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Edir Macedo in 2007
|Occupation||Business man, Billionaire, Preacher, theologian, and author|
|Net worth||US$1.1 billion|
Edir Macedo Bezerra (born February 18, 1945) is a Brazilian billionaire businessman, Controversial evangelical leader and the founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. He is the owner and chairman of the second-largest television network in Brazil, RecordTV, since 1989 with its parent Central Record de Comunicação, which he also founded after he bought the network.
Edir Macedo was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1945 (one of seven surviving children).
According to Macedo's website he holds a doctor's degree in Theology and in Christian Philosophy, and an honorary degree in Divinity from the Faculdade de Educação Teológica do Estado de São Paulo.[not in citation given] He also received a masters in theological science through the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain in Madrid, Spain.
In 1963 he began a career as a civil servant, initially working with the state-run lottery of Rio de Janeiro, Loterj, and also at the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IBGE, as a researcher in the economic census of 1970.
His rapidly growing religious movement and his teaching of prosperity theology have been a source of controversy. His sermons partly focus on freeing his followers from unclean spirits that oppress them, which manifest in them, and are cast out in the name of Jesus, in order for them to overcome their problems. His views about other faiths, particularly Catholicism, are also controversial. In 1992 he spent eleven days in jail on accusations of charlatanism. There were several protests, with his religious followers camping in front of the police precinct he was held in, according to his autobiography "Nothing to Lose". His prosperity theology is used by church leaders to justify his lifestyle, "If I preach prosperity and my clothes are ragged, who will follow me?"
From March 2013 to 2015, Macedo has been on the Forbes billionaires list with a reported US$1.1 billion, and $1.24 b for Macedo and family, making him by far the richest pastor in Brazil and the world. He was not on the list for 2016.
The UCKG Church built a $200 million replica of the First Temple in São Paulo (Temple of Solomon (São Paulo)). Macedo and the UCKG have an $8 million contract to import stones from Israel like those used to build the temple in Israel.
He is married to Ester Bezerra, and has two daughters, Cristiane and Viviane, and an adopted son, Moises.
Opposotion to Interracial marriage
Macedo was criticized for writing an article opposing Interracial marriage. He tried to justify his views claiming that Multiracial children should be avoided because they will suffer Discrimination. This led to several accusations of Racism and Misogyny.
According to Forbes "it is unclear how he got the funding to purchase Rede Record: Brazil's Public Ministry has probed into the question for more than ten years, while some reports have alleged that he used church funds. Macedo has declined to comment."
According to Forbes and Business Week he is continuously involved in scandals, mostly due to allegations that the UCKG illegally channeled donations of billions of US dollars intended for charity overseas, then returned the money to Brazil. The São Paulo Public Ministry said in a statement "it was proved that the money from donations, instead of being used for the maintenance of services, was diverted to serve the private interests of the accused". Macedo is accused of using the donations received from his poor followers to buy jewelry, TV stations, and other businesses for himself. The São Paulo state prosecutor said that Macedo and his associates had misappropriated more than US$2 billion in donations from 2003 to 2008 alone, and that the alleged scheme went back 10 years. There have also been unofficial charges of fraud and money laundering. As of January 2013[update] Macedo was still under prosecution by US and Venezuelan authorities. In 2007 Macedo was also criticized for the acquisitions by his church which include: twenty-three TV stations, forty radio stations, two major daily newspapers, a real estate agency, a health insurance company, and an airline. The church's acquisitions are suspicious due to the church's short history of about thirty years.
Macedo has been criticised, especially after the 'kicking of the saint' incident in which UCKG bishop Sérgio Von Helder, who later left the Church, kicked a Catholic icon in a TV program, for which he was later imprisoned for two years. He also authored a book called Orixás, Caboclos and Guias in wich he attacks Afro-brazillian religion, accusing it of Satanism and "the root of all of Brazi's troubles". The book was first prohibited as Hate speech but after legal efforts from Macedo's church, it was allowed for the sake of Free speech.
Financial abuse against followers
Followers are asked to make a financial sacrifice in addition to tithing, the pastor explains that the donations must be proportionate to the benefit sought from God. Twice a year UCKG pastors take prayer requests to the holy land, each with a monetary donation "comparable to the worth of their wish (a new car, to be saved from a sorrowful situation, and to find work)", according to rates set, ostensibly based on the Bible. The leaders of the church take the envelopes to Israel, where they claim to pray for their followers, but report on their return they report that they have no firm results; new "blessed" envelopes are handed out requesting more donations.
