Huckabee Undeterred by Senate Probe of Copeland
Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is standing by televangelist Kenneth Copeland as the U.S. Senate investigates the ministry's potential financial misconduct.
Copeland has given his support to Huckabee and appears in ads with the Republican candidate in the religious magazine Charisma to promote the ministry's upcoming TV special.
Despite the potential negative effect, former Baptist preacher Huckabee has expressed his trust in the Copelands and will appear on the ministry's TV show next week.
"Kenneth and Gloria Copeland are about the most gracious, authentic, and humble people I know and I consider them dear friends," Huckabee wrote to Time magazine. "They have brought hope to millions and have operated with the utmost integrity as far as I know.
"I have found them to be as warm and genuine in their private moments as they are in their public moments," he said.
The Copelands are part of a faction of Charismatic Christianity which preaches what critics call the "prosperity Gospel" – a highly criticized theology which teaches that wealth is a sign of God's blessing.
Copeland Ministries has expressed in a statement online that it is leaning towards not complying with the request for financial records from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) of the Senate Finance Committee.
John Copeland – son of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, and CEO of Kenneth Copeland Ministries – said the ministry "has been, and always will be, a ministry of integrity."
"As a church organization, we are required only to share our information with the Internal Revenue Service," Copeland said regarding the Senate probe, according to the Texas-based Star-Telegraph newspaper. "We operate our church in full compliance with IRS guidelines."
"We are very diligent in protecting the privacy of our Partners and Friends. We will not participate in a public spectacle. We operate our ministry with privacy – not secrecy."
The Copelands received the longest questionnaire about their finances, according to Time.
Grassley has asked six televangelists to submit information about their finances by Dec. 6.
"Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey," Grassley, a Christian, told the Los Angeles Times. "Do these ministers really need Bentleys and Rolls-Royces to spread the Gospel?"
The multimillion-dollar ministry heads, dubbed the "Grassley Six," are Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Binny Hinn, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Joyce and David Meyer, and Randy and Paula White.
Long and Dollar have said they will provide financial records requested.
Copeland will have Huckabee as a guest for five consecutive days on his internationally aired television show Believer's Voice of Victory beginning Monday.