Private air travel isn’t always about luxury. It’s not always senior executives in business, either, flying private. A team of Walmart middle managers originating in Bentonville, Arkansas might three days to visit a single store in the Upper Midwest including travel time — or visit multiple stores in a day.
Kenneth Copeland’s ministry once disclosed that it owns at least 5 planes, though now says he has three — including a Gulfstream V which was purchased from Tyler Perry. Copeland says the Lord speaks to him, and performs maintenance on his aircraft. Here he is taking possession of Tyler Perry’s jet:
The minister has described flying commercial as getting in a long tube with a bunch of demons. Lisa Guerrero ambushed Copeland with a surprise interview for Inside Edition. She asked him about whether it’s appropriate for a preacher to spend money on private jets this way (he says got a great deal on the plane from Perry) and about the comment about flying with demons – are people demons?
Copeland says he can’t let himself get distracted by passengers being dragged down the aisle on commercial flights. So really it’s all United’s fault that he has to fly private. He finds David Dao distracting and wouldn’t want to stop to pray for a victim like that, it seems.
People. I love people. Jesus loves people. People get pushed in alcohol. Do you think that’s a good place for a preacher to be and prepare to go preach to a lot of people when somebody in there is dragging some woman down an aisle, it made me so mad to see that on television I wanted to punch the guy out myself. I can’t be doing that when I’m trying to get ready to preach.
And as far as whether it’s appropriate for a minister to be wealthy and live in luxury he says, “if you go into the old covenant, do you think the Jewish people believe you should be broke?”
A Presidential candidate can more effectively conduct a national campaign with a chartered jet. Security for the Pope would be far more challenging flying commercial.
I wouldn’t rule out a ministry doing exceptional work leveraging their effectiveness by reducing travel time or improving security with a private aircraft. I am skeptical that’s what’s going on here, however.