Wednesday, December 07, 2005

United Church of the Kingdom of God

After reading this article this morning, I recalled seeing a number of billboards around Joburg advertising the UCKG.

I remember thinking at the time how tacky it was that a church felt the need to advertise, and suspected a money-making racket, much like the Rhema and Christian Family “churches” – convincing their parishioners that sizeable cash donations are required in exchange for divine blessing.

So I’ve done a little reading about it. I was right… UCKG is officially the largest Brazilian franchise. An international con-job on par with Scientology.

But there’s more. Not only have UCKG been banned in Zambia due to allegations of “Satanic human sacrifice”, but they have also been linked to the abuse and murder of a little girl in the UK.

Apparently the UCKG are a pseudo-Christian cult originating from Brazil whose fundamentalist beliefs include superstitious practices like exorcisms – which would explain why it’s so prolific amongst uneducated communities in the 3rd world (I even spotted a UCKG office in Bela Bela, a small tourist town about 100km North of Johannesburg near my farm).

While the allegations of Satanism in Zambia are most likely ill-conceived, and the death of Victoria ClimbiƩ could well have been the work of three fanatics who just happened to go to that church, I think this bears watching.

UCKG has also been charged with misleading advertising in the UK following their claims of being able to cure cancer through spiritual counseling. Apparently leaders of the “church” in Brazil claim to be able to cure AIDS as well. I’m surprised they haven’t yet been endorsed by Manto the Moronic.

I’m going to be keeping an eye on this bunch – it seems like we’re looking at another group of hucksters selling spirituality as a product to the poor and ignorant, and what they’re selling could turn out to be very dangerous.