You probably wouldn't think of "religious leader" as a job that would bring in big bucks, and for the most part, you'd be right: Catholic priests make just $25,000 to $30,000 per year, and the average Protestant pastor brings in $40,000. But get a big enough following, and you can certainly live the good life, as the Huffington Post points out in its list of the 10 best-paid pastors in America. Some of the highlights:
- Kenneth Copeland: This televangelist's campus includes a private airstrip and hangar, both of which it needs because the ministry also owns a $17.5 million jet and unspecified "other aircraft." The most recent salary information, from 1995, puts his annual wages at $364,577 and his wife's at $292,593.
- Creflo A. Dollar: Yes, that's his real name—and it fits. As pastor of one of the biggest churches in the US, he drives a Rolls-Royce, flies around in a private jet, and owns one $1 million Atlanta home and another $2.5 million New York City apartment.
- Charles E. Blake: This bishop reportedly makes $900,000 a year and lives in 10,000 square feet of Beverly Hills luxury ... while most of his congregation lives in the poor area of South Central Los Angeles.
- Joel Osteen: He no longer takes his $200,000 salary, but still earns tens of millions from his popular books. He and his wife live in a $10.5 million mansion that is a whopping 17,000 square feet.
- Rick Warren: Like Osteen, he no longer accepts paychecks, but he's also made tens of millions off his books, including A Purpose Driven Life. But, the pastor says, he gives away 91% of his income.
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, including one pastor—who was once accused of sexual abuse—who drives a $350,000 Bentley.