A megachurch pastor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. has come under fire after a netizen shared a photo of his $230,000 Bentley Bentayga parked outside the church and suggested that he had been leeching of the community tithes.
On Feb. 5, Facebook user Jarrell Taylor posted a photo of Pastor William H. Curtis' costly Bentley Bentayga that was parked outside the Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. The car is said to be the world's fastest SUV with a maximum speed of 187 mph, Christian Today detailed.
"If ya pastor driving a Bentley truck ... he's sucking ur community dry with hope and tithes," said Taylor on Facebook.
When asked for comment regarding the controversial car, Pastor Curtis' assistant said he would probably not address the questions on the issue. His choice of an expensive vehicle also drew criticism from many who believe that religious leaders should live a more humble lifestyle.
"To own a car that expensive you have to be among the top 10 percent of income earners or even higher of these United States of America, and I can't consider how preaching could lead someone to so much wealth," said Union Theological Seminary's Religion & Society associate professor, Samuel Cruz.
Curtis, who has been the senior pastor of the Pittsburgh megachurch starting 1997, was also the co-owner of a technology and marketing firm called The Church Online. He spearheaded a Community Tithe Program, which circulates more than 10 percent of their church's weekly offerings to small churches and other ministries.
Last December, celebrity pastor John Gray III defended pastors who lived opulent lifestyles during an interview with Greenville News. The Lakewood Church associate pastor said those who work hard, make an honest living and pay taxes have the right to live according to the lifestyle they can afford and provide nice stuff for their family.
Citing an example from the Bible, Pastor Gray said God blessed King Solomon with a lot of riches. However, he acknowledged that it was wrong for pastors to "pimp the church" and other people just to "enrich themselves."