Televangelist Scam Artist Says God Wants His Followers To Buy Him A $54 Million Jet

New Orleans televangelist Jesse Duplantis recently claims he heard an odd message from “God”: get you a new private jet and get the rubes you’ve duped to pay for it! Ok, so that’s not exactly how Duplantis puts it, but it’s basically what he means.

In a (now paywalled) video for Jesse Duplantis Ministries, Duplantis makes the case for why God wants him to have a private jet, specifically the $54 million Falcon 7X.

In the video Duplantis says: “In one of the greatest statements the Lord ever told me, he said ‘Jesse you want to come up where I’m at? I said ‘what do you mean?’ He said ‘Before you ask I’ll answer’.”

Mr Duplantis went on to say,

“I want you to believe in me for a Falcon 7X. I said ‘OK’ but the first thing I thought of is how am I going to pay for it, and then a great statement that he told me in 1978 flooded into my mind. He said ‘Jesse, I didn’t ask you to pay for it, I asked you believe for it’.”

He also says he knows Jesus would travel the same way. “I really believe that if Jesus was on the Earth today he wouldn’t be riding a donkey.” Duplantis says, “He’d be in an airplane preaching the gospel flying all over the world.”

Duplantis has owned private jets before, three of them, the last of which he bought in 2006. In some ways these planes help him sell the image of the “prosperity gospel” he preaches.

Duplantis tells his supporters that if they give money, specifically to him, they’ll be rewarded with wealth of their own. It’s easier to trick poor people into believing they can be wealthy if they pony up some cash if you live a lavish lifestyle that Jesus certainly did not. It’s a pretty great grift if you’ve got no morals!

But there’s reason to be alarmed and scandalized by this even if you’re not being scammed. Duplantis’ church is exempt from paying taxes, which means U.S. taxpayers are helping subsidize his scam and Duplantis has been investigated for fraud in the past.

If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of how the grift works, check out John Oliver’s episode on televangelists: