation, but is not intended to be mandatory for financially underprivileged members of the church.

However, Ms White emphasised to the room, which hosts almost 7,000 people, that members should prioritise the investment in God above all else.

"You see, there is a divine accurate order. People pay tithe but they pay it in leftover," she said.

Ms White placed shoes on her hands and pants over her head in a theatrical demonstration of how backward it is to pay your bills before contributing tithes.

She joined the Trump administration in an official capacity last year to work in the Office of Public Liaison, but has stood as the president’s unofficial advisor since 2016.

The pastor has long been a source of controversy, facing backlash in January for comments seemingly advocating divine forces to cause the miscarriage of babies in "satanic wombs."

Ms White later took to Twitter to argue that the miscarriage comments in the video posted by Right Wing Watch were taken out of context.

UPDATE (24.02.20): A previous version of this article reported that God had previously told Paula White to donate her entire $8m salary to God. Paula White has asked The Independent to clarify that in fact, she has never made a personal donation of this sum, rather, the figure relates to a donation which Paula White Ministries gave to mission outreach programs.