Kenneth Copeland, a controversial prosperity preacher, has called on President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to join forces to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
Juneteenth marks the day Black Americans celebrate news of the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted in 1863, for various reasons, the news didn’t reach Black people in Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865.
Amid incessant anit-Black police violence and ongoing attention to racial disparities still impacting Black communities in America, many have long been calling for Juneteenth (June 19th) to be made an official national holiday.
In a video published to his Instagram account on Friday, the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, Texas televangelist Copeland implored, through prayer, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden to finally heed those calls.
Reading directly from Romans 13:7 in the King James Version, Copeland said: “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
“Juneteenth needs to be a national holiday!” Copeland then exclaimed while pointing to the pages of the Bible.
“Glory to God, somebody finally waked [sic] up to what Juneteenth is. I’ve known it since I was 12 years old,” said Copeland. “It’s a big celebration in Texas! Hallelujah.”
“It’s past time. It needs to be right there with Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” he said. “There needs to be streets named in honor of Juneteenth. Praise God forevermore. Partners, I am here to give honor to whomever honor is due.”
Copeland then went on to pray: “Father, I praise You. And it’s with great honor to be in a place and in a position now, that I have gained a little recognition so that my words mean a little something and go out in a lot of different places. And I’m asking you, Lord Jesus. I join all of my partners in agreeing that our President and Mr. Biden can come together and declare Juneteenth a national holiday.”
Copeland, who was named to Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board in 2016, then expressed thanks to God and faith “it would take place in the name of Jesus.”
Based on replies to his video, Black followers were delighted by Copeland’s declaration and prayer.
“This is beautiful????(fire emoji). An exemplary one from Bro Copeland,” wrote one follower. “This will unleash reconciliation and healing in the Body in Jesus Name.”
“Job well done sir! I grew up listening to you and learning from you through my dad! You’ve always been a man after God’s heart no matter what!” wrote another supporter. “I literally said this earlier today, this nations [sic] needs to honor and recognize this day as a national holiday just as we do the 4th of July.”
A third person, who also appeared to be African-American, wrote: “Thank (you) brother Copeland! God is really moving on the hearts of his leaders to finally pull up and stand up against the evil of racism.”
Copeland has been criticized for gaining wealth through teaching a prosperity gospel that encourages believers to give money in exchange for God’s favor. Last June, he was confronted by a reporter over his lavish lifestyle.
More recently, the televangelist raised brows in April when he declared that he had “blow(n) the wind of God” on COVID-19 (the coronavirus). Copeland’s actions went on to inspire several memes.