Houston, TX — Houston-based televangelist and Christian personality Joel Osteen announced on his weekly program that his ministry is opening a chain of same-day loan stores throughout Texas. Called Payday With Jesus, Osteen claims that his high-interest rate same-day paycheck loans are different from competitors because “they’re backed with the blood and healing of our savior Jesus Christ.”
“God, I don’t like it,” said Osteen on his weekly radio program The Wealth of Jesus. “I’m uncomfortable, but I’m smart enough to realize that You’re God and I’m not. This is why our ministry is reaching out to not only those who need a helping hand but the helping hand of Jesus Christ.”
According to a prospectus released by Joel Osteen Ministries, Payday With Jesus will offer same-day paycheck advance loans with a 420.42% APR, which works out to about $25.00 per $100.00 of loan money. However, what makes Payday With Jesus loans different, according to the filing, is that each loan comes with a designated “prayer agent” with a direct “b-line to God via his only Son Jesus Christ.”
“It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty,” continued Mr. Osteen, commenting on his new loan venture. “It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills. If prosperity means God wants us to be blessed and healthy and have good relationships, then yes, I’m a prosperity teacher. Loans are about success, not money. And with Jesus involved, all things are possible.”
However, Mr. Osteen’s new enterprise is not without its critics.
“I just don’t understand how people keep falling for this charlatan,” said Carol Salsbury-Swanson, CEO of the Houston-based Poverty Food Services, which offers free frozen meals to needy families. “He’s preying on the poor again. And the worst thing about all this is that it’s 100% legal in Texas.”
In response to his detractors, Joel Osteen Ministry issued a statement early this week condemning those who condemn “their godly works.”
“While we respect people’s right to free speech, we will not allow our work to go criticized by those who have no idea what we do,” said Osteen Ministry director of communication Bethany Millbright reading from a prepared statement. “We are helping God’s flock in their time of need leveraging the economic mechanisms that have made this country great. In Jesus’s name, we lift people.”