Joel Osteen has faced a storm of criticism since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.
The Houston televangelist came under fire after the hurricane dumped 27 trillion gallons of rain on Texas, leaving tens of thousands homeless. Commentators slammed Osteen for delaying the opening of his 16,800-seater megachurch to flood refugees until four days after the storm made landfall.
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One person with whom the prosperity gospel appears to have found a home is President Trump. The Trump family attended Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, where the pastor was Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, a 1952 book that sold millions and was translated into more than a dozen languages. Trump has cited Peale as a mentor, telling the Iowa Family Leadership Summit in 2015 that he could listen to Peale “all day long. And when you left the church, you were disappointed it was over. He was the greatest guy.”
The presidential board of evangelical advisers, convened by Trump in 2016 to help him (successfully) court the religious right vote, also comprises of several high-profile prosperity preachers. Trump’s closest spiritual adviser, Paula White, the pastor of a Florida megachurch and popular Christian commentator, is one. White told an audience at a 2007 event: “Anyone who tells you to deny yourself is from Satan.”