The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) is my target today. If you liked the Jerry Springer show or you follow the Jeremy Kyle show you’ll love this church. They put dysfunctional families on display, describing their struggles with drugs, drink, gambling and marital infidelity (i) (ii) and show how they were ‘cured’ by prayer and exorcism. Yes, they believe in demon possession, and even put out a poster in Britain some years ago that said “Constant headaches, depression, insomnia, fears, bad luck, strange diseases…These are just a few symptoms caused by demons.” The poster was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that such claims could exploit “vulnerable people.”
They run 4 sessions daily at thousands of centres all over the world, with different themes each day: Monday – financial success
Tuesday – healing day
Wednesday – faith school
Thursday – family
Friday – deliverance
Saturday – love therapy.
- I accuse them of only setting up their store front churches in low income areas, where there are likely to be more vulnerable people whom they can dupe.
- I accuse them of neglecting little Victoria Climbié, the abused child who was brought to UCKG 4 times in her last 8 days before she was beaten starved and murdered by her carers. (iii) At the inquest, a UCKG pastor outrageously said that he suspected she was being abused, but he thought Victoria was ‘possessed’ by the devil, and she could be healed with prayers – he didn’t call social services or the police. Victoria died and her ‘carers’ were jailed for life.
- I accuse them of being a “criminal association, whose only purpose is enrichment” not my words but those of a Belgian parliamentary enquiry on cults.
- I accuse them of not showing evidence of the charitable spending they claim to be doing.Their donations don’t go to the homeless and drug users as they claim but straight to other sister churches abroad, mostly in Brazil.
- I accuse the founder, ‘Bishop’ Edir Macedo, of living a lavish lifestyle in his palace in Brazil. He has risen from being a lottery shop assistant to being a billionaire. Not surprising when church members are expected to hand over 10% of their income. Congregants are told donations will smooth the path to salvation, and Macedo has been filmed telling his deputies “if they can’t pay they can get out.”
- I accuse them of money laundering in Brazil to avoid paying taxes.
- I accuse them of debasing the term ‘Kingdom of God’.
The information above may be dated (iv) (v)
(i) “City News” free colour monthly newspaper delivered door to door
(ii) Sky Channel 203
(iii) UCKG pamphlet, produced by Haringey Solidarity Group
(iv) see www. cultwatch.com
(v) see http://www.rickross.com