The so-called prosperity gospel (sometimes referred to as the gospel of success) is similar to Reaganomics in that it relies on the idea that giving more money to rich people will somehow create more wealth for everybody. Unsurprisingly, both philosophies are failures in practice—unless, of course, you’re one of the rich people to whom the poor are redistributing their money. In the case of the prosperity gospel, these rich people are primarily televangelists—smooth operating ministers who’ve talked others into sending them (or ostensibly, their churches) money. Other preachers who aren’t on TV peddling the prosperity gospel have nonetheless done quite well for themselves too— so well, in fact, they’ve been able to turn their ministerial success into the ultimate symbol of one’s devotion: a Ferrari. But which preacher has the best car?
5. Pastor Noel Jones, Ferrari 550 Maranello
Pastor Noel Jones, who starred on Oxygen’s Preachers of L.A., gets points for having a car that goes from zero to sixty in 4.2 seconds. Unfortunately for him, this model was discontinued in 2001, meaning it was an embarassing thirteen years old at least when Preachers began airing in 2014. It looks like his congregation is going to have to step up their donations if he wants to move up in next year’s ranking.
4. Bishop Ron Gibson, Ferrari F430 Spider
While Ron Gibson’s choice of a convertible could be a metaphor for his openness to God, it could also serve to encourage his flock to open their wallets for the heavens above. At any rate, it looks cool and helps him beat out Preachers of L.A. co-star Noel Jones for fourth place.
3. Pastor Todd Coontz, Ferrari F430
Pastor Coontz’s F430 gets the nod over Pastor Gibson’s for two reasons. First, because it has a secret sibling—a mysterious “2012 Ferrari” listed in his recent indictment for tax fraud. And second, because of the delightfully ironic fact that Pastor Coontz once wrote a book titled, Please Don’t Repo My Car.
2. Pastor Ed Young, Ferrari 458 Italia
Though it’s unclear whether or not this Ferrari was actually owned by Young, what is clear is that he drove it on stage before telling congregants: “God gave me a Ferrari because I am a Ferrari. You’re a Ferrari too.” An inspiring message and an undeniably gaudy exhibition make Pastor Young’s Ferrari the second best on this list.
1. Pope John Paul II, Ferrari Enzo
You may be questioning the inclusion of a pope on this list, and I will admit that this pope does not fit the traditional televangelist mold. Still, Pope John Paul II did appear on television, he did preach, and, most importantly, he was at one time the owner of a Ferrari. He didn’t buy this Ferrari himself, but rather received it as a gift, and he also sold it to raise money for charity very soon after acquiring it. It is for that reason, combined with the fact that the Enzo is clearly the rarest, coolest, and costliest car on this list, that JP II’s Ferrari earns first place.
Having ranked their cars, there’s still one thing left to judge: the preachers themselves. This list contains only those I could concretely determine to possess (or have possessed) Ferraris; but the list of prosperity gospel television stars is much longer. Is their blatant materialism at the expense of poor deceived viewers morally repugnant and contrary to their religion? I suppose it depends on which religion you’re referring to. Christianity? Maybe. Prosperity theology? Why, they’re practically saints!