TV host John Oliver criticised for mocking 'prosperity' preachers in his exposé

TV host John Oliver talks about 'prosperity' preachers in this screenshot of a video footage from HBO's 'Last Week Tonight' show aired on Aug. 16, 2015.(Facebook/John Oliver)

Comedian and TV host John Oliver of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" aired a segment on his show where he discussed televangelists and how "US tax law allows television preachers to get away with almost anything. We know this from personal experience."

To mock the US government, he announced that he has established his own "church" called "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption" where he is the "megapstor" and CEO, according to the Raw Story.

This didn't sit well with Jennifer LeClaire, director of the Awakening House of Prayer in Florida. In her column on Charisma News, LeClaire said Oliver went overboard in his expose.

"That said, we have to be careful not to paint everyone who believes for an airplane or sows a seed to get out of debt as a heretic. Yes, Oliver exposed some excesses, but he went overboard with many of the examples he cited. In any case, I don't believe we should mock anybody. I despise the mocking spirit. And I know that God is not mocked," she wrote.

LeClaire said Oliver "aired what could be best described as an exposé on preachers like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Mike Murdoch and Robert Tilton."

On the show, Oliver identified the so-called "prosperity" preachers "who believe God for healing and high-end airplanes," LeClaire said.

"If Robert Tilton, Kenneth Copeland and all these pastors can get away with it and we get stopped, truly we have witnessed a (expletive) miracle," Oliver said.

LeClaire said she understands the concern about prosperity preachers.

"There is plenty of financial abuse in the church. Some time ago I was on a television programme where one of the other guests promised God would break generational curses if viewers sowed a significant seed," she said.

She said she does not endorse "manipulative sermons with the sole purpose of wringing pennies (thousands of them) out of your pocket."

"I see the abuses. But I do believe in the concept of seed faith. I do believe God wants us to prosper and be in health even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). I do believe in supernatural debt cancellation. And I don't believe we should mock so-called prosperity preachers, even if we don't believe they hear from God. Nor do I believe we should insinuate that God is cursing at them, as Oliver did," LeClaire explained.

LeClaire said Oliver used extreme examples and some of these were out of context that "manipulated reality."

"He also sought out people who were hurt because they (or someone they loved) didn't get the miracle they believed for when they sowed into the Copeland's ministry. But I've never heard Kenneth or Gloria Copeland promise anyone that if they sowed enough money, God would heal them, as Oliver hinted," she said.

But she is "against the prophets who charge money for a prophetic word and the prosperity preachers who manipulate for money."

"I exhort you to be discerning. Don't fall for the financial hype. Be obedient to the Holy Spirit in your giving rather than receiving pressure from man—and don't mock what you don't understand," she said.