Televangelist Paula White was a recent guest on my radio program in Detroit. She and her husband of 18 years, Randy White, announced in August that they would be divorcing and yet continuing their respective ministries: Randy as Senior Pastor of Church Without Walls in Tampa, Florida and Paula as an itinerant evangelist and “Life Coach.”
For most of the 30 minutes we talked I challenged her on her theology, as revealed in her latest book “You’re All That!,” as well as her divorce. I asked her to justify statements made by members of her church that her divorce would have no impact whatsoever on its ministry. How is that possible, I asked? How is it possible that two high profile ministers could conclude that their own relationship was so damaged that divorce was the only solution, and yet believe themselves spiritually fit to continue their ministries? She had no concrete answers, and so she concluded our 30 minute conversation this way:
“And while we’re talking about painful, difficult situations, with all due respect, I understand “let’s get the elephant out of the room,” we’ve taken 30 minutes on divorce. But I don’t understand why not an interviewer or a believer as yourself has not asked me how my daughter, who has a death sentence, with third and fourth stage cancer, how she’s doing now.”
I sat stunned for a moment; stunned because I didn’t know, but more shocked that she would use a family tragedy to make me look like a terrible person simply because I challenged her theology and lifestyle.
What pray tell, does her daughter’s illness have to do with answering questions about her divorce and her humanistic theology? Is Paula White above criticism because she has a terminally ill daughter?
The larger question is: if her daughter’s illness is so serious as to warrant her not having to answer questions about her very public divorce and her very abberant theology, why is Paula White on an eight city book tour while her daughter lay dying? During our conversation she boarded a plane for Detroit for a book signing the next day.
The fact is, “her” daughter is not her daughter at all. “Her” daughter is actually her estranged husband Randy’s daughter from a previous marriage. “Her” daughter is an adult, not a child. She led me and my audience to believe that she had a young child at home dying of cancer. Paula White played the sympathy card when it became apparent she had lost the sympathy of the audience on the issues she was asked to address.
Paula White is a well managed image worth millions of dollars. Behind that image is a real person, a wounded and broken human being, who lives in fear of being exposed. Paula White revealed how broken she is when she used her dying daughter as a desperate cover to protect at all costs her well managed image. She needs our prayers as much as her daughter.
Listen to the complete interview here.