For several days last week a half page newspaper ad urged readers to call immediately, reserving a morning, afternoon or evening “one day only” seat at a “rented private church”. Why? To “receive free, The Holy Oil”. No less than a miracle it promised deliverance from – envy, curse, witchcraft, addiction, poverty, illness, bad luck and “others”. Yikes, what “others” are there and please explain witchcraft – never mind, a testimonial accompanied by before and after photographs had my attention.
Before – gravely ill woman in hospital bed, eyes closed, disheveled, IV, breathing tube. After – healthy, smiling, smartly dressed.
“My mother had tuberculosis, diabetes and her internal organs were not working. I participated in a challenge of faith and by using the holy oil now she is completely healed”
Help me Google, who are these people? Oh man, now it makes sense – the Universal Church of The Kingdom of God (UCKG), Pentecostal Christianity’s equivalent of Scientology. Free holy oil, a get you in the door icebreaker akin to free personality tests. Founded in Brazil 1977 by Edir Macedo, UCKG has over 15 million followers worldwide. According to Wikipedia “prosperity theology” sheds light on Macedo’s estimated personal wealth of $1.1 billion. In short – 10% of everything you own or receive goes to the church. Donating to charity is strictly forbidden, charitable decisions are up to UCKG. A quick skim of this link illustrates an organization on global watch lists for money laundering, fraud and corruption, deeming charity a low priority.
Every so often I ponder who might call bat shit on the farce of religious corruption. Certain political suicide dictates it won’t be an elected official. Terrified of offending the faithful, we shrug and turn away from the blatant criminality of personal gain in the name of God. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.