WIKIPEDIA: Kenneth Max Copeland (born December 6, 1936) is an American televangelist, and author associated with the Charismatic Movement. He runs the Kenneth Copeland Ministries based in Tarrant County, Texas. He has been identified as preaching the prosperity gospel. As part of his evangelism, he calls for donations to his church, with the suggestion that parishioners will get a “hundredfold” return on their investment. He has stirred controversy over his use of donations to finance mansions, private jets, an airport and other lavish purchases.
During the pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020, Copeland gained national attention for his comments and actions in response to the outbreak. He repeatedly claimed that the pandemic had ended or would soon end, that he could heal followers of it, and that his followers should continue paying tithes if they lost their jobs in the economic crisis that the pandemic caused.
In a broadcast, Copeland called it a weak strain of the flu, and that fear of it was sin and putting faith in the devil. Copeland said that he did not agree with pastors that cancelled their services due to the coronavirus, saying “I want you in my church. If we have to pass out thermometers. If we find one with a fever, let’s get him healed right there. What if you do get it? Big deal!”
Kenneth Copeland has repeatedly said during the pandemic that it has ended or will soon end. He said at one point that God told him that it would soon be over as Christians’ prayers have overwhelmed it, and that the pandemic was brought to America by “displays of hate” towards president Donald Trump by critics, which had intereferred with “divine protection”. On March 29, 2020, in a televised sermon, Copeland “executed judgement” on COVID-19. He claimed that it was “finished” and “over” and that the US was now “healed and well again”. In another sermon shortly thereafter, Copeland claimed to destroy the virus with the “wind of God”, saying “I blow the wind of God on you. You are destroyed forever, and you’ll never be back. Thank you, God. Let it happen. Cause it to happen.” MORE
RELATED: In 2013, a measles outbreak (20 confirmed cases as of August 26) in Tarrant County was attributed in the press to anti-vaccination sentiments expressed by members of the Copeland Ministries. The church denied making any such statements and urged members to get vaccinations, even offering free immunizations through the church itself. Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons, who is Kenneth Copeland’s daughter, offered free vaccination clinics and advised those who did not attend one of the clinics to quarantine themselves at home for two weeks. In a statement on the church website, Pearsons said she was not against immunizations, but also raised concerns about them. MORE
RELATED: Kenneth Copeland and his wife, Gloria Copeland, were featured in a 2015 episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that gained media attention. Comedian John Oliver criticized the Copelands for using tax laws to live in a $6.3 million mansion as the parsonage allowance for their home is not subject to income taxes, for using church donations to buy a $20 million jet that was used for trips to a ski resort and a private game ranch, and for promotion of healing through faith and skepticism of medicine, which Oliver highlighted with a video of Gloria Copeland saying that doctors give patients “poison that will make you sicker” and that the church is an alternative to medical treatment: “Which do you want to do? Do you want to do that”, Copeland asked of the doctor’s “poison” treatment, “or do you want to sit here on a Saturday morning, hear the word of God, and let faith come into your heart and be healed?” MORE