Paula White, an American evangelical pastor and one of U.S. President Donald Trump's spiritual advisors, has voiced her support for zero tolerance regarding border laws and has stated that Jesus' three-and-a-half year stay in Egypt did not qualify him as a refugee during an interview with CBN, published on July 9th.
White preaches the "prosperity gospel", a subset of the Christian faith popular in the United States, which advocates that donations given to the Church will come back around and make the donor richer. White was a guest of Trump at the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem.
Professor Anthony Pinn, religious studies professor at Rice University, has described the prosperity gospel as "as a way to religiously rationalize material acquisition."
White, a friend of Trump's and one of his spiritual advisers, gave a sermon at his 2016 presidential inauguration, becoming the first prosperity preacher to perform at the ceremony.
In the interview with CBN, after she visited the Youth for Tomorrow foster care center, where some of the children separated from their parents under Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy are being housed, she praised the center's efforts, and said the center was "beyond phenomenal".
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She also claimed that she learned that most of the children were in debt ranging between $3,000 and $10,000 to human traffickers and said the visit strengthened her views on the needs for tightened border security.
When asked about whether there was a part of the Bible which her visit brought to mind, she said: "I think so many people have taken biblical scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, 'Well, Jesus was a refugee'".
"Yes, He did live in Egypt for three-and-a-half years. But it was not illegal. If He had broken the law then He would have been sinful and He would not have been our Messiah."
Many on Twitter, both religious leaders and laymen alike, took to their keyboards to quickly rebuke her statement: