NEWARK, Texas - Here in the gentle hills of north Texas, televangelist Kenneth Copeland has built a religious empire teaching that God wants his followers to prosper.
Over the years, a circle of Copeland's relatives and friends have done just that, The Associated Press has found. They include the brother-in-law with a lucrative deal to broker Copeland's television time, the son who acquired church-owned land for his ranching business and saw it more than quadruple in value, and board members who together have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at church events.
Church officials say no one improperly benefits through ties to Copeland's vast evangelical ministry, which claims more than 600,000 subscribers in 134 countries to its flagship "Believer's Voice of Victory" magazine. The board of directors signs off on important matters, they say. Yet church bylaws give Copeland veto power over board decisions.
Kenneth And Gloria Copeland checking 600 year old Oral Roberts head for lice.
Kenneth Copeland, 71, is a pioneer of the prosperity gospel, which teaches that believers are destined to flourish spiritually, physically and financially — and share the wealth with others.
His ministry's 1,500-acre campus outside Fort Worth is testament to his success. It includes a church, private airstrip, a hangar for the ministry's aircraft and a $6 million, church-owned mansion.
Already a well-known figure, Copeland has come under greater scrutiny in recent months. He is one target of a Senate Finance Committee investigation into allegations of questionable spending and lax financial accountability at six large televangelist organizations that preach health-and-wealth theology.
All have denied wrongdoing, but Copeland has fought back the hardest, refusing to answer most questions from the inquiry's architect, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.Ok. Copeland is a fraud, a phony and a charlatan all of this is true but even though he is making good money ( millions) coning the truly stupid and ignorant he is really a small fry. Why isn't the AP and Grassley going after the big time con artists like Paul And Jan Crouch and Pat Robertson? I know the answer to that question but I just thought I would ask.