Edir Macedo

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Edir Macedo
Edir Macedo2007.jpg
Edir Macedo in 2007, during grand opening ceremony of Record News.
Born (1945-02-18) February 18, 1945 (age 70)
Rio das Flores, RJ, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Occupation preacher and theologian
Religion Pentecostal Protestant Christian
Website www.bishopmacedo.com

Edir Macedo Bezerra (born February 18, 1945) is a Brazilian evangelical leader[1][2] and media mogul; he is the owner and chairman of the second-largest television network in Brazil, Rede Record, since 1989 with its parent Central Record de Comunicação who also founded after he bought the network. Macedo was raised Catholic, but by 1970 converted to a Pentecostal.[3] He founded with others the Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil in 1977.

His rapidly growing religious movement and his teaching of prosperity theology have been a source of controversy since he refers to the bible in his sermons and improvises. His sermons also focus on freeing his followers from unclean spirits that oppress them, which manifest in them, and are casted out in the name of Jesus, in order for them to overcome their problems.[4] 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 place he was held (a police precinct) as he confirms it in his autobiography "Nothing to Lose".[5] His Prosperity theology is also used by his church leaders to justify his lifestyle, "If I preach properity and my clothes are ragged, who will follow me?[4]

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 where, according to São Paulo's public prosecutor, there was no evidence that it was used in the personal interests of the church leaders, including Macedo, being accused. Macedo Is accused of using the donations received from his poor followers to buy jewelry, TV stations, and other businesses for himself, it is said that from 2003-2008 alone Macedo took over $2 billion in donations.[6] There have also been unofficial charges of fraud and money laundering.[7][8][9] As of January 2013 Macedo was still under prosecution by US and Venezuelan authorities. In 2007 Macedo was also criticized by the acquisitions of his church which include, twenty-three TV stations, forty radio stations, two major daily newspapers, a real state agency, a health insurance company, and an airline. The church's acquisitions seems very suspicious due to the church's short history of about thirty years.[3]

In March 2013 Macedo was on the Forbes billionaires list with a reported US$1.1 billion. That makes him by far the richest pastor in Brazil and the world.[7][10]

Criticism[edit]

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.[11] 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.[4] Twice a year UCKG pastors take prayer requests to the holy land, each with a monetary offering of value suggested by the pastors, to show appreciation.

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.[12]

Other[edit]

Macedo also leads Rede Record[1] (the second biggest television network in Brazil), Rede Família, Record News, Line Records, 64 radio stations of Rede Aleluia and Universal Produções. He has written several religious books including the polemical best-seller Orixás, Caboclos e Guias, Deuses ou Demônios. According to Macedo's Web site [13] 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.[14][not in citation given] He also received a masters in theological science through the Federación Evangélica Española de Entidades Religiosas (F.E.E.D.E.R.) in Madrid, Spain.

Edir Macedo was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1945 (one of seven surviving children).[3] 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. After 16 years he left the civil service to set up the UCKG.

The stated aim of the UCKG was to target the poor and the needy[citation needed], who they said were mostly excluded from other religious movements. Exorcisms are a common practice of the UCKG with the stated intention of expelling unclean spirits. The UCKG Church built a $200 million replica of the First Temple in 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.[15]

Married to Ester Bezerra for 41 years, he has two daughters: Cristiane, Viviane and an adopted son, Moises.

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 Nothing to Lose, with millions of copies sold worldwide

Macedo has held evangelical crusades that have gathered more than 8 million people in Brazil and millions more all over the world.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "O ateu que não vive sem Deus". The Blog of Edir Macedo. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  2. ^ "O céu e o inferno não são folclore". istoe.com.br. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  3. ^ a b c Leonard, Jim (8 May 2009). Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Ankeny, Iowa: Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. 
  4. ^ a b c Preston, Julia (3 August 1991). "Brazil's Pastor of Prosperity Accused of Misusing Funds". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ From favelas to Spanish parliament: Nothing to Lose: Book launch
  6. ^ Anonymous (9 August 2009). "THE WORLD; Brazil church founder is charged; Bishop Edir Macedo allegedly siphoned off billions of dollars.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Forbes: The Richest Pastors in Brazil, 17 January 2013
  8. ^ Guardian newspaper: Brazilian evangelical leader charged with fraud, 13 August 2009
  9. ^ Business Week: Edir Macedo, Brazil's Billionaire Bishop, 25 April 2013
  10. ^ Forbes profile of Edir Macedo as of March 2013
  11. ^ Kicking off the catholic simbol on YouTube
  12. ^ Universo Politico: Accusations against UCKG recognised as illegal, 24 October 2010 (Portuguese)
  13. ^ Edir Macedo's Web site: biography
  14. ^ FATEBOM - Distance Learning Doctoral Program in Theology
  15. ^ 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. 

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