Almost a year ago, a complex set of cases involving a woman named Shirley Johnson, who posted videos to YouTube that were critical of the New Destiny Christian Center Church and Paula White Ministries. Pastor Paula White-Cain did not appreciate the criticism and sued Johnson for alleged copyright infringement. The lawsuit was dismissed and Johnson filed a countersuit for malicious prosecution with claims of emotional harm or, simply bullying.
The suit stated that Paula White Ministries did not hold a valid copyright registration or certificate to the content in the videos posted at the time of the misrepresentations. It also claimed Johnson had suffered emotional harm as a result of White’s allegations. Although she failed to seek medical treatment for the harm Johnson’s testimony about the mental anguish suffered was credible. Many of her alleged symptoms were said to be a result of her unfamiliarity with the legal process and extreme worry about her future. Johnson testified about the lack of sleep, diminished enjoyment in various hobbies, and overall worry about the litigation and its consequences on her life.
White, the senior pastor at New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, is also one of President Donald Trump’s spiritual advisers. Her almost blind support of the president has caused her to come under severe scrutiny since Trump announced his bid for the Oval Office. Despite the many fallacies of the current administration, White continues to pledge unwavering support of the former reality star.
Reportedly, White has known Trump for years and “personally led him to Christ.” According to Eric Trump:
Paula is a terrific woman and a wonderful friend to our entire family. We are very grateful for her support and guidance. Faith is so important and Pastor White continues to be an inspiration to all those who know her.
Johnson testified that she first became aware of White when she saw her on television back in 2001 or 2002. At that time, Johnson believed that White was purposefully twisting the Scriptures in her preaching. This prompted her to start speaking out against White. Initially, she began by distributing written documents, but later developed a website and created a YouTube channel to “spreading her message” of concern. These videos did not contain advertisements or seek revenue. To date, Johnson has never tried to monetize her videos or receive income from these activities.
The plaintiff is not alone. Many Christians, including evangelicals, slammed the gavel on the wealthy, thrice-married preacher, who has long been associated with the prosperity gospel, a set of beliefs that says God will reward very generous giving and faith, with financial blessings. The preacher’s critics point to a congressional investigation of her former church’s finances along with accusations that she has taken advantage of her mostly African-American parishioners through her fundraising.
Known for her charismatic style of preaching, White still has many fans. She travels across the globe preaching and teaching principles from the Bible according to her belief. The well-known pastor has now been sued for bullying. The ruling is centered around White’s attempt last year to sue the woman. Pastor Paula has been ordered to pay Johnson $1,207 in economic damages and $12,500 in noneconomic compensatory damages, totaling $13,707.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
U.S. District Court Document: Johnson v New Destiny Christian Center Church
Christian Post: Judge Orders Pastor Paula White to Pay Woman Over $13,000 in Copyright Lawsuit
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