Federal Justice indiction
Edir Macedo was indicted by the Federal Justice for import of equipment and use of public documents and legal proceedings, but not convicted. Ten years later he was prosecuted again by the prosecutors of the State of São Paulo. On 19 October 2010 the São Paulo Justice Court (TJ-SP) annulled all accusations made by the São Paulo Public Ministry against the UCKG and its principal representatives by a majority vote. The judges deemed that the São Paulo prosecutors did not have jurisdiction to investigate the case, as the accusations were of a type that fell into the federal jurisdiction.
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Ten million copies of evangelical books by Macedo have been sold, and over 34 titles published. Titles include Orixás, Caboclos and Guias and In the Footsteps of Jesus, both of which sold more than three million copies in Brazil. He has also sold his trilogy called Nada a perder (Nothing to lose), with millions of copies sold worldwide. He has written several religious books including the polemical best-seller Orixás, Caboclos e Guias, Deuses ou Demônios.
His broadcasting company Record financed the 2018 movie Nada a perder (Nothing to lose) about Edir Macedo's life, which is based on his autobiography. Reviews were negative, called it a glorification. Tickets are given out for free at the churches to make it a box office success, a practice already known from a previous movie by Record. A second part is announced for 2019.
- The Bishop - revealed history of Edir Macedo: biography (in Portuguese)
- "Forbes profile: Edir Macedo". Forbes. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "O ateu que não vive sem Deus". The Blog of Edir Macedo. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
- "O céu e o inferno não são folclore". istoe.com.br. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- Leonard, Jim (8 May 2009). Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (PDF). Ankeny, Iowa: Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
- "Biography - Bishop Macedo". bispomacedo.com.br. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Google Translate". translate.google.com. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- CORTEN André, DOZON Jean-Pierre, ORO Ari Pedro, Les nouveaux conquérants de la foi-L'Eglise universelle du royaume de Dieu (Brésil), KARTHALA Editions, France, 2003, p. 46
- Patrice de Plunkett, Les évangéliques à la conquête du monde, Éditions Perrin, France, 2009, p. 110
- Preston, Julia (3 August 1991). "Brazil's Pastor of Prosperity Accused of Misusing Funds". The Washington Post.
- "uk - UCKG HelpCentre". www.uckg.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- Antunes, Anderson. "The Richest Pastors In Brazil". forbes.com. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Edir Macedo & family". forbes.com. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- Anderson Antunes (2 March 2015). "Brazil's Richest People: Facts and Figures". Forbes. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Kenneth Rapoza (17 July 2016). "Who Wants To Be A Brazilian Billionaire?". Forbes. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Shefler, Gill (27 July 2010). "$200 million dollar replica of First Temple to be built in Sao Paulo. It is believed that The Temple will be the largest building that is a point of reference to the bible and its architecture". The Jerusalem Post.
- "Edir Macedo & family - Profile". Forbes. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- "Patrimônio de Edir Macedo inclui imóveis de luxo nos EUA, diz revista". globo.com (in Portuguese). 15 August 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- Associated Press (12 August 2009). "Brazil church founder is charged - Evangelical Bishop Edir Macedo is accused of siphoning off billions of dollars from his mostly poor followers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- Phillips, Tom (13 August 2009). "Brazilian evangelical leader Bishop Edir Macedo charged with fraud". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". www.businessweek.com. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- on YouTube
- "Report of the Belgian Parliament Inquiry Committee on Sects 1997 (in Dutch and French), 25 November 1998" (PDF). dekamer.be. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God) - news and research resources". Apologeticsindex.org. Retrieved 5 January 2016. Unofficial translation of the Belgian Parliament Inquiry report
- Universo Politico: Accusations against UCKG recognised as illegal, 24 October 2010 (in Portuguese)
- 'It is strange': Brazilian church blockbuster plays to empty cinemas, Dom Phillips, The Guardian, May 16, 2018
- Filme sobre Edir Macedo se torna a maior bilheteria do cinema brasileiro, Tiago Dias, Folha de S.Paulo, May 7, 2018 (Portuguese)
- Bispo Macedo – Edir Macedo's website (in Portuguese)